How to Set Expectations When Selling Inbound Marketing

Setting expectations as a sales person is a lot like choosing your level of spice at a Thai restaurant.

You're sitting there with options. Choose level 1 and you might as well be eating a plate full of noodles with no flavor. Choose number 10 and you are sitting at home on the couch slowly sipping from that gallon of milk in your fridge all night.

The analogy begins to break down somewhere along the line, but you get the idea...

The Power of Expectations

My wife and I recently closed on our first house.

A process that, for the most part, went relatively smoothly. We decided to renovate quite a bit of the home, expose some old brick, knock out a wall, etc...

Like any old home you buy, you run into additional costs as you work on renovations, that's expected. 

What wasn't expected was how horrible of an experience renting a moving truck would be. Let me explain.

The truck company advertise that for only $24.99 you can rent a truck. Awesome I'm in! 

I call to book it. I am informed I have to also pay $0.80 per mile, fine. Oh and there's the insurance, fine. 

Now I am up to $86. Well, I guess at least they told me before I paid...

The next morning is the big move. I wake up bright and early and go to pick up the truck. "That will be $126.82 please." 

After I explain my total should be $86 the woman at the desk goes on to explain, well there are taxes, and these other fees, and this and that... 

Wouldn't it have been nice to be told that over the phone before I got there?

Had I been told the correct amount I would have still paid for the truck. I would also have felt a heck of a lot better about the entire experience even though I would have still been paying the $126.82. 

Instead I am left with a bitter feeling and a vow to never rent a truck from that company again. 

All over $40... 

Setting Expectations at Your Agency

I am going to make the assumption that everyone reading this post can relate to that story and think of a purchase they have made that made them feel the same way.

Now think about the money spent by a client with your agency. I am going to assume it is more than $40.

The importance of setting proper expectations becomes amplified by the fact that to many people marketing can seem like a bag of smoke. Especially to companies who are struggling to do it well. 

You aren't asking them to pay for a product, like a moving truck, where someone understands exactly what they are getting. You are asking them to pay for a brand new service that they have likely been struggling with in the past. 

The most common areas to set expectation around are as follows:

  • What are realistic goals?
  • How long until those goals are realized?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How much effort has to go in on your prospects behalf?
  • What is your process like?

Focus on having good answers to those four questions. 

Using a GamePlan to Set Expectations

The Inbound Marketing GamePlan is the tool we use to set proper expectations. It allows us clear answers to the questions above.

During the GamePlan process we dissect their companies goals and lay out a clear plan towards how to achieve them. This GamePlan allows the prospect to understand how much work is required to reach the goals.

The price is a simple answer as well. We have sold them from anywhere between $5,000-$10,000. Pick what number is right for your agency and stick to it.

If you want to know more about how we use the GamePlan as a sales tool, this article will be very helpful.

Remember, it's your agency's reputation that is on the line. If you have unsatisfied customers, it is easy for them to let the world know. Your reputation is the best asset your agency has. 

Find the balance of setting proper expectations in an inclusive way. Use a tool like the GamePlan to not just tell a prospect what the expectations are, use it to show them why. 

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