Smart Agency Podcast: The #1 Digital Agency Podcast for Social Media, SEO, PPC & Creative Agencies

How to End the Time Suck of Creating Proposals

When it comes to creating proposals, you may find yourself spending hours upon hours trying to craft the best proposal you can to win that job. But if you are unsuccessful, you will find the time was wasteful.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • The #1 tip for winning a proposal.
  • 3 key elements of a successful proposal.
  • A super cool tool to put an end to the time suck of creating proposals

Today’s guest on the show is Dylan Baskind, my first-ever guest from Down Under! (I think?!) He shares with us the key elements of creating killer proposals, as well as a way to save you time, energy and frustration on the whole process.

After nearly a decade as a software design/engineer consultant, Dylan had a long list of the things he hated about creating proposals. His proposals had landed him work with all types clients, from small, local ones to large, multinational ones but not without a tons of work and frustration. He wanted something simple yet attractive that would be customizable but uniform. Enter the solution called Qwilr, which Dylan is co-founder and is CEO.... I’ve messed around with this tool myself and it’s a pretty cool tool!

#1 Tip for Winning A Proposal

Case studies!

At the end of the day it comes down to numbers. When you present a proposal you are meeting with a business person who wants a specific business goal met. You need a success story that can prove you are the right person that can deliver the desired results with data to backup your claim.

We learned in our 2016 Future Outlook of Digital Agencies Report that brands want agencies to commit to specific results. Numbers don’t lie. So, Dylan’s advice is to use analytics and metrics and tell your success story in your proposal.

That can be easier said than done, though. If you can’t get a baseline from a prospect, it makes it much harder to prove the value and potential results of your work. However, if you can get them to measure “X” and you promise to deliver “Y” you’re golden.

3 Key Elements of a Successful Proposal

In addition to a case study, there are a few more keys to make your proposal a slam dunk. The upfront section should be dedicated to describing the client’s problem and your proposed solution.

Then, in this order, you want to include the following:

  1. Reformulate the problem using industry terminology. Rephrase the 3 I’s (Issue, Impact, and Importance) in your own lingo. This confirms that you understand what needs to be done and why.
  2. Tell a compelling story about your team and why their experience and qualifications make them uniquely suited to work on this project. This is the first time in the proposal where you should talk about yourself. Everything up until this point is about the prospect!
  3. Provide one call to action. A lot of times proposals offer a variety of 3-4 different options. Eliminate the confusion and make sure you have one single, very clear call to action.

[clickToTweet tweet="Your #proposal is your most important touch point. Here's how to get it right. " quote="Your proposal is your most important touch point. You have to get it right."]

Your proposal is the face of your business. It used to be trendy office space created an  impressive first look at a business. Today, with all things virtual and cloud-based, it’s now the proposal that makes the first real impression.

Dylan says your proposal has to be as good as your business - and it’s where you need to display your innovation and creativity. Meaning, if you’re a video production company your proposal has to have a video element. If you’re in web design it needs to include an actual site. This tactic serves as a dual purpose for both delivering proposal content and a sample of your work.

Crafting the Perfect Proposal

After 8 years Word and PowerPoint just wasn’t cutting it. Dylan says his proposal process was very organized but it was archaic. Since he is trained in both design and engineering he wanted his proposals to be both functional and pleasing to the eye.

Proposals = Major Time Suck

Major struggles included:

  • Resizing images in PowerPoint or MS Word.
  • Formatting issues when trying to paste an Excel chart into a Word Doc.
  • Manual data entry of proposal pricing into accounting software.
  • Pulling data from the proposals into the rest of Cloud-based agency business.

Sound familiar? ;)

Dylan created Qwilr as the solution to these problems and it has evolved into so much more. Qwilr saves ton of time, and includes design, quoting, analytics and internal communications features. It’s an interface between your business and the outside world.

It’s the little details that separate you from everyone else… you don’t have to be a designer to create gorgeous, user-friendly proposals.

Check out for a FREE TRIAL and special savings just for Smart Agency Master Class listeners.

What's Next?

You may think that now you've improved your methods of creating proposals, what's next?

Whether you need advice on growing your agency team, what you need to do as an agency owner or learn how to fast track growth for your agency, I can help.

Find all my tips, tricks and insights in my blog section that covers a wide variety of topics. Videos more your thing? You can check out the videos on my Youtube channel!


Direct download: How_to_End_the_Time_Suck_of_Creating_Proposals.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 5:00am MDT

How to BONUS the Creative Team, Prospect Selection & Sales Process, Sales Team Model?

#AskSwenk 37: How can you bonus and incentivize your creative team? What to do when the prospect is controlling the sales process and expects some "free" work. PLUS, how to structure your agency's sales team.

{0:32} Meny asked: "How can we build an incentive program for our creative team members, and what would that look like?"

{3:53} Jared asked: "How do you address prospects who want to control the sales process? We're talking to someone right now that is putting us through their selection process with very little regard to our process and getting the information we need to put together a proposal. Normally I would go through their motions, but some of the questions they're asking are very tactical and would almost cross over into the 'working for free' zone."

{6:22} Jack asked: "Selling has always come natural to me. I know some agencies have the CEO do ALL the sales, but I don't think that's as scalable as having Account Managers who can sell. What's the best business model for a sales team:

  • The hunter/farmer model?
  • The account manager does both model?
  • CEO does all the sales, hands off to account manager?"

Discover the best Digital Agency Strategies today. Get Online Training to help you setup the right systems and strategies to help you grow faster.

Build a Better Agency

Through my life in the industry, I have gained so many experiences that allows me to share advice on many topics from the struggles you may face with failing economies to how speaking opportunities can generate new business and using Youtube to boost your marketing for your agency marketing strategy.

You can learn more about me and check out all my tips, tricks and everything you need to know in my blogs. I have covered a wide variety of topics as well as answering your questions in more from my Ask Swenk series.

If videos are more your thing, don't worry, i've got you covered!

You can check out my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel for advice from myself and other agency experts.

Rapid Agency Growth: The 4 Serious Strategies For Your Agency

Every agency owner would most likely have rapid agency growth on their list of aspirations for their business.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Why you should niche to become more successful and achieve rapid agency growth.
  • Ways to change your pricing to increase revenue and profit margins.
  • How to use case studies as a lead generator.


My guest today is Dan Lok, a self-made millionaire and entrepreneur who consults businesses for an equity position. He has taken on not one, but three troubled agencies and turned them into 7-figure businesses. So, if you are new to agency ownership or been in the game awhile but need some tips for shaking things up, you’re going to want to know more from this self-made millionaire.

4 Serious Strategies For Rapid Agency Growth

Strategy #1 - Be a specialist.

Does your agency claim to be able to do everything for everyone? Or, is your target something broad, like “small businesses”. You are a generalist but… the riches are in the niches.

You might want to help everyone, you might even think you can. But if you’re busy trying to be good at all things you will be the best of none of them. Every industry has it’s own nuances, lingo, standards, etc. If you specialize within just one, you only have to learn about that specific industry. Then you can dig deeper to get a richer understanding. You become more efficient which saves you time and increases productivity. You also become the authority in the field and get referrals within the industry. There’s a cyclical effective that generalists just can’t achieve.

Case in point... One of Dan’s first ventures was with an agency called Standard Marketing. Lame name, right? You don’t get any more general than “standard marketing” and they were handling all sorts of marketing for all sorts of clients.

The fix... After some analysis, they realized more than 50% of their clients were real estate agents. They decided that was the niche, rebranded the agency, calling it Top Agent Marketing, and wrote a book about real estate lead generation.

The result... Sales nearly tripled in the first year… from $30k/mo to $80/mo! Today, they’re hitting a 6-figure monthly revenue.

Strategy #2 - Revamp your pricing strategy.

There’s two ways to go about this…

1. Performance Pricing: Think of it from the client’s perspective. They want results. If you are getting paid based on the results, you are motivated to deliver better results.

If you follow a pricing model that allows for a base rate + incremental amounts based on performance, you’ll find you work with less clients and make more money.

The key to successful performance-based pricing is creating the right criteria to set up success. Be selective to be effective. For more on implementing performance-based pricing check out this interview with Tom Breeze who’s also mastered this pricing model.

2. “Three Boxes” Pricing: We see it all the time - car washes, movie theater concessions… There are three levels of pricing: basic, moderate and deluxe. The basic package is so lame that no one goes for it. The deluxe package is so outlandish that no one goes for it. These two are the decoys to get people right where you want them - the moderate package. The moderate package is what you’re already best at anyway.

The great thing about these three boxes is that it provides a basic option for budget conscious clients. And for the 80% that end up with the moderate package, it plants the seed that there is more.

Strategy #3 - Use your success stories.

Prove you can do what you say you can do. When you are a specialist in a specific niche you can build recognition and establish authority by featuring case studies in your marketing. It sound elementary but it’s a great way to increase your profits and it’s often overlooked.

Case in point... In early 2013, Dan invested in an agency that specialized in the digital marketing for audiologists. They were making $90K/mo but 0% profit. They were 90 days behind in delivery and $90K in debt.

The fix... They evaluated everything from staffing to clients to pricing. In a short time, the entire team was slowly let go, nearly 25% of the clients left or were let go, and success story marketing was implemented.

The result... In three years, profit margin went from 0% to 35%. The team went from 11 to 16 full-time employees. They are in no debt and have $200K in savings. They are on track to hit $4 million this year.

Strategy #4 - Be your charming self.

You love working on your computer. You ‘get’ your computer. Your computer ‘gets’ you. That's why digital marketers aren’t typically known for being super personable. But hiding behind your computer isn’t going to accelerate your business.

As a digital marketer, you’re selling an intangible service and your clients won’t see results right away. In order to want to spend money working with you, they’ve got to get to know, like and trust you first. People want to work with people.

That means you can’t hide behind your computer screen. You need to connect with people on a personal level by networking, speaking, working trade shows, making phone calls… And last but not least, don’t send proposals via email. Meet to go over them in person!

Growing Your Agency

You now have the strategies to put into place for rapid agency growth for your business but what's next? Consistently improving your business is needed to you are hoping to run your business in the long term. If you achieve rapid agency growth, you also need to have a solid foundation to your agency to ensure you and your team can handle the workload.

Are there other areas of your business you want to improve? By evaluating other areas of weakness within your agency, you can create a better business and improve as an agency owner. And the best thing about it is, I can help you get through all of it.

I can give you support and advice on many topics from what to do when you want to speed up sales processes, ways to increase your business profit margins or how you can build an authority for your agency.

Growing your agency can be a major struggle for any agency owner and I can show you the different phases of growth you will experience, how placing a process for performance based pricing can be the best pricing strategy for your business and the three questions you need to ask yourself to sell more!

Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Find more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.

Direct download: Smart_Agency_Master_Class_Podcast_-_Dan_Lok.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 5:00am MDT

What Makes Good Lead Magnets and How Can You Engage with Prospects?

In this instalment of #AskSwenk, I discuss what exactly makes good lead magnets and how can you engage with prospects. I also share how to handle clients who approve work without reviewing and whether telesales companies are a good option for the outbound sales of your agency.

{0:33} Frank asked: "What are others finding are good lead magnets to generate new contacts/leads? Beyond that, what are good ways get contacts to engage your firm once they are in your database?"

The best lead magnets in my opinion are case studies. Headlines are the most crucial part of a case study to use them as lead magnets and I like to stick to the template in my headlines of "How to do something cool without doing something that sucks" to grab the attention of your audience.

Once they are leads, ensure to provide them with good content with call to actions to get your prospects to move to the next stage.

{2:43} Kelsey asked: "Does anyone have any experience with clients who approve work without actually looking at it? I have a client who has approved all of my work, but who just admitted to not actually taking the time to read any of the content I am posting on her behalf. Any thoughts?"

Yes, I have had this experience. Sitting down with a client and explaining to them and sharing all the information to walk them through your process as an agency. Creating a signed paper work trail will support you when you need to go back to a client to show they approved an aspect of a project and additional changes will come at additional costs.

{4:22} Oscar asked: "I see outbound marketing as a key component to growing the agency. Having tried this already with a couple of companies recommended by others with mediocre results (and I am being generous), I thought of asking you for your experience in this respect and any recommendations you may have on telemarketing/appointment setting companies."

Most agencies have used telemarketing companies at some point. From my own personal experience for my own agency and for clients, I haven't seen any benefit from them. There's no value for your outbound marketing of a telemarketing company that doesn't know your business or understand your audience's businesses making a thousand calls trying to organise marketing audits.

Better to create a targeted hit-list after research into your audience and then call them and offer them something of value for their business.

Looking for More on How You Can Improve Your Agency and Yourself as an Agency Owner?

Are there weaknesses within your agency that are causing everything to breakdown? Don't worry, i'm here for all the advice you need.

I have been in the industry for a long time and I have had my own experience running my own digital agency as well as helping other digital agency owners so there are many topics where I can offer guidance. Whether you are experiencing challenges as an established agency or a new agency unsure of what the different phases of growth you will experience will look like, I've got you covered.

As you continue to grow your agency team, I can show how to recognise when it’s time to hire a sales manager or expand your sales team to perfecting your business strategy with creating a process for performance based pricing and how to keep your big name clients happy.

Are you ready to create something cool and want more advice? Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics. Or if videos are more your thing, visit my Youtube channel!

Direct download: Lead_Magnets_Bad_Clients_TeleSales_Companies_AskSwenk_ep_36.mp3
Category:#AskSwenk Show -- posted at: 5:00am MDT

Could a killer outbound sales strategy take your agency to a whole other level in how you perform and the clients you attract?

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • Why an outbound sales strategy is important.
  • One killer outbound sales strategy for new agency business
  • 4 steps to a successful 100 Call Challenge.

Today’s guest, Gene Hammett, knows a thing or two about outbound sales. He used to be my agency’s VP of Sales and scored us meetings with huge brands like Home Depot and Porsche just to name a few. He’s now using his knowledge and experience as a writer, speaker and Strategic Coach for competitive service-based businesses. Gene also hosts Leaders In the Trenches, a podcast for entrepreneurs.

Gene recently turned one of his coaching strategies on himself and created a 10-Day, 100 Call Challenge. He’s seeing some fantastic results and shared all the details with us.

Why is a Outbound Sales Strategy Beneficial?

Having an outbound sales strategy has been lost and forgotten. So many business focus solely on lead generation and ways to amplify inbound sales. As business owners, we can’t always expect leads to come to us. Sometimes we have to approach them first and ask for their business. Outbound sales doesn't have to mean cold calls, though. It means defining a criteria for who you want to work with and then seeking them out to showcase your offering.

Gene’s self-imposed 100 Call Challenge is a way to re-introduce outbound sales strategy efforts back into your agency.

What is the 100 Call Challenge?

Most people think it’s 100 cold calls and dread the thought of it. But really, it’s a commitment to having 100 conversations.

Gene breaks his goal setting down into annual, quarterly, monthly and then two week increments. For the first two weeks of February 2016 he decided he needed a jolt in his business - something drastic to stir things up. That’s when he implemented the 100 Call Challenge. The results?

  • 3 new speaking gigs that weren’t already on his radar
  • 2 new clients
  • A booked calendar for an additional 2 weeks
  • A flurry of new activity creating a snowball effect on his business

4 Steps for setting up a successful 100 Call Challenge:

1- Decide what you have to offer.

You can’t just start making sales calls to set up appointments. Major turn off.

Time is valuable. So if you’re going to ask people for their time, you better have something super valuable to offer in return.

Think of reasons why prospects might want to spend time with you. What can you offer in exchange for an hour of their time?

  • For new prospects:  Develop a great solution to a common problem or something to ease one of their pain points. Then invite them to a cocktail hour, lunch & learn or other live event where you give them this information for FREE. Make a deposit before making a withdrawal. This strategy is HUGE - it establishes authority and creates goodwill. Host a live event and then make calls to get the right people in the room. That’s how you stack the deck in your favor.
  • For old leads:  Follow-up is definitely a lost skill. Think about all the “no” or “not right now” responses you’ve gotten in the past year or so. Shoot an email letting them know you’ve been thinking of their X problem (something specific they experiencing the last time you spoke) and that you have some ideas. State that you’ll be calling later that day to talk. Then make your call and provide the information - no strings. Chances are, the problem is still a problem and they’ll be ready to listen to your solution. The goal here is to re-open the dialogue. Not score a sale. 

2- Mindset is KEY.

Gene has no hesitation in making phone calls and no fear of cold calling. (That’s how he scored my agency with meetings with huge brands!) But what he has come to realize is that he wasn’t making time to make calls. He was making excuses.

Gene’s advice is to get over your hang ups. (Pun intended!:) ) Have the courage to create what you want. It’s easy to settle for status quo. You have to find your “everyday courage” which sits inside every one of us but becomes dormant as we get comfortable. Push yourself to go outside that comfort zone. No excuses.

3- Establish initiatives.

For Gene, the goals were revenue-based and he set a two-week time period in order to reach them. He decided there were 3 routes to achieve his revenue target:

  • more speaking engagements
  • more clients
  • higher profile attendance at his live events.

What are your desired results? How can you get there? Be specific and make sure it’s something you can measure. Hold yourself accountable to the timeline and results.

4- Pull the trigger.

If you’re making 100 calls in 10 days commit to roughly 10 calls per day. Even if you’re out of the office. No excuses! Here’s how Gene implemented his three-fold plan:

  • More speaking gigs:  Gene paid a Virtual Assistant to create a list of events that met his specific criteria. The list contained URLs, names, email addresses and phone numbers for 52 different events. He used that list to make contact and start a conversation about speaking at the event. (For reference, he paid $5 per name so the list only cost $260 and saved him loads of time.)
  • More clients:  Gene decided to initiate contact with old leads. He made follow-up calls - NOT  “checking in” calls. He made note of the last conversation he’d had with them and asked a specific question about something that was discussed. Another tactic Gene used was contacting past clients for referrals. He emailed some past clients and mentioned that he’d be calling them later the same day. Following this ‘heads up’ email he’d make the call and ask for referrals.
  • High profile event attendees:  Gene holds live events and wants to fill the seats with his ideal clients… which just happens to be Inc. 500 CEO’s. He used a VA to compile a list with contact info for all 500 and sent emails to each one. Anyone who engaged with the email received a phone call from Gene. Admittedly, getting them on the phone was tricky but he says it just takes dedication and persistence. See #2 about Mindset! :)

Revelations from a 100 Call Challenge:

Not only did Gene experience great results, he’s was able to reflect back on the experience and to share some learning from it, too...

  • This goes against the grain and that is a good thing! Think about it… What kind of calls do you get? Does anyone ever follow up with you, after you give a ‘no’? Probably not! Doing it is different, unexpected and often welcomed.
  • The more calls Gene made, the easier it got. People actually even called him back from voicemail messages… which is how he ended up with 102 conversations by the end of the 10th day! :)
  • If it takes 2-3 phone calls to advance a relationship, then each of those conversations counts toward the 100. It’s all about having conversations that elevate your business toward your goals.

Want to read more about how you can improve your agency and yourself as an agency owner? You can read our blogs that cover a wide variety of topics or if videos are more your thing, visit my Youtube channel!

Direct download: A_KILLER_Outbound_Sales_Strategy_for_New_Agency_Business.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 5:00am MDT

Payment Schedules, Payroll for Owners, & Yearly Reviews

In this episode of Ask Swenk, i'm talking all things payment and payment schedules. The best client payment schedule and how to get your clients to stick to it. Plus, whether the owner should be on payroll and how to handle those dreaded annual employee reviews.

{1:14} Stuart asks: "We have tried to implement your payment schedule of 50% upfront, then 25%, 25%, based on milestones or timelines. However, we haven't had any success with this, and clients have pushed back hard to get this upon them signing off on the work. Aside from not working with these clients, how have you handled push backs like this?"

{4:44} Adina asks: "Do you pay yourself a salary on payroll? My accountant says I need to pay myself like an employee and then remit payroll tax ...for myself! Just wondering if this is common practice.

{6:37} John asks: "Should my company keep doing yearly reviews for my employees?"

How You Can Improve Your Business

I hope this provided you with a clearer idea of payment schedules when it comes to your own team and your client projects in the future.

If you have more questions, I can help. Whether you have been an agency owner for some time or have just taken the leap and started a new agency, I have covered topics including bringing in big clients for your agency to reasons you should sell your agency.

You can check out all my tips, tricks and everything you need to know in my blogs. I have covered a wide variety of topics as well as answering your questions in more from my Ask Swenk series.

Are videos more your thing?  You can check out my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel for advice from myself and other agency experts.

Do you want to learn how to go from the freelancer life to starting a digital agency and even grow it so it's worth seven figures.

In this episode, I’ll cover:

  • 3 steps for transitioning from freelancer to agency owner.
  • How to identify and overcome growth struggles.
  • How to hire when you’re ready.
  • #1 advice for newbie owners.

Rob Riggs has a great story to share about his digital agency journey, and it all begins with freelancing for a pretty awesome guy... ME :)

Seriously though, I met Rob through owning my digital agency and we frequently sent work his way. Over the years Rob has turned his freelance business into a thriving digital agency. In this interview, he tells us about the transition that began in 2004, from a one-man show to 12 person digital agency, Your Design Online. He shares how he overcomes challenges, how his role has evolved, and what he would tell his former self to do differently.

3 Steps to go from freelancer to digital agency owner

  1. Identify a narrow niche. Rob says he stopped taking on “just any project.” He drilled down to a specific niche and became a specialist.
  2. Go outside your comfort zone. In Rob’s case, he emerged himself in more complex projects that were beyond building websites. He took responsibility for delivering results and showing ROI to his clients.
  3. Be self aware. Know what you stand for, what you believe, and what you are (and aren’t) willing to work on. (For more on that check out this post on how to Quit Being a Prisoner to Your Agency, and read about an agency owner who created his agency around his life - not the other way around.)

Solving the biggest growth challenges

Rob says his biggest challenge, at first, was landing projects that were beyond what he could do himself. Once he got over that hurdle and grew to 3-4 people, then they were dropping the ball with details. As they grew even more, their issues were with delivery.

You’re always going to have issues, they just evolves as your business grows. The key is identifying the issue and the need for change. Then take action!

When project details were an issue, Rob says they starting using Basecamp. When they outgrew that tool, they adopted new PM software that did more in the backend. When delivery was an issue, they created standard operating procedures for delivery.

It seems counterintuitive but your need systems and processes that are made the be changed. Have a system in place for everything, but be able to identify when that system needs a makeover.

If you have an isolated problem, you get through it and you learn from it. But if there is an issue that becomes a repetitive problem, there needs to be a standard process for avoiding it. As Rob says, “I never want to type the same sentence twice.” And he’s right - if you have great processes in place, you shouldn’t have to!

How to find talent when you’re ready to hire

Rob’s first hire was a developer, who has been with him since the beginning. His role has evolved significantly over the past 12 years into project manager, problem solver and he’s now a key decision maker who runs things while Rob is out of the office procuring new business. Rob says he always looks to hire people who are sharers. Part of his process is to do a post-mortem after a project wraps. They talk about things that went right and things that went wrong. For this to be a successful process, everyone on the team has to be honest about their own mistakes. He also looks for a good fit with the agency culture - making sure to hire people who can get behind the company’s mission. He uses a lot of hypothetical situations in his interview process so he can look for creativity and problem solving skills.

And, you don’t have to pay top dollar for get great talent... Rob believes even coders making $200,000 are going to be unhappy and won’t work hard if they can’t get behind what they’re working on.

As the agency owner, you want to slowly replace yourself so you can be doing things that generate revenue. Often times that means being out of the office working prospects... not projects. (Not sure how to replace yourself? Check out this interview with an agency owner who fires himself at least once a year.)

#1 advice for starting out?

There’s a reason I say “systems outperform talent every time.” It’s true! In Rob’s case, there’s a delicate balance owning an agency of this size. They are just small enough to be agile and make quick moves and just big enough that they need standardization for consistency’s sake. If he had to do it all over again, Rob says he would tell his former self to this first.

Tired of Being Restricted in the Career Path You’re On?

Are you the owner of a small agency under $300,000? Or a freelancer, marketing professional or agency employee who thinks you can run your own agency better?

Jump Start My Agency is a program that covers everything you need to start a profitable agency and land high paying clients of over $20,000.

This 4 week course is designed to help you find the ideal clients, charge what you’re worth and learn how to build a team.

There are clients waiting to work with you! Let me help you by requesting an invitation to the program.


Are You a Freelancer That Needs More Help?

If you found this helpful but want to know how to grow your agency the best way, I can help.

You can find lots of tips, tricks and insights by reading our blogs that cover a wide variety of topics or if videos are more your thing, visit my videos on my Youtube channel!

Direct download: Smart_Agency_Master_Class_Podcast_-_Rob_Riggs.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 5:00am MDT

What You Should Do (And Shouldn't Do) When Selling Digital Agency

In episode thirty four of #AskSwenk, I discuss what you should do (and shouldn't do) when selling digital agency, plus how to compensate referral agencies and how to follow-up when a prospect goes dark.

{1:08} Amy asked: "I'm in negotiations to sell my marketing agency. What should I be aware of? Pitfalls to avoid?"

You need to determine why is the other agency or business interested in buying your agency?

  • Revenue?
  • Location?

It's important to figure this out for the leverage of your agency and make sure to ask them the same questions they ask about your business to evaluate if they can afford you. You should also keep the fact you are considering selling confidential to avoid potentially losing clients.

{5:57} Scott asked: "What are your thoughts on paid referrals or partnerships between agencies? For example, your agency refers me work I pay you x% commission. "

This can be done a couple of different ways but depends on how big projects or retainers are. For a good strategic partnership to work, it should work both ways when it comes to referrals with a sliding scale for commission percentages.

{7:38} Stuart asked: "We are walking our clients through the proposals, in person, as per your advice. However, we still find that once we have done this, the client then goes quiet on us (never a good sign). How do we persistently, yet politely, follow up to expedite this last stage of the sale and to find out if we are their preferred supplier?"

A client going silent is a bad sign but you can probably trace it back to the first conversation you had with the client.

  • Do they have the budget for the project?
  • Do they have the authority to make decisions for the project?
  • Do they have realistic timing?

This will help you with your follow up strategy by following the three I's: Issue, Impact and In meeting scheduling.

Check out Ask Swenk Episode forty three for more related questions!

Improve Your Agency and Become a Better Agency Owner!

Want extra help in taking your agency to the next level and become a better agency owner? You can find lots of tips, tricks and insights by reading our blogs that cover a wide variety of topics or if videos are more your thing, visit my Youtube channel!

Are your team within your agency losing far too much time in email communications both internally and with clients?

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • Gaining control of your clogged and cluttered email inbox.
  • A system that sorts, organizes and stores emails in a way that makes sense.
  • How to save time so you can get busy making money.

Today’s guest is digital agency owner Ian Garlic who owns Authentic Web, a video production and distribution agency and host of the podcast, TAO of Inbound. He shares with us a solution for sorting and organizing internal communication.

Buried by emails?

As his agency grew, Ian was having a problem with his email inbox getting clogged. He was cc’d on everything but wasn’t necessarily involved in the details of every project. So, when Ian needed to jump in on something he was digging through emails trying to get a macro picture of what what going on by having to weed through all the micro details in old emails.

The solution Ian discovered is Slack - a communication tool for tracking, sorting and archiving team communication. (The opinions expressed in this interview are our own. Neither Ian or I are affiliates of Slack.)

Eliminate the time suck of email

[clickToTweet tweet="Get a high-level, quick view of what’s going on in your agency." quote="Get a high-level, quick view of what’s going on in your agency."]

Benefits to Slack:

  • Create different channels for sorting and organizing information (client or topic specific). Do you dig through emails looking for information only to realize it’s buried in with something completely unrelated? Slack eliminates this problem by sorting things in the channels your create.

  • Tag people when their attention is required. Do you skim (or skip) over emails where you’re cc’d only to realize that your input was needed but you were only half-listening? Slack will keep you and your team in the loop but individuals can be tagged and notified with their attention is needed.

  • Automatically sequences information in chronological order. Ever scroll through an chain of emails trying to determine which parts of the conversation came before others? Who said what and what? Try as it might, Gmail and others can’t always keep it all straight for us. Slack puts communication in chronological order and archives the old stuff for you.

  • Cool integrations with PM software and GoogleDocs. No more switching between email communication and your other agency tools. It’s all in one place on Slack.

Getting started with Slack

Slack is free to use but there are of course a variety of upgraded paid levels (information located on the Slack website). Ian says it’s fairly easy to set-up but like anything else, there’s a learning curve involved. You’ll change and tweak the way you create your channels and hashtags as you learn what works best for your team.

3 steps to setting up:

  1. Create your teams and invite members.
  2. Create your channels. (Authentic Web has channels for: weekly meetings, KPI’s, each client, miscellaneous and one for office humor.)
  3. Download the mobile/tablet apps so you can use Slack without going through a web browser.
PRO TIP: Ian is pretty active on Instagram. He uploads images and stores them in Slack where he can grab them at anytime and post to Instagram right from his phone. Use Slack like a server-on-the-go.
[clickToTweet tweet="Get out of your in your inbox and get busy generating revenue! #slack #productivity #digitalmarketing" quote="Get out of your in your inbox and get busy generating revenue! "]
If you want some other tips on being more productive, check out this post and download my Productivity Funnel.

Improve Your Business

Increase the productivity of your team by decreasing the amount of time they lose in their email inboxes will create smarter and quicker strategies when working on client projects.

If you need any help or advice on any topic to do with your digital agency, I have probably experienced them myself and can help you from what I learned. From what to do with your sales processes, ways to increase your profit margins or how you can build authority for your agency.

I can show you how to stop losing money on projects, why solid processes for performance based pricing can be the best pricing strategy and how having remote working or freelancers in your team can be beneficial and the best ways of managing them.

Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Find more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.

Direct download: How_to_STOP_Getting_Lost_in_Your_Email_Inbox_Using_Slack.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 5:00am MDT