We’re all familiar with the fact that it can cost between four to 10 times more to acquire a customer than it does to retain one. So why do most growing agencies looking for a boost in revenue tend to hit the ground running for new clients?
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re trying to diversify your existing customer base or you’ve recently cornered a niche market, then by all means, it’s probably a good idea to find new clients.
But most agencies don’t fall into these two categories (not yet at least). Therefore, finding new clients to add to the portfolio isn’t exactly the best strategy.
For starters, the more new clients you onboard, the less attention you’ll have for your existing customers—unless you’re willing to add more personnel, which will inevitably drive up your costs. And if you can’t afford to hire more staff, you’ll be forced to stack the extra work onto your existing workload, which may affect the quality of what you’re producing or creating.
Either option presents a risky situation for your agency.
If you increase your staff to alleviate the extra work and one of your clients drops, can you afford to keep them employed going forward? Probably not.
And if your quality starts to suffer due to adding more projects to an already full plate, you can bet that your existing customers won’t stick around for much longer, leaving your agency in a worse position than where it started.
Despite the big, dark cloud I’ve painted, there is a silver lining: you have the power to increase your revenues right in front of you. Look no further than your existing customer base.
Now hang on a second, I’m not suggesting that you jack up your rates out of nowhere and scare off your customers. But I am suggesting that you use your existing customer base to increase your revenues instead of finding new clients to fill the gaps.
After all, you’ve already established a relationship with your current clients, they value your services enough to pay for them, and you probably have a handle on their business goals, too.
So why not turn them into bigger clients? If you’re unsure of how to make this happen, don’t worry; I’ll explain exactly how to do this in today’s article.
Re-Evaluate Your Existing Customers
For the most part, clients usually come to you with the hope that you’ll be able to solve a specific problem they have. But that doesn’t mean you’re limited to only solving that problem. If you dig a little deeper, you may uncover additional areas of your client’s business that could also use your help and expertise.
Spend some time with your team re-evaluating your existing customer base. Look at your client's business goals with a fresh set of eyes and see if you can deliver more results than what they originally asked for. This may require a team brainstorming session to discuss what else you can offer.
Let’s take a new logo request as an example. As you work through your kickoff call, you uncover that the goal of this project is to increase sales. Now, as the expert, you know that no matter how amazing your designers are, no logo is going to automatically increase sales.
Instead, your client may need to update pages like their shopping cart so it’s more user friendly, or they may need to change their content so users know exactly what to do next. Sure, adding a new logo will help build a better brand image, but it won’t help much with sales.
The trick is, most customers can’t make this connection on their own. So, by understanding your client’s business goals, you’ll be better equipped to upsell them products and services down the line. Using our example, we already have two services to offer our client who only initially commissioned a logo.
During your brainstorming session, ask your team if there’s anything else you could be doing for your clients to get them closer to achieving their goals. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind and keep this list handy for future reference.
Spend Time Building Your Existing Relationships
Before you can upsell your clients, you’ll need to put in the work beforehand to build trust and authority.
So if they come to you with a logo request, don’t immediately upsell them on a much larger (and more costly) project right off the bat.
Instead, let them know that you’d be happy to help with their logo, but you’d like to discuss additional options that fall in line with their business goals once the project is finished. You can even briefly mention a few of the ideas you have in mind.
Don’t spill all the beans yet—it’s important that you save your ideas for a new proposal and a new contract, otherwise your client may feel pressured to spend more, or worse, your scope of work will get messy.
Once you’ve mentioned these ideas, it’s time to move on. Yep, you heard me. Move on.
Before your client will sign off on any additional work, you’ll have to prove yourself. And the only way to do this effectively is by providing exceptional work.
As you handle their original request, keep the communication strong and don’t miss any deadlines (that should be a no-brainer of course). Whenever you send updates (which should be frequently), it’s also a good idea to let your clients know your reasoning behind certain changes, especially if it aligns with their goals.
So if you added X because you knew it would help drive sales, don’t keep this proactive decision to yourself; make sure your client knows about the work you did to help them. This will reaffirm that you’re the expert here.
Once your project is heading towards completion, visit with your customers to give them an update. This is also the perfect time to briefly mention where you see the business relationship going from here (i.e. additional work).
Explain How Your Team Can Help Using Past Results
Before your project officially ends, schedule time with your client to present the completion of the project. This is when you’ll show off the awesome quality of work that your agency provides, which will make your client happy to discuss how you’ll deliver results based on your new ideas moving forward.
Come prepared to this meeting with a few ideas to mention (two or three at most) and be sure to explain how these align with your client’s business goals.
Now, this is not a meeting where you should be pressuring them into closing a deal, rather, you’re simply showing them what else you can do for them. If they show any interest in these services (which they should), then—and only then—should you plan to discuss these options further.
Although it may seem efficient to knock this all out in one meeting, if your clients are too focused on getting the initial project done first, they may not give their full attention to your new ideas.
Plus, lumping this all into one meeting can get exhausting. Just drop your ideas to see which ones they’re interested in and then start doing your homework to prepare for another meeting where you’ll discuss the new work.
Pay attention to any hesitations your clients seem to have when you mention these new ideas so that you can plan accordingly. You’ll be better equipped to handle objections, and you can tailor your pitch to meet their specific goals and obstacles.
As you can see, up-selling your existing clients is no walk in the park, but it will be worth the effort when you don’t need to constantly add new customers.
Focus your agency’s attention on fostering strong relationships with your existing clients and providing them with exceptional work. Brainstorm with your team down the line to determine which clients you can actually grow and then create a list of additional services you can execute in order to get them closer to meeting their goals.
Present this list to them and repeat this cycle as early and often as possible. The more proactive solutions you can provide your clients, the more likely they’ll add on the additional work. The key is keeping their specific business goals in mind, communicating often, and delivering results that they can’t find anywhere else. Do all of this and you’ll be in stellar shape.