How Well Do You Know Your Clients?


I was up in Santa Monica the other day meeting with an agency that somebody referred me to.  The referral was my foot in the door and my online presence was my validation.  I started that presence a decade ago.

I turned left onto Santa Monica Boulevard and Sheryl Crow came into my head as I was looking for a parking spot.  California songs always make me feel good as I started my journey in Toronto.  The songs lead me here.

I asked the agency principal how his agency won New Business.  Referrals of course came up and then internet leads.

That sounded good I thought.  Practice what you preach to clients about lead gen if you are a digital agency.

We chatted a little bit more.  I learned that many of his leads came all over the country and that resulted in his agency gaining business on the East Coast.  That sounded good.

I asked him about he connected with the prospects who became clients.  Mostly e mail he said.  Cell phone and sometimes Skype.

How often do meet with them in person?  Rarely.  Not so good I thought.

Do they turn into ongoing clients or just one time projects?  Mostly one time projects.  We don’t follow up with them that much after the project is completed and others come in.

A sea of one night stands.  You have the ecstasy of the win but not the intimacy of an ongoing relationship.

We talked a little bit more and then I asked him about how many online inquiries he closed.  He reflected for a bit and then said one out of ten probably.  Ten percent.  Now many online marketers may be happy with that conversion rate but creating great advertising and work for clients is not based on a transaction percentage but on relationships.

I remember meeting another young agency principal who has been very successful.  He tends to be very driven, methodical and analytics based.  About six months ago he shared how he got his agency won new business.  He said they had done a review of how successful their various outreach programs had been.  I waited for the Ta Rah and then it came.  They all came from referrals and personal relationships.

I recently regrouped with him and he was raving about how on line lead generation was working for him.  I could see that he had enjoyed the excitement of the one night stand.  The asp had bitten him.  We will meet again I thought.

I also tend to get a number of incoming leads from my blogs, my social media presence, my YouTube Videos and my site.  It may be anecdotal analytics but I have found that if I get 10 leads online I tend to close 10%.  What a surprise.

I also know from over a decade of living in the New Normal that if I meet four prospects in person I tend to close one out of four.  I have always believed that face time not Facebook leads to relationships.

No face time.  That’s the soft underbelly of social media and on line lead gen.

As the song said.  “You don’t know me.”

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:

Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

Like Blank and Associates on Facebook

Watch a video called Why Agency Principals Need to Get Out of the Game.

You may also enjoy these articles:

Creating an Agency Culture in the New Normal.

What Kind of Client are You?

The Most Powerful Word in Agency New Business is NO.


2 thoughts on “How Well Do You Know Your Clients?

  1. Elizabeth Dolan

    Hank, you nailed it on the head! face to face is the best way to find out about your prospect. The environment the prospect works in tells you what is important to them (ie. sports pics, family, interests). It can give you more of a connection with the prospect/client. You will never know a prospects/clients interest by email only.

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