If you’re a one-person show, you understand the challenges of juggling all the roles, from client acquisition to social media management.
And as if you didn’t have enough overflowing tasks on your plate, you must also book meetings with your first prospective clients.
These initial client meetings are the cornerstones of success, though. They open the door to potentially invaluable projects, solid long-term partnerships, and valuable recommendations.
All this will fuel your business growth, establishing a robust pipeline of potential customers.
This guide teaches you the five-step plan to book your initial meetings with high-quality prospects through:
Insider tips and behind-the-scenes stories from my (successful) influencer marketing agency
Tools you can use along the way
And I’ll also share my love for the Roman Empire.
Let’s dive in.
1. Make a List
Insider tip: Identify and address high-quality prospects.
The most important way to ensure you can book in-person meetings with people who ultimately become your clients is to target the right audience.
This audience is interested in your agency’s products/services and will qualify quickly.
Storytime: Before inBeat, I ran an SEO company that offered link-building services.
As chance had it, one of my clients said they researched influencer marketing and thought it would fit their marketing strategy. One thing led to another, and we handled their campaign (successfully).
That’s how I became a co-founder of inBeat, along with Daniel Cruz.
The next part was finding interested clients whom we could pitch, and luckily, we already had a database of potential customers from our former SEO agency.
You can also use industry events, conferences, and networking meetups to find more clients.
Pro tip: Although tempting and a great starting point, don’t pitch all these business connections. Doing so can make you sound salesy and desperate. Instead, pitch only the people whom you can bring value to.
1.1. Build a Customer Value Proposition
inBeat is a very data-driven company, and we’re not into wasting anyone’s time.
We aim to be as targeted as possible, helping ourselves and our prospects in the process.
Building a customer value proposition (CVP) allows you to do that, especially if your agency is in the B2B sphere.
This CVP entails finding your ideal customers by identifying their common pain points.
So you won’t be imagining your ideal agency client as a 32.4-year-old with 1.7 kids and 0.3 dogs, interested in hiking and reading.
You will think of all your different customers’ same needs. In inBeat’s case, it was the need to gain fast exposure and engagement on social media, which would then translate into increased website traffic. And sales.
Data-driven done-for-you influencer marketing was our obvious solution.
As you can see, finding this CVP helps you develop a compelling offer for your target audience.
And that enables you to conserve precious resources you would have otherwise spent reaching out to a broader, uninterested market.
Pro tip: Research the market thoroughly to identify these pain points and trends you can use as opportunities. Three ways a time-challenged solo agency founder can stay updated are:
Relevant blogs in your niche
Online communities where your potential clients are active
1.2. Use Micro-Segmenting
Micro-segmenting furthers your CVP, helping you address a more specific audience.
Basically, you must decide on a niche you want to pitch that aligns with your CVP.
That means thinking of a clearly defined subset of people or businesses needing your agency’s solutions.
Why would you do that?
Because it helps you identify:
A specific niche pain point you can address
A place where you can find these people
In inBeat’s case, we offer TikTok and Instagram influencer marketing for brands and agencies of all sizes. However, not all these companies face the same challenges.
Clothing brands, for example, deal with increased ad fatigue because they must advertise each new collection and stay on top of their potential and current customers’ minds between collections. Influencer content can easily solve ad fatigue because content creators know how to catch their audience’s attention. And when they talk about a specific brand, they typically integrate that brand into their personal lives, so it doesn’t feel like advertising.
Conversely, many mobile apps don’t have a unique selling point (USP). Thus, few people are downloading and making in-app purchases because of that. Influencers can highlight different app uses and create desire because they have unique insights into their audience.
So if our sales team chooses this micro-segment of mobile app startups, they will show prospects how influencers can create and personalize a USP for different customer segments.
How can you create micro-segments?
At inBeat, we use two main tools: Sales Navigator and Instagram.
Sales Navigator lets us clearly define our ideal customers and use advanced search filters to refine the search thoroughly. Once we get the lead profiles, we vet them and use relationship filters to find out if we can leverage any mutual connections.
And the last step is engaging with these leads based on the very targeted pain point our research pinpointed.
Instagram has recently become one of the most efficient tools for our sales team. As a solo agency founder working in a different niche, you might use another platform.
But you need to find a platform where your clients congregate.
In inBeat’s case, Instagram is where the brands are, especially those exploring influencer marketing. Our sales reps can quickly make a list of qualified prospects because these brands are already interested in influencers.
So, they use specific niche keywords and tags such as “sponsored” or “ad” to find these prospects.
Side note: In your case, LinkedIn might be a better solution. I’ll discuss that in section 3.
Our digital agency aims to build a list of 400 potential clients, but that number may differ in your case, particularly if you have a smaller agency.
For example, you may need just 150 prospects.
Side note: You will need to find all their email addresses. At inBeat, we use Hunter.io, plus QuickMail integrates with email verification tools like Dropcontact to double-check that your leads’ emails are correct.
That way, you avoid sending perfect pitches to the wrong email addresses.
1.3. Use Chatbot or Live Chat
Chatbot and Live Chat Services are not just used to answer queries. Chatbots can improve lead generation, qualification, and nurturing. Incorporating live chat into your business strategy can indeed unlock untapped potential.
Chatbots can be integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) tools and the documented client interaction can be used for future reference.
Action taken by customers on the websites helps in identifying Sales Qualified Leads. When you set up triggers based on action, you can more easily filter the customers with high intent in your sales process.
Chat popups include forms that aid in gathering additional data and details about the client. These forms facilitate the collection of information such as the client's name, contact number, email address, the company they are affiliated with, and the specific product they are interested in.
With forms, you can gather all information, create a list and contact the lead accordingly
Pro tip: Outsourcing Live Chat Services from a good company helps businesses reduce costs and ensure good quality customer service.
That brings us to the next step:
2. Use a Cold Email Tool
Add the list you created to your email tool – QuickMail is one of the best.
Pitch your list using templates with multiple value ladders.
If you learned one thing from the previous section, it is to be as targeted as possible.
Templates with multiple value ladders help you achieve that because they take your leads through a progressively increasing range of offers.
That means you can pitch different agency services and price points according to your leads’ needs.
Basically, a value ladder has different tiers of value climbing up from basic to premium or from entry-level to advanced.
For example, our agency’s prospects may be interested in a one-time campaign with product sampling. Others may need an ongoing ambassador program. Others may require a UGC campaign – all these things are different.
And since all these tiers have different features and benefits, the higher levels have extra options depending on your business.
In inBeat’s case, UGC campaigns allow you to work with the top 2% of vetted, high-performing creators with the highest engagement rates.
Besides, using these templates allows us to map the customer journey, creating upselling and cross-selling opportunities in the future.
Now, integrate this value ladder into your cold email tool.
Define your value ladder based on your agency’s services: Start with an entry-level offer addressing the pain point we identified in section 1. For example, you can offer a free discovery meeting, audit, or basic package.
Use Google Sheets to segment your prospect list: Do this based on all the relevant criteria, such as industry, company size, or niche insights. Add specific opening lines, follow-up dates, or bespoke PS sections. Integrate all this information into your email tool.
Craft a compelling cold email copy using personalized email templates from QuickMail: Remember to underline how your specific services can uniquely solve your leads’ pain point. This approach will help you stand apart in this competitive landscape.
Include a clear call-to-action: Encourage your email recipient to act according to your goals, such as booking a future meeting time or reviewing your agency’s services. Either way, you must make it easy for your prospects to take the next step.
Use QuickMail to set up a follow-up sequence: Most business clients may not see or have time to respond to your original email. They may also not be convinced from the start. That’s why you need three or four emails to introduce higher benefits and value they can gain from working with your agency. Just space out follow-up emails strategically, about 3-5 days apart.
Monitor and analyze: Track your cold email outreach through your cold email system’s analytics. These metrics paint a good picture; for example, high open rates with low click-through rates show that you must work on your CVP. Low open and click-through rates might mean you must review your micro-segmenting process. Low open rates with high corresponding click-through rates might imply your subject line isn’t persuasive enough, or you have some fake email addresses.
That brings us to the next point.
3. Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an amazing tool in the B2B space if you want to optimize your metrics. Business owners, marketers, recruiters, and virtually all your potential clients are likely using this platform.
Why use LinkedIn:
Enhanced targeting: LinkedIn allows you and your sales reps to find high-quality leads likelier to convert. The platform has a slew of useful filters and criteria that enable you to connect with prospects matching your customer value proposition. Therefore, you increase the chances of recipients opening your email and taking action.
Insights: You can gain unique insights into your leads from their posts and status updates, so you can later personalize your emails better. When your leads see you know specific things about them, like a unique take on an industry matter, they’ll be likelier to respond. Remember to include these particular details in your cold email tool.
Familiarity and trust: You must interact with your leads on LinkedIn so they can recognize at least your name. If you also offered them specific, valuable advice, they’re likelier to follow your CTA.
Social proof: Your leads are likelier to consider your LinkedIn advice and open your email if they see your professional connections. You should also post authoritative, relevant content on LinkedIn to build up your social proof.
Here’s how to use LinkedIn to book that initial meeting:
Build your LinkedIn profile, connecting with relevant key players in your niche.
Post in-depth opinion pieces, articles from important influencers in your niche, or just fun tidbits of information.
Use LinkedIn filters to find your prospects.
Follow them on the channel and find unique opportunities to interact with them meaningfully.
Approach the prospects in a conversational manner about your business. Identify their pain point and offer a free solution based on your experience.
If the conversation went well, offer to send them additional materials by email.
Make your sales pitch by email.
Side note: If you built a rapport, you could send them an email pitch even without asking them first.
That’s how many of our sales interactions go, in fact. At inBeat, we discovered that the best rapports are built when you’re professional and concise.
So, we don’t necessarily aim to “lure” clients in. We present clear offers which show respect for their time and decision-making skills.
Pro tip: While LinkedIn interactions are more conversational, the email pitch can be more salesy.
4. Leverage Additional Omnichannel Tools
So the more often your prospects see you on all the channels they use, the more they’ll like you – especially if you share similar values.
And if they like you, they’ll open your emails and book all types of client meetings with you.
That’s why omnichannel approaches work so well.
When you have multiple touchpoints, your agency becomes more visible and trustworthy.
Side note: This long-term strategy complements your cold email approach. However, using it consistently will improve your results in the long run, giving you access to an ever-growing pipeline of potential leads.
The three best omnichannel tools in my experience are:
4.1. Google Ads
Google Ads is a great resource for inbound marketing because:
It allows you to target a specific niche of prospects: You will basically bid on keywords with high search intent for them, so when they actively search for information regarding their particular needs, they will see your ads.
You can customize these ads neatly to fit your CVP: That way, your agency will appear to fit your prospects’ needs like a glove, making them likelier to schedule a meeting. And that’s because you’re addressing marketing-qualified leads.
You can promote valuable content from your website, not just landing pages: This is an excellent inbound strategy because it offers value to prospective clients without asking for anything in return. As a result, you build credibility and exposure.
And when your prospects see your name in their inbox, they’ll be more likely to book a meeting with you.
Or they’ll voluntarily sign up for your newsletter, thus increasing the likelihood of scheduling a call within the next few emails.
Retargeting ads can skyrocket the chances of scheduling business calls because:
They remind your prospects of your agency’s services: Your agency remains on top of your clients’ minds. That means you can re-engage them based on their initial interest.
You can personalize your message: Based on how your prospects interact with your agency’s website, you can develop bespoke promotions or approaches that resonate with them.
You can overcome objections: For example, if your prospect abandoned a contact form on your website, you can underline the value of scheduling a business call instead. Basically, you can address your prospects’ concerns and offer better solutions.
For example, if a marketer changes their mind after checking our UGC editor, we can retarget them with ads about our paid media services.
4.3. Social Media
Social media increases your exposure on multiple fronts.
Even more, it permeates your prospects’ personal lives when their guards are down.
Of course, you will need a specific strategy for B2B social media content.
Useful strategies include:
Snackable advice, particularly from the tips and tricks category
Short-form tutorial videos and infographics
Pro tip: You should also interact with your customer base on their profiles. Contribute meaningfully to their conversations, offering free solutions and resources from your experience. Additionally, consider using tools like Bonjoro alternatives - they can be invaluable for engaging customers through video marketing and enhancing personalization.
5. Follow Your Success Metrics
You must establish clear KPIs to measure your cold email campaign’s success. Tracking these metrics shows you if you have reached your goals or not. More importantly, it shows you which stats you can improve.
The metrics we typically follow at inBeat are:
Number of messages/emails sent
Number of appointments booked
Insider tip: It’s essential to consider all these metrics together.
The number of messages you send is a vanity metric, but it’s an important metric in correlation with the others.
You may not have segmented your audience well if you send 1,000 outreach emails and get just 10 replies.
If you send 20 outreach emails and book 19 meetings, your targeting is excellent, but you must grow your audience.
Appointment quality is an excellent indicator, too, because you need effective client meetings, focusing on business topics, that increase client retention.
If your interaction goes well and you’re on the same page with most appointments booked, you’re addressing the right market with the right selling proposition.
If not, you need to re-think your customer value proposition and segmenting.
What are some good benchmarks?
Some industry studies show that:
The average appointment to opportunity conversion is 38%.
The average lead-to-opportunity conversion is 13%.
The average time to conversion is 84 days.
Other data indicates that the average lead conversion rate for professional services is 1.4% to 2.3%, while the average lead conversion rate for agencies is 2.7% to 3.8%.
Other research confirms these numbers, highlighting that the average conversion rate for B2B companies, including agencies like yours, is 2.3%.
These numbers are staggering. Here’s what we at inBeat do to improve them dramatically:
Curate your original prospect list first: You will see dramatic improvements to these metrics if you address the right people.
Use a targeted LinkedIn ad approach: For example, organizing webinars with ten highly qualified prospects can get you five business calls, of which at least two convert into buyers.
Focus on building a growth mindset: You can always A/B test cold email templates, subject lines, and CTAs to identify and double down on the winning ones.
Book Meetings Like an Ancient Roman
I love the Roman Empire.
You may not know this, but the Romans were not the best warriors or strategists. They didn’t have the bravest or most skilled warriors.
Romans lost many battles, sometimes shamefully, and still built a magnificent empire.
That’s because they never quit. The Romans always learned from the armies that beat them. They learned how to build better weapons and plan better war battles.
It’s the same when you’re building an agency from scratch.
Booking meetings with prospects is the cornerstone of your business, but you are also bound to err. Strive to learn from your mistakes; use data analytics tools like the ones from QuickMail and Google to analyze your metrics.
Always strive to improve your segmentation process, outreach messages, and omnichannel strategy. It will take effort, but this effort will be worth it in the long run.