Get Your Clients to Sing Your Praises

In the Flight of the Conchords song “Carol Brown,” Jemaine’s attempt to serenade a love interest is thwarted by a choir of his ex-girlfriends. As Jemaine sings his own praises as a would-be lover, the choir sings Jemaine’s many faults: “He doesn’t cook or clean; he’s not good boyfriend material.” (“Ooh, we   can eat cereal,” he counters.) Contradicted and drowned out, Jemaine laments, “Who organized all my ex-girlfriends into a choir and got them to sing?” Poor Jemaine. One lone voice doesn’t stand a chance against a choir singing in harmony. A Choir of Clients Place your agency in Jemaine’s shoes. You’re wooing a company you hope will hire you. Instead of ex-girlfriends, though, the choir is made up of current clients. When you start singing, does the choir back you up? Or does it warn the potential client to make like Carol Brown and take a bus out of town? You can stack the odds in your favor by organizing the choir yourself. Build a strong, vibrant community for your clients — something that gives them a real sense of connection and value — and they’re much more likely to sing your praises. The Benefits By forging meaningful bonds among your clients, you become their common ground. As you foster connections for them and add value on all sides of the equation, they’re drawn closer to you. A community of clients also prevents your agency from being pigeonholed. When your clients tell one another about the customized services you provide, they’re helping you by painting a complete picture of your agency’s capabilities. This leads to opportunities to engage them in new ways. From your client’s perspective, the community provides added value in the [...]

The Secret Sauce: Quintessential Ingredients for Hiring an Agency

Every company has its own process for evaluating potential agencies to work with. Some use objective rubrics, others use gut feelings. Still, others claim to have a “secret sauce” or hybrid evaluation process. While that secret sauce is helpful, developing one is no easy feat. Here’s how to create an agency hiring process that gives appropriate weight to both objective and subjective elements. Start with the facts. Make your process for hiring an agency as objective as possible at first. To narrow it down to your final three or four agencies, create a list of measurable, tangible must-haves. Any agency that makes it to the final few should have the following attributes: A deep knowledge of your industry, mixed with the ability to provide comprehensive solutions: The agency should have a depth of experience in your industry or with your key audience, but it should also be able to provide holistic counsel. Unfortunately, agencies that hit the sweet spot between niche expertise and integrated solutions are hard to come by. According to one study, 78 percent of clients said they are frustrated with the ways agencies handle holistic communications approaches. An impressive track record of driving leads and sales: The agency should be able to provide hard facts, figures, and insights that demonstrate how those results moved the needle for previous and current clients. No matter how good an agency’s pitch is, it should have measurable results to back up the claims. Pretty words won’t make you money. Solid shop stability: You don’t want to work with a team that will dissolve after only a few months. That’s why having the actual team involved in the new business process is critical. You can see how [...]

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