Dec 31, 2019
Bob Hutchins, Brad Ayres, and
Ken Ott talk about (the struggle) of getting new business in
episode #2 of Agency Exposed. They talk about their own pain points
within their businesses, tools they can’t live without when it
comes to new client acquisition, and maintaining balanced
relationships with clients as a young agency.
Top 3 Curtain Pulls in
- Referrals are always going to be the most
powerful customer acquisition tools- the Power of Word of
one client should make up too much of your overall revenue- work to
balance out this trend in the early years of your
- Long-term, deep business relationships will
ALWAYS be your best advocates.
Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he
ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on
Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad
agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the
world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency
world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that
knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on
Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of
Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team
for some of the world’s most
influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken
is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his
acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel
(not really). More on
[0:34] Bob on
Getting New Business
- “Reality of an agency owner is keeping enough
biz in pipeline to keep up with overhead first of all, to keep your
team busy, and ultimately to be profitable.”
[1:14] What are your specific pain
points? Other than salespeople, what are other tools and
methods you use to drum up business?
Metacake is constantly trying and testing new ways to get
- Ultimately “building some sort of relationship
at scale with people” where people associate you with expertise in
your field. Create authority in their minds when they think of
[3:32] Brad: At Anthem, the difficulty is
“Communicating to potential clients exactly what will benefit
services = more complexity when explaining what Anthem can do for
any given potential client.
[6:25] From high level, what is the
best way to get clients?
Metacake has 3 main channels: cold leads, partners, &
- Referrals are not good to rely on completely,
they are not repeatable, scalable, and consistent. Instead create a
sales ENGINE that can be maintained and kept up regularly, with a
combination of all 3.
Write a book!
market the heck out of it. This will create a built-in lead
mechanism thats perpetual long-term because someone is going to
pass that book on to somebody.
Take note of where your current or past clients found you- and
always look back at the clients we get and try to analyze where
they first came from, where they first heard of us- I always ask
them those questions… how they heard about us, what they thought
about us, how that perspective changed after working with
[14:18] Bob: Is there a tool in
your tool box that you absolutely cannot do without? A tool that
your business would be nothing without?
Word of Mouth.
bold enough to start asking those questions! 1st person referrals
are GOLD. *Hubspot mentioned, link?*
Highest quality lead sources are referrals.
- First you have to be really really good
at something and being specialized.
- Second, you have to be able to apply it to
client’s needs. Use word of mouth to show off that proof. Speak,
get on stage, market yourself and your knowledge.
Create content about your work.
releases about projects you’ve launched will let the industry know
what you’re doing. Those projects will be searchable online
[18:56] Content Creation:
How to do it, what types, how to
Planting seeds of content creation along the way is a great way to
sow seeds for the future.
- Sometimes it might feel like a press release
for a project is not worth it, but you may just be too close to the
content to recognize the value.
releases aren’t really to get into the news, but to be juice for
the Google algorithm. Do this often and the likelihood of someone
coming across your content increases.
more written articles that are being published on LinkedIn and
other channels to drive traffic further. Articles aren’t
necessarily about the work you’re doing, but maybe even about your
client’s industry to draw new perspectives.
- Getting a “seat at the table” in an industry
that you specialize in gets you recognition and helps you promote
yourself as a thought leader.
[25:09] Ken: Let’s talk RFP’s.
(Requests for Proposal) Do you do these things and is it worth
RFP’s come by word of mouth for Anthem, and usually we only take
to compare cost/time expense vs reward/returns from that
RFP model is at one end of spectrum, versus charging for a
will create an RFP and it will cost you. Value to you is that even
if you don’t hire us, you can use our detailed plan to do it all
[29:25] Ken: My
#1 goal is financial independence.
a business standpoint that means… having operating capital in the
bank at any given time. We don’t want any 1 client to be so big
that they dictate everything we do…so that we can make healthy
[30:40] Bob: As a young agency, how
do you maintain healthy boundaries with clients without putting 1
above the others because they are paying your
“No 1 client can be more than 10 percent of our
this does happen, it’s a challenge to intentionally increase
revenue everywhere else and be aware of not allowing 1 client to
dominate the work of every other.
The way many agencies pop up:
freelancers start agencies with a big client that they use to
create a business around. Adding new clients quickly becomes
necessary, so they’re not in a compromised position if that big
client becomes unhappy.
[38:00] What tool/s do you use to aid
Making your business your #1 client and changing your mindset
around internal marketing is necessary to grow your business and
get the clients that you want.
“Any business needs to grow its business and grow it’s brand.”
Discusses blocking out time to work on internal marketing plans and
building the business.
Uses Calendly to book meetings with clients or co-workers. Allows
people to set up appointments based on your free time and schedules
time to invest in biz dev.
#1: “Spend more time with your current/existing clients- take them
to lunch and continuously educate them. Create case studies about
other clients doing different things.”
“Send existing clients a newsletter to let them know what we’re
doing for other clients.” Discusses letting clients know that
you’re experts in other services, let them know what you’re up to
so that they don’t go somewhere else for a service that you
[52:58] Ken on
the Real Value of an Experienced Agency:
- “Being able to tell clients ‘We know this works
this way because we’ve done it here and here… maybe think about
doing it this way?”
INTENTIONAL about flipping typical perspective that agencies only
have 1 client and should be afraid to let clients know about
power of LinkedIn
“The percent of the population that is an ideal client… is
extremely small. So finding those pockets of people… on these
consumer-based social network would take forever… LinkedIn is a
much smaller pool that’s much more specialized.”
- Metacake FB strategy is brand building and
brand recognition. Content there is created for those who are
interested in starting their own business.
What is your #1 thing for generating new clients
Build good relationships in person and online. Long-term and Deep
relationships will be your biggest advocates.
“Serve someone well and if they change jobs or move, the odds of
them bringing you into new biz is high.”
“Important but not urgent things that will make you successful
include truly finding your voice and what you’re good at, then
creating content through that, for the sake of telling the world
your perspective on things… in terms of tactics, maintaining our
high-quality partner network is 100% our focus… peers that always
generate high-quality leads.”