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

So what can you do when a client refuses to pay? I mean, absolutely refuses! That’s the dilemma this new agency owner has with a nightmare client who owes him almost $10K. Listen to his story plus my advice on how to get through it and the processes he needs in order to prevent it from happening again.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Why you need a prospect qualification process.
  • What information to get in an initial client meeting.
  • 2 ways to get the client’s budget every time.
  • How to protect your agency against slow pay or no pay clients.

Today’s guest is Mike Volkin, a long time freelancer turned agency owner when he founded 800lb Marketing in early 2017. Mike’s agency specializes in fractional CMO services for startups that don’t have marketing leadership. He was about 8 months into the business when I interviewed him. He caught my attention with a post in our Digital Agency Owners Facebook group about a client who wouldn’t pay. In this episode, Mike candidly shares his story about a client who stiffed him on almost $10K while I give him advice to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

How a Good Client Turns Bad

So here’s the gist of Mike’s horror story... His agency was working with a new client who was investor-funded. They assured him there was plenty of funding - they were even turning investors away. So money wasn't going to be a problem. The deal was going to be 800lb Marketing’s second largest contract with multiple-thousands of dollars in recurring revenue.

Well, fast forward several months and now the client refuses to pay. Their reason for nonpayment is because they didn’t receive investor funding. And they didn’t get investor funding because ~ get this~ because, the agency didn’t meet their traffic goals. But wait… WHAT TRAFFIC GOALS? The agency was never given traffic goals yet their success and payment are tied to them?

[clickToTweet tweet="There’s no such thing as a bag agency client. Just a bad prospect or a bad process" quote="There’s no such thing as a bag agency client. Just a bad prospect or a bad process"]

Why You Need a Qualification Process

You might have a similar story. Sooner or later, every agency owner has at least one nightmare client story. In hindsight, usually you look back and realize the signs were always there... Agency owners have to understand they have the right and duty to screen prospective clients. It’s not a one-sided process. Agencies need to ask the right questions and really dig deep to understand if the client is the right fit for them, and not just the other way around.

Since Mike works with startups, he typically asks about the source of funds -- whether self-funded or investor-funded but rarely… hardly ever... will they give him a budget.

In most cases he doesn’t budget info until the second meeting, after he presents a proposal. Mike says typically, in the first meeting, prospects ask him to create a plan and they’ll “find” the budget... Sound familiar?

What Info Do You Need in the Initial Meeting?

I always advise my clients to think of N.B.A.T. before engaging in a new project conversation with a new prospect.

N- Need. Find out what the client’s desired goals are. What do they believe is the specific need in order to achieve the goal? What they think they need might not be what they actually do need. How does this goal tie into the company’s vision? And how will success be measured?

B- Budget. 99% of your prospects know their budget but rarely will they share it. They don’t understand it makes a huge difference in knowing whether you can help them reach their goals or not. Below are my 2 strategies to get the budget from clients who aren’t forthcoming with the information. And the 1% who don’t know the budget? Those are usually the really big clients who have the money to spend -- you’ll know who they are :)

A- Authority. Who’s involved in the decision-making? Make sure you’re working with that person or group of people. You don’t want to spin your wheel with people who don’t have the authority to give approvals or make decisions.

T- Timing. What is the timeframe for this project and how soon does the client expect results? Is the time frame realistic? Can you achieve the desired results in the period of time they’re allowing?

2 Ways To Get the Client’s Budget Every Time

In order to get the client’s budget I like to have a little fun… it depends on your personality as to which one of these strategies work best. You could even use:

  1. Jokester:  If a prospect tells you there is no budget, you can respond with a little sarcasm. Like, “No budget? That’s great! I love working with client’s who don’t have limits on what they can spend. Then we can do a bunch of testing and see what works!” Of course, there is a budget and they’ll soon end up giving you a ballpark of it. If not, you can try #2.

  2. Reverse Auctioneer:  Start with an obscenely high number and just keep dropping it until you land on a number they’re comfortable committing to. Say something like, “What’s the budget? $100,000? $50,000? $40,000?…” Just pause for a brief second between throwing out numbers until you can get them to lock in a range.

How to CYA Against Clients Who Are Slow Or No Pay

Mike says he’s going to binding arbitration to try and recoup the loss. I think he should chalk it up to a lesson learned. It’s just not worth investing his time and energy. Learn from it and spend that time building processing to make sure it can’t happen again. This will protect the agency from future potential issues and improve cash flow.

Get paid in advance.

Literally you should have the cash in hand before you start a project. Either 100% paid in full or, depending on the size of the project, at least 50% upfront. Your salesperson will probably want you to start as soon as there’s ink on the contract. Don’t do it! Cash first is the way to go.

Change payment terms.

A lot of agencies like to do 50% upfront and 50% on completion. That’s not the best idea because if the client drags out the project, you’re stuck. Instead, get the client’s credit card on file and let them know you’ll be billing on certain dates over the course of the project. Also, put language in your contract about a penalty for charge-backs (and of course, consult your attorney about your contract.)

Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster?

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Direct download: SAM_164___How_to_Handle_Nightmare_Clients_Who_Don_t_Pay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Looking for a new way to monetize your agency’s content marketing? Check out how you can use interactive content to personalize the user experience, engage with your prospects and gain trust by making the content more relevant. Learn what interactive content is all about and how you can use it to acquire new agency business.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • What is interactive content?
  • How can agencies use interactive content?
  • What types of interactive content works best for agencies?

Today’s guest is Randy Reyess, cofounder of Outgrow, a growth marketing platform that enables marketers to build interactive content that increase customer engagement. He’s on the show to share strategies on how you can create interactive content that captures more leads and helps convert them into clients.

What is Interactive Content?

You know those clever quizzes on Facebook that test your movie knowledge? Or calculators you find online to recommend what type of mortgage loan you need? That’s interactive content. It content that requires the participants' active engagement -- more than simply reading a blog post or watching a video. It helps the creator gather information about the user and move them along within the funnel.

How Can Agencies Use Interactive Content?

Randy says agencies should reflect on all the common questions their sales and support teams always seem to get. The best interactive content usually answers those types of questions. They are the questions that take a lot of explanation, rely on several variables and could not be easily explained in something as simple as a blog post. These are the types of things agencies can handle with a quiz or calculator.

[clickToTweet tweet="Everyone is unique but they have common criteria. Use interactive content to understand them quicker." quote="'Everyone is unique but they have common criteria. Use interactive content to understand them quicker.'"]

When you offer all your options to prospects it can be overwhelming and confusing. And when you confuse - you lose. Interactive content helps you build a solution and make the recommendation that best suits a prospect’s specific needs.

What Type of Interactive Content Works for Agencies?

Agencies and SaaS companies are loving interactive content for capturing leads and acquiring new clients. Here’s how they’re using them:

  • Calculators: ROI is huge for your prospects and clients. They want to see what kind of bang they’re going to get for their buck. Agencies can use ROI calculators to help clients determine where and how to spend their budgets. Calculators provide useful information and build authority by not only providing a result but also explaining it.
  • Quiz: Agency prospects often think they need one thing, but in reality actually need something completely different. A short quiz can help them (and you) understand their goals and determine how to meet them. It eliminates the confusion and guesswork while also keeping the focus on the client and their needs. At the conclusion of the quiz, you can make a recommendation on which product or service they need based on quiz results.

Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Interactive Content

  1. Not having a promotion strategy. Some marketers create calculators without any plan for getting it to it's users. Your interactive content can't generate leads if there's no plan for distributing the content.
  2. Not fully experimenting enough. If you want your content to be a lead generator it's important to test the effectiveness of the lead gen form. Run testing on having different numbers of fields on the form, as well as where, when and how much information you require from the user.
  3. Not understanding where the user is in the buyer's journey. Understand what type of person you're targeting and where they are in the funnel. Randy suggests starting with your end goal in mind and then determine your target and whether you want to be educational (calculator strategy) or entertaining (quiz strategy).

Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster?

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Direct download: Smart_Agency_Master_Class_Podcast_-_Outgrow_Co.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

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