It is…by far the most challenging aspect of inbound marketing—pricing inbound engagements and explaining to your clients and prospective clients why they need to consider investing $10,000 to $20,000 a month if they want to see real results in a reasonable time frame.
Challenging or not, you have to be able to do it if you want to grow your agency and get your clients results.
One of the best ways to start this conversation is to connect the investment requirements directly to their business goals.
Make It About Them
“You mentioned that you wanted to grow your business from $10 million in sales to $15 million in sales over the next two years. To generate an incremental $5 million in revenue means you’re going to need to go from 1,000 visitors a month to 10,000 visitors a month and from 4 leads a month to 200 leads a month. Are you prepared to invest to drive those outcomes?”
Make It Value Oriented
“What are your plans to drive up these numbers? How much would it be worth to you and your company if you had a repeatable, predictable and scalable Marketing Machine that would deliver200 leads a month every month?”
Make them put a value on it. If they value marketing and what you can do for them, the number will far exceed anything you’d ever consider charging them for a 12 to 24 month program. Having this kind of conversation with a client is mandatory.
Tell Them The Truth
You have to be expert at moving the conversation away from inbound marketing agency vendor—build me a website, blog for us, write us an eBook and towards inbound marketing agency strategic partner. This is where you go from $3,000 a month retainers to $14,000 a month retainers. Strategic partner firms get big retainers. Vendors get small retainers.
These types of conversations also give you the chance to set the proper expectations for the timing of the inbound marketing program performance. They’re not going to get 200 leads in the first month, or the second month or the sixth month. It’s going to take well into the second year to get the program up to a level like that and they should be bought in upfront.
The Difference Between The $3,000 and The $10,000 Engagement
It’s important that you understand the difference between a smaller and a larger inbound engagement but it’s even more important that your prospects understand. Inbound works and you can make it work for $3,000 a month if you have a long, long runway around expected results. But the reality of our world is very few clients have the patience to let a small retainer engagement gain traction.
Worse yet, the type of client who can ONLY afford the smaller engagement can’t afford it for two years before they see significant traction. So while they might only want to invest $3,000 a month, you have to explain to them what that means in terms of timing and results.
Having spent years delivering $3,000/month, $5,000/month and $10,000/month engagements we know what the different levels of investment mean in terms of timing and results. If clients want measurable results in the six month time frame then they need to be ready to invest $10,000 a month for the first six months.
This allows you the ability to create the strategy necessary, do the appropriate planning, build them a website that converts, create enough content to start the “get found” process and then have enough compelling content to convert those visitors into leads. This level of investment also gives you the ability to optimize the engagement fast enough to push up those results more aggressively in the second half of the year. Again, lower levels limit a client’s own results.
Getting Good At Challenging Conversations
This is why you need to be expert at explaining, illustrating and articulating this to all your prospects. In fact, you owe it to them. Skipping this conversation or failing to tell them the connection between investment and results is doing them a disservice and potentially setting you up for an even more difficult conversation later—when they are disappointed with the results.
It might seem easier to get the smaller engagement, but keeping them and delivering results is going to be much more difficult.
Start Today Tip – This conversation takes practice to be effective. Start practicing. Honestly, I’m not sure it matters what the prospect says while you’re practicing. If they say “thanks for telling us, but we want a small engagement anyway,” that’s fine because you tried to set their expectations. If they change their thinking and invest more aggressively, that’s what you wanted and that’s what you need, so mission accomplished. Either way, you’re practicing, you’re giving them the right advice and if it works out, you’re getting what you wanted, higher and more profitable inbound engagements.
Agencies 2 Inbound – Helping you go ALL IN ON Inbound!