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Are you losing clients and talent to other agencies? Are you wondering what the secret recipe is to keeping happy clients and a happy team? Are you looking for that one thing to make both clients and talent want to stay? The loyalty you are seeking from your clients and team members is directly related to the value you place on them.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • How to build client trust
  • How to build employee trust and morale
  • 3 questions every agency owner needs to answer

I talked with Tom Johnson -- Partner, COO, and CFO of Southport Marketing, an experiential marketing agency based in California but with clients across the country. Tom and his two partners began the agency just as the 2008 financial crisis was coming down the pike. Since then, the partners have put a lot of sweat equity into the success of their venture. Tom is sharing the strategies he has used to maintain many of his original clients and team members all these years.

How to Build Client Trust

When asked what attracts clients such as Chevy dealers, Alaska Airlines, USC, and the Los Angeles Rams, Tom says his answer might seem a little cliche. "People come to us because of our customer service. Because we care about our clients and we want them to succeed. We hire people with a lot of passion for our clients and we have earned the right to say we provide very good customer service. We go the extra mile. We pick up the phone."

Tom believes customer service is often regarded these days as "old school." The big agencies often lose the personal touch they offered when they were new agencies. Everyone seems to place more importance on other facets of success beyond simply doing the best you can for your client. "The client is the one who is paying your bills," Tom says. "Agencies often forget that."

How to Build Employee Trust and Morale

You want agency team members who are passionate about your clients, and who -- ideally -- look forward to coming to work each day. Tom said his team members tend to stay for years because they know they are valued. Some of the ways Southport Marketing communicates significance to the team:

  • A diversified training model allowing the opportunity to grow in the agency as well as the industry.
  • An investment in training and development programs.
  • A decent pay rate that is competitive in the industry.
  • Other perks, such as annual retreats, Costco cards, and holiday parties.
  • An open-door policy for employees to provide feedback and share their innovative ideas.

3 Questions Every Agency Owner Needs to Answer

While valuing your clients and your talent seems simple, a lot of thought must be given to ensuring that you communicate that value to them through your actions and developing new ways to do that. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you proactive when dealing with clients or are you reactive? Tom suggests being a bit of both. Being proactive means hiring people who are able to put out high quality work on a short deadline. Quick turnaround is sometimes part of the agency business. Hiring people with that ability means you are better able to meet those short deadlines because you have anticipated them.
  2. Would you want a job at your agency? Look at the perks you offer your employees. If you were being offered a job for your agency, would those perks be enough to keep you from looking elsewhere? Would they make you feel valued as a new hire?
  3. Would you want to hire your agency to work for you? Just as you need to put yourself in your employees' shoes, also put yourself in the shoes of your client. What do you bring to the table that no other agency offers? Is your agency a fun, cool, and interactive place? Are you able to inspire client's trust by meeting their needs?

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