How to Sign a Client for Your Agency
(For Advertising Agencies, Digital Marketing Agencies, other Agency Teams and Freelancers)
You’ve been booking meetings, calls, or consults with potential clients, but how do you actually sign a client?
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know, with a step-by-step guide of exactly what to do Before, During, and After a sales call to significantly increase your chances of signing your next client.
Part One - Before the Sales Call
Design Your Offer for Success
The most important thing you need to get right when looking to sign a new client is alignment between the lead, their need, and your offer. Without nailing this, you will not be signing anyone.
When deciding on the services for your agency, make sure you have done this through the lens of what your ideal clients need. Not necessarily just what you want to deliver.
Of course, you want to enjoy what you’re doing, but if it’s not an in demand service that is going to get your clients to where they want to be, it’s not going to be easy to sell.
For Example …
We often get prospects contacting us requesting a quote for SEO. They’re asking for SEO because it’s a relatively well known marketing tactic, or because they’ve received 487 sales emails mentioning the website’s terrible rankings.
When we ask the prospective client about their business goals however, the goal is not to rank #1 on Google. The goal, for our clients, is an increased number of qualified leads. Just moving their current site up in rankings is not going to automatically get a better conversion rate.
What they really need is likely a comprehensive campaign, with new sales pages, ads, automation, blogs and a social media presence.
Even though the full campaign is more expensive, I can clearly demonstrate how all these things work together and will get them the result they’re after faster.
The bonus is, it’s a win win. I get to charge more (plus an additional fee for set up), the client gets real results, and they refer us on to their friends.
Ultimately, a service that solves a big problem for the client, is the easiest thing to sell. Even if it’s more expensive. Click to learn more about deciding on your service for your agency, and agency offer creation - not matter what your agency type.
Book Your Calendar With Consults
Once you’ve decided on your niche and crafted your irresistible offer, you’re ready to go hunting.
Hunting for clients initially takes either time (organic) or money (outsourcing or paid ads). Whichever you decide, in order to get a potential client on a sales call, you’ll need to be able to communicate convincingly.
In order to get on a call with you, the potential client will need to believe three things.
You understand where they are now.
You can get them where they want to go.
Speaking to you can save them time and/or make them money.
You can get creative about how you do this, depending on your agency team services.
Some examples you can have fun playing around with are:
Testimonials / Reviews
Live recorded audits of client data
Educational content / Edutainment
Everything you put out needs to have a call to action (CTA). That CTA, in most cases, is going to be to book a consultation. You may call it something different, like a Strategy Call or a Discovery Call, but the purpose is the same: to start a sales conversation.
In our agency, we use educational content as our front end, and a combination of Case Studies and testimonials for warmer leads. This works particularly well if you have a specific industry niche, as business owners want to see that you have experience with other companies just like theirs.
Just like everything in marketing, test test test.
More about how to book meetings with your first agency clients here.
Preparing A Proposal: What to Include
A great agency proposal is both clear and creative. Your proposal will outline the services you provide, how the services address the potential client’s needs, and why the prospective client should choose your agency.
Your Proposal document may include these elements:
Cover letter: Introduce the proposal and highlight key points.
Agency introduction: A very brief overview of your agency and how you’re uniquely positioned to assist the client
Client’s needs: Demonstrate understanding of the client's circumstances, pain points, and goals. Show research/graphs etc. here if appropriate.
Services: Detail the services your agency will provide, including specific deliverables.
Strategy: Outline the ways your services address client needs.
Process / Timeline: Present a clear step-by-step process of what it looks like to work with you, and include a timeline for key milestones where relevant - including how and when you will provide performance reports.
Team: Introduce key team members, highlighting their expertise.
Investment: Provide a transparent breakdown of costs for each service and any additional expenses.
Portfolio / Case Studies: Provide examples of previous work and successful projects.
Testimonials / Reviews: Incorporate references as ‘social proof’ to show results and build trust.
Terms and Conditions: Include legal responsibilities in your Service Agreement / Contract / Agency Agreement including all legal obligations, payment terms, project scope, revisions, termination clause, notice period, fiduciary duties, payment schedule, late payment fee etc. Ensure you get your contract created or reviewed by a Legal Team.
Part Two - During the Sales Call
The Sales Process: One or Two Calls?
Depending on your specific agency services and how customized your offering is you may have 1 or 2 sales calls.
If your service is part of a standard suite of offers, and you have a proposal and payment links ready to go, you will likely have one (1) call. However, if your service is more customized, you’ll likely need two (2) calls: A Discovery Call and a Sales Call.
The process will go like this, regardless of whether you have 1 or 2 calls.
Pre-frame the Call
Diagnose the problem
Present your offer
Discuss your portfolio / Case Studies
Make the Sale
If the process is divided into two calls, you will still do every step.
The first call will include building rapport, asking questions, and diagnosing the problem. You’ll then explain that you’re going to put together a proposal and book a time later the same week to meet again via video call to go through the proposal together.
Do not, I repeat - do not - send the proposal to the client via email until you have gone through it with them. It’s imperative that you meet with them (ideally via video call) and discuss the proposal with them live.
If you just send the proposal through, the prospect will scroll to the price and not look at much else. You are extremely unlikely to get the sale. If you take one thing from this article, remember this point.
If you’re having a second call, this is where you’ll present your customized offer, and back it up with a portfolio and/or case studies.
*Remember - you’ll do all the same steps whether one call or two.*
So let’s dive into exactly what each of these steps entails.
Structure of a sales call
First, it’s important to note that a sales call is a conversation between 2 human beings. It should not feel robotic. Lead and guide the conversation, but don’t be so rigid that it feels forced.
1. Build Rapport
Begin by connecting with your prospect on a personal level. This involves creating a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Engage in small talk, find common ground, and show authentic interest.
If the prospect doesn’t feel comfortable, they’re not likely to trust you, or buy from you.
After about 5 minutes - or when there’s a natural break in the conversion - you can move into taking the lead and pre-framing what’s going to happen on the call.
Here you want to:
A) Let the prospect know you’re going to ask deep dive questions to ensure you understand their situation.
B) Make sure the decision maker/s are on the call
C) Let them know if you can help them, you’ll let them know and it’s OK to say no if it’s not a good fit.
D) Let them know how long the call is going to go for.
These 4 steps combined ensure that you’re managing expectations, getting permission to ask potentially sensitive questions, building invaluable authority, and establishing trust by providing an easy out.
3. Ask Questions
Now it’s time for those probing questions. Your aim is to uncover the prospect's pain points, challenges, and goals. As well as what they’ve tried before.
Let your prospect talk. It’s important that they do more talking than you do on this call. Active listening is crucial here. Write down actual phrases the prospect says, and you’ll use these words in your pitch.
4. Diagnose the Problem
When you’ve asked all your questions, it can be easy to move straight into the solution. Don’t.
This is where you play “Doctor”, and you diagnose their problem. Not solve it.
For example, ‘We see this with a lot of new clients. The issue isn’t conversion, it’s getting more eyes on your offer.’
Reflect back on their pain points and challenges, ensuring that you accurately understand their situation. This step demonstrates your commitment to finding a solution that aligns precisely with their needs.
5. Present Your Offer
Now that you have a clear understanding of the prospect's challenges, and the prospect has agreed with your diagnosis or understands it, it's time to present your solution.
Highlight how your service directly addresses their pain points. Focus on the value your solution offers and how it can help them overcome their current obstacles.
This is where you consult your notes, and use their words back to them. For example, if the client has said they’re sick of being on the phone all day with tire kickers, you might say, “We implement a form with conditional logic so you don’t have to be on the phone all day with tire kickers.”
And once you’ve explained the Scope of Work and the benefits of each element, it’s time to reveal the cost.
The most important part of this step is that you:
State the investment.
Don’t say another word after point A), until they speak
That is, give the prospect the cost, and then shut your mouth. Bite your tongue if you have to. Do not say another word until they respond.
The prospect will take in everything you’ve said, and be comparing this with their expectations, other proposals etc.
Then they’ll likely ask a question, or seventeen. Remember, questions are not a ‘No’. Always answer their questions patiently, and transparently.
Remember the words you wrote down again, and use these in your sentences wherever you can. Psychologically, if a client thinks you understand their problem, they also think you have the solution to it.
Lastly here, if the questions are comments about reducing cost, I recommend that you don’t discount. It’s a slippery slope that leads to resentment and poor performance. Instead, if it aligns with your business goals - let them know you can remove services which will reduce the fee.
Think back to Part One of this article, Designing Your Offer, when we discussed the comprehensive marketing campaign in place of just selling the client SEO.
WIth this example, we would recommend the client engage us for a new sales pages, ads, automation, blogs and a social media presence.
If the prospect came back to us saying this package was too expensive, we wouldn’t automatically reduce the price. We would discuss the option of removing social media and blogs. These are supplementary to the primary marketing funnel - running Google ads to a high converting sales page, taking contact details and automating the follow up. This would reduce the cost of the monthly fee, allowing the client to grow their revenue with the funnel, and expand with the slower tactics (blogs and social media) at a later date.
Remember - this example is specific to my niche (construction). For many industries social media may be the main marketing tool. If you get push back on price, take the concept of breaking down the offer into primary and supplementary aspects, and customize this to fit your niche and your offer.
6. Discuss Your Portfolio / Case Studies
To build further trust, share relevant case studies, success stories, or examples of results you’ve gained for other clients (or yourself). These real-world examples serve as proof that your solution works and can help the prospect visualize the outcomes they too can achieve by working with you.
7. Make the Sale
If the prospect declines, respect their decision and move on. If the client says Yes to working with you - Congratulations!
Make the contract and payment process as seamless as possible. Provide clear instructions on how the prospect can sign and make the payment while on the call. This could involve walking them through an online signing and payment portal, processing their credit card details securely, or providing details for a bank transfer. Check with your Legal Team on the specific laws for your state around this as some States may not allow over the phone card processing.
If you cannot take payment on the call, but they’re keen to sign, great! However, do not count your chickens before they’re hatched. And do not, I repeat - do not - start work until the client has signed and paid.
Part Three - After the Sales Call
After the Sales Call you’ll be in 1 of 4 situations.
The prospect declined the offer and said No.
The client said Yes, and signed and paid on the call.
The client said Yes, but did not sign / pay on the call.
The client is undecided or communicating with other stakeholders.
If A) the client has declined, again, accept their decision and move on.
If B) The client said Yes, and signed and paid on the call … Make sure you have an incredible Onboarding Process to move them through and you take any action you need to on this promptly. For example, sending welcome gifts, communicating with the team, etc.
If C) The client said Yes, but did not sign/pay on the call … or D) The client is undecided or communicating with other stakeholders… you’re going to follow up, and follow up, and follow up. Until they Sign, or tell you to stop following up.
How to Follow Up After a Sales Call
When a client does not make a payment during the sales call, the follow-up process is crucial to remain front of mind, address any remaining concerns, and ultimately close the sale.
Below are examples of different tools in the ‘Follow-Up Toolbelt’. Pick and choose as it feels right for you and your business, and remember, this is all a part of the buying process.
Be sure to end each communication with a note about when you’ll next follow up with them. For example, tack on the end of your Testimonials email … “I’ll follow up Thursday if I don’t hear from you prior.’
1. Send a Thank-You
Promptly send a personalized thank-you email, voice message, or video to express gratitude for their time and interest. Recap the call. Reiterate your excitement to work with the prospect, based on the results you believe you can achieve for them.
2. Provide Additional Information
Address any questions, concerns, or objections that were raised during the call but weren't fully resolved.
3. Share Relevant Content
Send the prospect informative content related to their industry or the challenges they're facing. This can demonstrate your expertise and keep you on their radar as a valuable resource.
4. Follow Up with a Call
After a couple of days, follow up with a friendly and non-pushy phone call. Inquire if they had any further thoughts or if there were any additional questions that came up since your last conversation. This call should focus on continuing the conversation rather than directly pushing for the sale.
5. Offer a Limited-Time Incentive
If appropriate, consider offering a time-limited incentive to encourage the prospect to take action. This could be a bonus, or additional service that adds extra value to the offer. Something low cost to you, high value to the client is perfect.
6. Provide Testimonials or References
Share success stories or references from previous clients who have benefited from your product or service. This can help build trust and demonstrate potential outcomes.
7. Address Decision-Makers
If the client is hesitating due to internal decision-making processes, offer assistance in presenting to their team to enable an informed decision.
8. Stay Engaged on Social Media
Connect with them on social media platforms and engage with their posts when relevant. This keeps you visible and allows you to continue building rapport.
A thoughtful and patient follow-up process can help maintain trust, demonstrate your commitment to their success, and increase the likelihood of eventually closing the sale.
Space out your follow-ups to avoid being annoying, but maintain consistent contact. Each touchpoint should offer value, whether it's new insights, success stories, or additional information. Get creative!
The Bottom Line Is
Signing clients is made much easier with a strategic and thoughtful approach. When everything you do is focused on the best outcomes for the client, authenticity shines through.
It starts with your offer, colors the conversations with prospects, and will also determine the longevity of the project.
When you have client results as your priority, your own results are inevitable.