For many of us, sales and business development is the one part of running a digital agency that just doesn’t come easily. Sales calls can feel awkward, forced and sometimes completely disingenuous, and so, we avoid them altogether. But what if the most effective sales calls weren’t sales calls at all?
In this article, I’m going to share my top tip for helping you conquer the fear of communicating with your potential, existing or lapsed clients to land sales. I’ll also prove just how well it works with my very own, very real example.
In my experience, some of the most successful, fast-growing agencies are led by innovative, intelligent and tech-savvy operators. These agency leaders were obviously so successful in their specialist field, that they were able to form their own agency and offer their service to businesses and brands on their own terms.
The trouble is – being a brilliant developer, software designer or digital strategist means you’re often very comfortable behind a computer screen and usually not so comfortable making sales calls. And after all, the best sales and BD strategies usually involve a lot of face-to-face conversations, networking events and generally spending time without your noise-cancelling headphones on.
The good news is, there’s a hack to checking in with your clients & prospects while still being able to avoid those awkward sales calls (this is where I get to the part about chicken wings).
At Digital Agency Coach, my fellow coaches and I don’t take an awkward role-play or scripted approach to helping agency owners develop their sales skills. For years now, we’ve been helping agency owners circumvent the system and land sales without making awkward sales calls.
The trick is to a) remember that your clients are human beings – they’re people with hobbies, favourite sporting teams, pet peeves and favourite restaurants; and b) communicate casually, genuinely and informally with them on a regular basis – chat about your common interests or things that are important to them in order to build a relationship.
It sounds simple, and that’s because it is – but it genuinely works. If you’re dubious, take this real-life conversation below as an example:
Just this week, I had reached out to a former client to simply ask about the name of a restaurant he recommended.
This short, simple and motive-free message nudged me to the front of his mind and prompted a response about coaching.
This simple example perfectly demonstrates how building relationships and checking in with your contacts to spark friendly and non-business related conversation is a great way to make sales calls, without making sales calls.
Pro-Tip: Like all sales efforts this one works best when paired with manageable KPIs. Set yourself a target of 3-6 messages, calls or interactions per day and keep yourself accountable. For tips on setting effective KPIs, check out this article about Lagging vs Leading KPIs.
At Digital Agency Coach, we understand that while agency owners are all brilliant, they are human too (just like their clients).
That’s why we use tactics just like this one to help all agency owners land more sales and achieve stratospheric growth for their agency to gain more profit, more time and less stress – no matter where their strengths may lie.
I'm an ex-agency founder now coach and mentor to digital agencies and trusted by Google and Forbes to deliver agency growth programs across the globe.