Do you provide digital marketing services to business owners?
Things like, SEO, Google Adwords management, Facebook ads consulting, or web design?
If so, this post will be extremely beneficial for you, because it will outline the exact method I used to become the “go-to guy” for a handful of big agencies, allowing me to get leads and clients handed to me on a fairly consistent basis.
But first, a little background…
If you are like most consultants, you’ve probably done everything from cold calling, knocking on doors, to asking friends and family for referrals.
All those things are fine, and they work.
But when I focused heavily on building my client base, those were all things I didn’t enjoy doing.
In the midst of my search for better prospecting methods, I stumbled upon a strategy that I would eventually evolve into something profitable and powerful for my business.
The strategy was to offer my services at a heavily reduced rate or even free to potential clients. This way they could experience the level of service I was capable of providing, thus making them more likely to work with me in the future.
It didn’t quite go as planned though…
I went through a lot of tire kickers and businesses that had no intentions of working with me long term.
So I took the idea a step further…
After giving up on the idea of offering my services for free as a lead generation tool, I decided to try something completely different.
Something I wasn’t sure would work, but that had to be better than cold calling and knocking on doors.
So I took the same strategy I had been using, but began to apply it differently.
Rather than offering my services for free to potential clients, I began to approach other digital agencies about the possibility of partnering.
The process was simple:
- Email a bunch of different firms – video marketing agencies, web design firms, social media management companies, and more.
- Tell them that they offer some services I don’t and I may offer some services they don’t, and ask if they are interested in working together.
At the time, my focus was SEO, so I tried to focus on firms that didn’t offer SEO.
I hired a virtual assistant to email businesses all day who might be looking to partner.
As you can imagine, the response was pretty good, because these businesses were excited about a partner potentially sending them business.
At this point, the next step was to get them on the phone and have a conversation, discuss our businesses, and find areas where we differ.
But the kicker was this…
I would always tell them I was willing to offer them a sample of my work for free, since they are unfamiliar with me and my business.
This generally helped seal the deal, as it was risk free on their end.
This was better them offering potential clients free work, because that generally attracted the wrong type of prospects.
With this new method, once the other agency saw the type of work I did, they could then refer me to their client base, which was already made up of high quality clients!
And the cost of my “free” work to them was minimal – generally an inexpensive SEO boost on some keywords that weren’t competitive.
If you were doing this for Facebook, you could setup a campaign and spend $5-10 and show them how you can get quality clicks to their business.
Just demonstrating your knowledge makes them feel comfortable with who they are working with.
The results of this have been amazing.
I built great relationships with a few agencies, and they are happy to send me referrals for SEO and other services.
For example, I have two web design firms that don’t focus on SEO, so when their clients ask about SEO, they send them to me and it’s usually an easy sell.
They are ready to buy…
They are already a customer of the firm that referred them to me…
So it’s a win/win — these clients are literally served to me on a platter.
I get random emails or phone calls saying, “Hey, I have a doctor’s office that needs SEO….they wanna spend around $1000/month. Go ahead and send them a proposal and let’s get them started.”
It’s crazy what happens when you get the ball rolling.
And once you have a few firms to partner with like this, you will start getting consistent referrals.
And if I ever get a client that needs advanced web design work, I try and refer to them back as well.
But generally that step isn’t important…
Many times they don’t expect referrals in return, they are just happy to have a partner they can refer their clients to for services they don’t provide, because it prevents their clients from seeking out another agency to handle all of their needs.
Now of course not every one of these “partnerships” is going to be good, but if you talk to enough people, you WILL find some gems.
If you want to incorporate this in your own business, the process is simple. Follow this and I promise it will lead to some good conversations:
- Every day, try and email five other businesses you could potentially partner with. Let’s say you want to try and get Facebook clients that you will manage ads for. Every day you can Google things like, “web design firm” or “seo company” and find businesses that you can email. Go to their contact page or find an email address and simply send them a message saying you see they offer some services you don’t, and you’d like to discuss a partnership. Also mention that you realize they know nothing about you or your business, so you are willing to show them what you can do for free.
- Once you get some bites, hop on the phone or talk to them through email and have a good conversation. Figure out if they would be a good partner to work with and if they have the type of clients you’d like to work with. Make sure you ask them about their business so they feel the “win/win” of the situation.
- Offer the potential “partner” some results in advance. For example, if it’s a web design firm, you can easily setup a Facebook ad offering free website quotes and target small businesses. Just spend a few bucks and show them you can get leads.
- Once you do this, keep following up and wait for some referrals to come in :).