To improve your closing rate you must understand how Sortlist works for businesses and what the process is from the first contact point till your meeting with the client.
We imagine that you would like to close all the opportunities you have accepted from Sortlist; however, in order to succeed you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Why is the company using Sortlist?
- What was the customer experience of finding an agency like prior to interaction with you?
- How did the company find Sortlist?
- What is the process followed on Sortlist?
- How is your agency presented to the client through Sortlist?
1. Why is the company using Sortlist?
Brand managers, Project owners, CEOs and CMOs are using Sortlist because they are looking for ways to gain in productivity and ways to work with an agency that matches both their budget and their industry knowledge.
In general, companies do not have a purchasing department. They cannot afford to spend months in searching for the best marketing agency. Moreover, companies do not have sufficient knowledge in-house to assess the quality of their future agency, the budget they need to invest in their project, and the criteria they must use for their research.
The marketing industry is complex and continues to become much more complex with the digital disruption happening at all levels: devices, channels, socially, community empowerment, etc.
That is why we have created Sortlist.
We want to enable all organizations to access the marketing industry without any friction or costs and with better preparation.
2. What is the customer experience of finding an agency like prior to interaction with you?
Project owners who are looking for an agency must make use of their surroundings during a short time period to try to find ways to get the right agency for the job. They use their network, the Internet, social media, the press, conferences and events to get a view on what is going on in the industry.
How did the company find Sortlist?
Clients find us mainly through organic search results and word-of-mouth but also thanks to our efforts in all the above channels ;).
What is the process followed on Sortlist?
Firstly, the project owner sends his/her demand to our website. A Sortlist' account manager will directly talk with him/her and identify the project in order to form a briefing about the needs.
During the phone call, the Sortlist account manager assesses the budget and the maturity of the project. If it appears that the project owner does not fit our requirements, we redirect the project owner to other solutions.
Once the briefing is done, thanks to the Sortlist team, a matchmaker handpicks the best agencies that fit the briefing.
(Want to learn how we do the selection? coming soon...)
The agencies receive a notification for each project matching their agency profile.
The agencies can decide either to accept or decline the project. Only a maximum of 5 agencies will be able to get in touch with the client and have the opportunity to present themselves.
How is your agency presented to the client through Sortlist?
Once you are matched with the project owner, the Sortlist account manager of the project introduces you directly to him through the inbox on the website.
The project owner will take the time to read your introduction, look at your agency profile page, and if he/she is convinced, he/she will answer you directly.
However, at this point, nothing is finalized yet.
You will have to do A,B, & C:
A. Always present yourself and explain why you are the best agency for their project
B. Be sure to follow-up with the project owner in order to get your meeting.
C. Close if you do not receive an answer within 24 hours; don't hesitate to directly call the client.
If the project owner does not answer your first call, CALL BACK a second time.
Suggestion: if that doesn't work, write an e-mail saying you've been trying to reach him and list the few conversation points you want to discuss. The client will be better prepared and not feel over-run by a bunch of questions.
Only the persistent ones succeed!
According to a Dartnell Corp study, this is what happens during the prospection phase:
- 48% of sales reps give up after the 1st call
- 24% give up after the 2nd call
- 12% give up after the 3rd call
- 6% give up after the 4th call
- 10% give up after the 5th call
72% of sales reps give up before the 3rd call:
Persistence increases your chances to sign the project!
However, keep in mind that CEOs, CMOs and brand managers are a busy people - they might also take a holiday from time to time. Doing these follow-ups take time and energy but will increase the sustainability of your chances.
IMPORTANT: In order to get the phone number of the client, you MUST first send an introduction message.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Do not forget to complete your agency profile page on Sortlist. It is the first touch point with the client!
3. What is your core added value as an agency?
Before completing your agency profile page, make sure to understand why your current client or stakeholder wants to work with you. Why do they trust you, why do they like to work with you and what interests them the most to be with you? What differentiates you to the other agencies? Do you have a mission statement?
4. What is the company expecting from you as an agency?
The company is expecting to meet a talented team that can do amazing professional work for its business. If you don't feel comfortable enough with the project briefing and the challenges the company is facing, don't accept the project.
Project owners expect that you will advise, guide, and support them from the beginning of your relationship till the end.
Some client have never had the opportunity to work with agencies. In this case, don't hesitate to take the time to explain how everything works with an agency as well as what you intend to bring to their company.
You can go over how many meetings you plan to hold with the client, explain why your current and previous clients love to work with you, and what your true values are.
Furthermore, explain your current and previous procedure with your clients and why it works best. Share examples of a satisfied client. Then, explain to the client what they can expect from you next. Directly set up a meeting schedule with the client: when is he/she available? The earlier you start, the better you will be able to analyse his/her difficulties.
Project the client into this future collaboration with trust and confidence ;).
5. What can you do during the meeting to convince the company to work with you?
As Tom Hopkins always says, "If you can't close, you are like a football team that can’t sustain a drive long enough to score."
The art of closing the sale is all about the first meeting.
If you want to learn more from Tom Hopkins, check out the following video. The quality of the video is bad, but the content in it is golden ;) https://youtu.be/WWaRZwByyGo
" Some people feel that the art of closing starts at the end of the process, after whatever the process should be; introduction, presentation, giving information, demonstration, the proposal you made.
But in fact, the closing begins the moment when you meet someone, when you start speaking verbally, explaining verbally. You must understand that when you speak, you are the product; you are the person that creates the trust between you and the leads. Therefore, understand well that the client must accept you as the product they are buying."
The fact that you are the product can't be truer than in marketing. As an agency, you bring directly to the business your expertise, knowledge, and team to serve the client. It is the strength of your team that creates the added value the client is looking for.
Tom Hopkins gives some useful tips to increase your chances of winning during your first meeting:
1) Always have your closing material ready, such as:
Your agency profile on Sortlist completed, with previous works, recommendations of previous clients and endorsements.
Your credential deck and presentation adapted to the briefing.
2) Make sure everything you use is clean, sharp looking and precise.
On Sortlist, the agency profile is the first touch point, so please, do not neglect it!
3) Get your closing material out early.
That is what we always do in the inbox. We show the client your profile directly, so make sure to prepare it well!
4) Know your figures and calculations.
When talking about prices, make sure that you feel comfortable and confident.
5) Close with casual confidence; it has to be smooth- don't change your behavior.
Don't alter your behavior when showing the pricing and making your proposal. The client will notice.
6) Use the "pause button" during the conversation.
Let the client think, and do not hesitate to take pauses from time to time. You will get more information out of you client by doing so.
7) Check in on how your future client is feeling; e.g. how are you feeling about all this so far? :)
Give them time to think and ask them about their feelings.
6. How to make sure that you are doing a great follow-up in order to close the clients?
After the first meeting, the client may say that he/she needs some time to think things over. This could mean that he/she also intends to meet other agencies in order to gain different perspectives. It is crucial for you to stay on the ball. Write an e-mail a few hours after the meeting, thanking the client for their time.
Keep making follow-ups; nothing is done until signed ;).
PS: If after all this great work, there are still issues with the project owner, contact our Sortlist team. We will be happy to help :).