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Train Better Clients With Your Sales Process

Gray MacKenzie
Gray MacKenzie is a true operations nerd who has spent the past decade helping hundreds of agencies build more productive, profitable, and healthy teams by solving the core issues plaguing their project management.

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This is the seventh post in a series on the Agency Freedom Manifesto.

In the last post, we worked through how to get paid for what you know, not simply what you can do.

Today, we’re working on setting the groundwork for healthy client relationships from the very beginning, your sales process.

All the points in the Agency Freedom Manifesto are interrelated, but #6 and #7 are especially closely linked.

If you want to get paid for what you know, and not simply what you can do, that relationship needs to be established in your sales process.

The Broken Agency Sales Process

Does this sound familiar?

You get a lead via referral, an event, or even the contact form on your site.

You schedule a connect call.

Then you schedule a deeper discovery call.

Then you go through goal setting.

Then you put together a proposal or some options for them and schedule a solution presentation call.

And finally, here are the most common outcomes:

  1. They decline or go dark…#closedlost
  2. They negotiate or want to change the scope of your solution.
  3. They agree and want to know how soon you can get started…#closedwon

And you view the ones that don’t close as the cost of doing business.

You make up for that expense from the clients who do buy from you.

But there’s a key phrase that comes up very often when you win a deal.

“How soon can you get started?”

So what’s so bad about all of this?

You’ve now trained the client to value your implementation, not your expertise.

You’ve given away your expertise in the sales process and the only thing they care about is how quickly you can start making things.

Which is great, because making things is how results happen.

But the dangerous part is when the baked-in assumption becomes that the strategy is free.

And because it’s free, it’s not valued.

So when they want to make the logo bigger, talk all about their business rather than their prospects, or create flyers instead of pillar content, your pushback isn’t appropriately weighted.

And the time you spend convincing them to do the right thing isn’t compensated.

That lends itself to a vicious cycle.

You don’t get paid for your expertise, so why spend unpaid time and put up with the frustration of pointing the client back to the truth.

Instead, just do what the client wants done. You’ll get paid more and have less stress.

But the client isn’t always right.

So when the results aren’t what they’d hoped, you can try to point the finger back at their poor strategy.

But guess what? You’re the one getting fired.

So rinse and repeat on the next victim client.

And that’s why you need to get paid for what you know, not just what you can do.

Because the client needs to value your expertise if they’re going to apply it (or allow you to apply it for them). And they don’t value what they don’t pay for.

And the best way to do this?

Have them pay for it from the very beginning.

The Better Agency Sales Process

What if you rebuilt your sales process?

Instead of 3-5 calls, research and strategizing, proposal, negotiation, and close…what if it looked like:

A call to understand their situation, goals, and resources. If they meet your good-fit criteria, you do a paid strategic discovery project.

We teach how to market, sell, build, and deliver this strategy inside the Agency Accelerator and have watched hundreds of agencies transform their sales process and quality of client relationships.

The close rate improves, the sales cycle shortens, the client results improve, the customer lifetime value soars, the delivery team is happier, and your customers learn to value your expertise from the beginning.

This approach trains your clients the correct way from the beginning of the relationship.

But it also requires expertise and positioning worth paying for, and in that way, it’s directly related to points 3, 4, and 5 in the Agency Freedom Manifesto.

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