Are you trying to find a way in the door to compete for brand dollars? As you've probably learned, you have plenty of company.
Few digital startups have the relationships in place to generate instant clients from major brands or agencies. It's a Catch-22 situation because these business owners need to demonstrate examples and case studies to get in the door, but they can’t generate highly relevant examples and case studies without first getting in the door.
Here are five tips to help open the door and hopefully close
some early stage deals.
1. Try a partner approach.
Different brands and agencies have
different pain points. Research and network to find the brands that are suffering
heavily from issues that your product can solve. Then, reach out to them and tell
them you are currently screening for the right partner on a piece of technology
that solves these issues and you’d love to briefly discuss the potential to
work together on it. Be transparent and open, while maintaining a compelling
A successful partnership like this
generates ‘buy-in’ with the technology and you could find your solution shared
among other members of the agency or brand team as a result of a successful
initial test run.
2. Offer value in almost every exchange.
When you need to communicate with
agency or brand contacts, do your best to offer a link to an article or
resource that they would find informative and relevant to their day-to-day
challenges and objectives. Be sure to include a brief
statement about the content of the link and why you believe it’s something they
would appreciate. This conditions your contacts to
view you as a helpful part of their day and as a great resource. Your emails
may be opened more often.
3. Avoid dry runs.
You should approach every
potential target with the objective of disqualifying them. Too often, effort is
wasted with parties that are not in the proper business cycle or have other
critical conflicts that immediately disqualify them as a potential client. Be
reasonably objective and make sure all signs point to a possible fit. Avoiding dry runs with these
candidates helps you stay focused on the places were your efforts could produce
4. Lead your presentation with value, not
Let me guess - after your title
slide is your agenda, followed by the company credentials and background. There
is a much better way to compose your presentation. Following your title slide, and
yes – before the agenda, feature a single slide showing results. When the
presentation begins, tell your audience you respect their time and want to get
right to the point to demonstrate exactly why this meeting matters.
When you switch to the second
slide, tell them that you like to lead with results, and here they are. As
they look at the slide, tell them that these are the results you produce for
clients. Obviously, depending on your offering
you may have to be creative with the visuals and stats on this slide. But, hey,
if you can’t do this concisely you have a bigger problem than creativity and
should work on redefining your value proposition.
I’ve seen this approach energize
the room and make people put down their smartphones.
Regarding any background
information on your company – I recommend 10-20 seconds. Seriously. What you
should do is briefly state two or three key points and acknowledge that you
have a ‘leave-behind’ one-sheeter that provides all the details they need to
validate your background.
What you’ve just done is wake them
up with results, show them respect for their time and cleverly managed to
assure them that they will get all the info they need to validate you at their
leisure. Not a bad start for slide two.
5. Assume a 30-minute window.
If you are asking for more than 30
minutes, you are shrinking opportunities. In today’s world 30 minutes is about
the maximum mental space most busy professionals can stomach when being asked
to discuss something new, and possibly irrelevant to their work.
If your presentation is longer
than 20 minutes – it’s too long. Shoot for 10-20 minutes and leave yourself
time for questions and next steps at the end of the presentation. During the
presentation, do your best to keep the discussion open. Engage your audiences
with specific questions that show you’ve done your research on them, and get
them to participate. This keeps them attentive and active.
Another great benefit to the short
presentation is focus. If your platform or service offers multiple solutions,
make sure you are aware of exactly which solutions match the client’s structure
and scenario – don’t confuse them with a catalogue of overwhelming options to
choose from. When you do, you open the door for the client to delay next steps.
The barrage of options may confuse them, or they could just use the indecision
as a stall tactic in the closing process.
Integrate some of these tips into your current efforts. If
you’ve got the right product or service that genuinely performs, this should
help improve the results you are getting for your time and effort.
About the Author: Jason Small is a digital marketer with more than 10 years of digital experience working with 20-plus brands via various agency roles. Small's expertise includes broad digital strategy, social media strategy, SEO, website design and development. He has led teams to produce results for brands online such as Peoples' Choice Awards, ChapStick, Centrum, Dial, Honeywell, Renuzit, Castrol, Sears, Hertz, CoverGirl, John Deere, Advil, ThermaCare and more.