When it comes to digital agencies, a high percentage of inbound leads come from prospects who are seeking a new partner after their current agency has let them down. As such, most of these ‘new’ clients are frustrated, let down and/or have had a poor experience with another agency that has underperformed and underdelivered.
The trouble with this is that as an agency owner, it can be easy to forget that your competitors do retain a ton of clients who are happy and content with their service, and as the competition, you only see and hear of the negative experiences.
And if you (and every other agency out there) only witness the bad experiences and negative sentiment, and you base your sales pitch off this, then you’re saying the exact same thing as everyone else…
So, in order to be successful in the pitch room, you need to be realistic about what clients *actually* want to be hearing from your sales pitch.
As a digital agency coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of digital marketing agencies and have witnessed thousands of pitches over the years, and when it comes to the pitch room, it seems most agencies seem to be saying the same thing.
Thanks to comments made by their competitions’ former clients, agency owners can have a warped and distorted view of what the market needs, wants and cares about when it comes to choosing a new agency partner.
If the only inbound leads we receive are from the 1% of our competitor’s clients who are dissatisfied, disgruntled and traumatised by their past agency experience — our view on the world might be a little warped and we can be tempted to think that we should differentiate our agency based on this anecdotal insight.
In reality, it’s likely the other 99% of our competitors’ clients, and any prospective clients for that matter, aren’t tainted by a negative agency experience and couldn’t care less whether you’re a “trusted advisor” or “an award-winning agency” — they just want someone who knows their product and their industry and can help them grow their business.
With this in mind, you can appreciate that building your pitch around the negativity you hear about other agencies, isn’t going to appeal to the masses, and certainly won’t make you stand out from the crowd — despite your best intentions.
Bombarding your prospects with all the same ‘differentiators’ as your competitors like “we believe in partners, not clients” or “we’re platform agnostic” will get you lost in the wash, and any clients you do land, are more likely to be the notorious red-flag, difficult-to-please ones.
So, how can you beat this?
In order to be more successful in the pitch room and win more clients, start by changing your perception of what a prospective client actually wants from an agency. By doing this, you’ll be able to offer up genuine, impactful reasons for a client to work with you, rather than the same old reasons they hear from every other agency in the pitch.
To do this, start by concentrating on specialising. Niche down your offering and tightly define your market positioning and target audience. By doing this first, you’ll understand who you are really talking to, what their broader pain points are, and how you can connect with them by detailing genuine, meaningful differences between you and your competitor.
Then, build on this foundation and follow Doug Hall’s advice to redesign your sales pitch.
Hall advises agencies to ensure their pitch does three things: 1) Demonstrates an overt business benefit to the client, 2) Includes dramatic differentiators between the competition and 3) Includes proof that they’re qualified and experienced enough to deliver on the promise. Hall’s research of over 8000 propositions discovered that the high performing agencies who pitched with this approach had an average win rate of around 53%.
*I recently put together an article detailing Doug Hall’s three-step method to improving your sales pitch and winning more clients. READ: Increase Your Win Rate By Up To 40% With Doug Hall’s Advice
At Digital Agency Coach, my team and I have helped hundreds of digital agencies achieve stratospheric growth within their business by changing the manner in which they source and convert their inbound leads.
As agency owners, anecdotal feedback from your competitors’ disgruntled clients will distort your view on what your clients actually want and need from you. Instead of pitching the genuine uniquity and benefit of what you have to offer, you align yourself with everyone else in the pitch room and try to sell exactly the same thing as all the others.
Now I’ve shared the secret, it’s time for you to avoid this common pitfall, change your view on your client’s pain points and start to grow your agency — one successful pitch at a time.
If you need support or guidance growing your agency and would like personalised, 1:1 help achieving your goals, please Get In Touch — my team of dedicated coaches and consultants would be delighted to help.
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.