How to use happy clients in your agency new business efforts

Hello, agency new business fan. Yes, Virginia, it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me. Yours truly as been juggling a bit. In the best of ways. Today’s post is about something that agencies really don’t leverage enough in their new business efforts: happy clients.

What a big, fat topic. To optimize your value, for now, let’s focus on just two areas: referrals and testimonials.

Referrals: nothing quite says “I love you” like a warm introduction.

Client-side personnel changes are the leading factor of agency change. Should you be looking for some stat or something to back that up, look elsewhere. Papa has no time and is not being paid for that right now. But you know that a new CMO is a new opportunity. Made better when you are referred.

So, how do you increase referrals?

A couple of thoughts:

  • Ask for them. Get over the idea that you are asking your wife to meet her hot girlfriend. You will, after all, be coming home to her. Buy her flowers. Or better yet, continue to exceed your client’s expectations to earn organic referrals.
  • Include your clients in your outbound new business prospecting efforts. Have a monthly newsletter? Throw your clients on the route list. You never know when they may forward it along.
  • Incentivize the activity. Can you donate some money to your client’s favorite charity for a few email names? Could you have a fun, on-agency-brand contest to promote the firm?
  • Leverage LinkedIN. This subject is worth a stand-alone post. But take a look at who your clients know. And work it. But make sure you have something of value for their contacts.
  • Looking for more on this? Check out Ian Brodie. Very bright, nice guy. He writes about getting referrals in an authentic, honest manner.
Testimonials: nothing quite says “I love you” like saying “I love you.”

Here’s another Thunderclap post that lists some smart and uncommon ways of using client testimonials. I read this and thought, damn, there’s some good stuff in there.

For now, what I’d like to suggest is that there’s a ton of value in having your clients on record extolling your virtues. A related tip: when asked for references, consider asking permission of your clients before offering up their names. And mentioning that you do this to your prospective, new client. This does four things:

  • Helps demonstrate how you protect and value your client relationships
  • Provides you a chance to take your current client’s happiness temperature
  • Gives you a chance to talk about your client’s business and potential needs (read: more business for you)
  • Tees up a potential discussion for referrals with current client (Just sayin’.)

This is absolutely something that is practiced at Thunderclap. Did this just earlier this week, in fact. And booked another coaching session!

Anywho, should you have any thoughts on how to leverage happy clients in your new business efforts, please feel free to share. Thanks!