Almost every agency owner I know wishes they didn’t have to do sales and wants to hire it out to an employee. I hear this every day because what we do is hard to sell. 99 out of 100 salespeople that an agency hires will not sell more than their initial salary and are usually fired within the first year.
To be a successful agency salesperson, you have to understand not the WHAT of our work but the WHY of our work. How do we really add value, increase sales etc. You also need to have super high level business conversations and most people can’t do that unless they have been a CMO, business owner, etc. If you don’t have the real life experience, it’s tough to know how to start or carry the conversation.
People default to the “what keeps you up at night” BS because they can’t actually dig in and talk the talk.
That level of business acumen is not easy to come by. The few successful salespeople inside agencies have at least 2-3 of these factors:
- The agency is a wonder bread factory (they have a very narrow focus of deliverables AND clientele so it’s easy to learn the nuances, because there aren’t that many)
- The agency has a narrow niche/niches so the sales person does not have to understand too many industries or verticals
- The agency is truly creating thought leadership content on a consistent basis so they can claim an authority position on their niche/niches.
- The sales person has already sold a high ticket ($25K and above) item/services to the same industry (has contacts and context)
- The sales person was a very successful account executive within your agency who has proven they can upsell clients
- The sales person is a former business owner or leader, who can have high level business conversations with great credibility
That my friends — is a unicorn of a salesperson. I have seen them in the wild and know they exist — but they are a rarity.
If someone is a unicorn that can defy all of those bullet points – they will do so within the first year. But that means you have to be willing to take it on the chin for 12 months without an expectation of much ROI. And by the way — you aren’t out of the sales process. You will still need to help close in most cases. I’m not sure it’s much of a time saver in the long run.
What we do is hard to explain, hard to attach value and hard to sell. Not the product/service any salesperson should cut their teeth on.
I’ve got a solocast that digs a little deeper into this topic, check it out here.
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