Clients

Hey agency owner — fire someone today

Yes, you heard me right.  I am talking to you, the agency owner.  And I want you to fire someone today. In doing so, you'll improve employee morale. You're thinking I must be the Scrooge of agency life -- suggesting you fire someone during the holiday season. It will ruin their Thanksgiving and the rest of their year.  No one hires during the holidays. Relax -- I am not talking about one of your employees.  If they're doing a good job -- send them a note this week telling them how grateful you are that they're part of your team. It's great for their morale. If not -- then you're like most agency owners and you'll hang onto them for another six months before they drive you to the brink and you finally fire them. I'm actually talking about firing a client.  Yes...a revenue producing client. Every agency has at least one client that is: Tough on employee morale Demanding without being equally appreciative A bad planner which means their emergencies become yours Drags projects on and on, burning through any hope for profitability Always nitpicking every invoice or project authorization Keeping you from pursuing a better client in the same category or industry You keep them on for cash flow.  Or because they've been a client for a long time or maybe because they're a marquee name and you like the recognition.  Whatever your reason is -- it's not good enough.  Those kinds of clients are wearing.  They beat up your staff, teach them bad habits (like complaining about the clients), will drive your best employees away and are a huge boulder in the path of you getting a bigger, better client. Yes, it's [...]

Do your AEs bristle at the word sales?

Be honest agency owner, you know that your account executive team is great. But sometimes they struggle when it comes to actual sales. Enter our account executive sales training workshop. 67% of an agency's new business revenue comes from existing clients (on average).  The people who are (or sadly -- are not) going to bring in those additional dollars are your account executive team.  They interact with their clients every day.  They propose new work, they know when the client has hit a barrier (and maybe needs some marketing help to leap over it) and they drive that client's activity. Sounds like sales to me.  But if your AEs think and behave more like relationship managers, you're not alone.  When surveyed, agency owners had these frustrations about the people on their account team: Sometimes they behave like they work for the client, not the agency They don't know how to listen for problems we can help solve They don't understand the business of owning or running a business They don't think new business or sales within our existing clients They let the client lead too much Sound familiar?  That's why we developed our Account Service Advanced Training workshop.  We spend two days teaching GOOD account service people how to really help grow their agency's AGI, reputation, new business (both from existing clients and brand new) and their network.  We talk numbers.  We talk strategy.  And we talk sales. When the participants leave the executive sales training workshop, sales is no longer a dirty or scary word.  They come back fired up and excited to stretch their wings. But don't take our word for it.  Here's what some past participants have had to say: “My AE [...]

Do you see a vendor when you look in the mirror?

Earlier this week, we kicked off a conversation about why agencies find themselves relegated to vendor status. If you remember, we identified 3 causes. The economy -- workforce reductions, budget cuts and overall fear (out of your control) Agencies willingness to behave like a vendor just to get the project (within your control) Agencies hiring "nice" account executives who are order takers rather than smart business people (within your control) In this post, we're going to look at what you can do to change your mindset (and choices) so you don't look like a vendor to prospects and clients. None of us like the word "vendor." Vendors sell stuff. They sell umbrellas on the beach, hot dogs on Time Square and truckloads of parts. But the truth is -- many agencies behave like a vendor. They: Charge by the hour rather than use value pricing They set their prices based on the "stuff they make" like brochures and websites They talk tactics, rather than strategies If you recognize yourself, even a little bit, in that description -- here are some things to consider as you wrestle with getting away from the vendor label. Take business with your prospects and clients: Don't limit your interest or your conversations to marketing or advertising. Talk about their pricing strategies, how they go to market with their product/service, sales goals and even operations. Your job is to stick your nose into their business and help ferret out solutions that can change the game. You want to identify and talk about the metrics that matter to your prospect or client. Price like an advisor, not a vendor: Vendors price by the pound, the item and by the hour. Advisors price by the [...]

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