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Today, I’m talking with Andrew Dymski of DoInbound, who shares how to build an agency sales system.

Andrew’s company provides the software, processes, and training to build the agency you love. He also ran an agency himself and hosts the Inbound Agency Journey podcast, which is about to hit 100 episodes, so you could say he knows his stuff. In our chat today he holds nothing back.

In this interview, Andrew shares his early struggles with the sales at his agency and lays out the 5-step process he developed to help turn things around and close more deals.

Without a defined sales process, an agency can’t come close to reaching its potential, and the founder will most likely be under constant stress trying to juggle everything that’s going on. If that sounds a bit like your agency, then this is the episode for you.

At the end of the interview, Andrew shares the biggest giveaway we’ve ever had on the show, so you don’t want to miss this.

Without further ado, here’s Andrew Dymski of DoInbound.

Want to read the interview? Click here to grab the transcript.

5 Stages of the Sale

1. Prospecting

Andrew, like a lot of really innovative agency owners out there, stresses the importance of finding your niche. The more focused you are in choosing a niche, the easier it is to create really fantastic content that speaks to your audience.

Instead of choosing a shotgun approach, try a laser focus, drilling down as far as you can and really building expertise in one area so you can make sure that what you create will attract more leads to your business by saying what they want to hear.

2. Connect

Andrew says that the initial discovery process is a lot like being a psychiatrist. At first, you’re not looking to diagnose any problems or prescribe any solutions. During your early client interactions, you are entirely looking to understand what the client wants and needs.

You need to gather information. What are their goals? What are their challenges? What are the trying to achieve? This approach won’t just make your job easier by giving you the information you need to help your client. It will also set you apart from other agencies.

Your clients will see that you don’t need flashy gimmicks to stand out–instead, you are just really listening to them and able to speak to what they need individually, not whatever the hot new trend is.

3. Qualifying

Andrew’s next step is less about the client and more about you deciding what’s best for your business. The beauty of Andrew’s process is that you can build really great client relationships without getting overly involved.

After the initial discovery process, you might realize that this client is not a good fit for your agency for one reason or another, and you can back away without hard feelings and without investing too much effort.

But how do you decide when it’s time to part ways with a client? Andrew’s first piece of advice is to think about who you’re talking to at the company. Is it the president or founder? That might seem great at first. Who else knows their company better, after all?

And who else can get things done and hire you without having to go through a million other people first? But the shine wears off pretty fast once that important person gets swamped with other work. Pretty soon you’ll be chasing after them for information, which is not a good client-agency relationship.

.@AndrewJDymski explains why sometimes it's best to go against your instincts and say no to a new client. Click To Tweet

If the only person you have to talk to is someone really high on the food chain, the client might just be too small to work with right now, and your best option might be to walk away.

The second factor Andrew points out to keep an eye on is if the company has already spent money on marketing. If the client has a budget for SEO or trade shows or that fun stuff, then they can just divert some of it to pay you.

But if you are their first excursion into outside marketing, that means they have to carve something out of their profits to pay you. This is another sign that the client is too small to work with right now. Maybe in the future they’ll be a great relationship, but at present, it’s probably best to walk away.

These suggestions are not because it’s not worth your time to work with a small company. But you as an agency owner want to make sure you’re always aiming higher and securing bigger clients. This is how you separate the big fish from the tadpoles.

4. The Solution

So you’ve found a client and decided whether they’re worth your time. You’ve already done a lot of work. But now you’ve got the real hard part in front of you: building a path forward for your client.

Andrew emphasizes the importance of having a road map, which he calls a client journey. Know the steps you are going to take your client through, and explain how each one will benefit the client. Be sure to point out where you are at each point and go through the costs and the intended benefits so that the client never feels lost or confused.

If you as an agency owner can standardize this process, it saves both you and your client work. You don’t have to waste time figuring out where to go next, and your client doesn’t have to worry about whether or not you’ve got this under control.

This might seem like a daunting idea. How are you supposed to create a process? Andrew encourages business owners to imagine their ideal client relationship as clearly as possible and write down the steps you think of. Then make that your process and put every client through it.

As you work with real people, you’ll see where you can optimize and change things to continue improving. But even just the bare bones of a plan will set you head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the agencies out there.

5. The Decision

Now you’re at the final step in the process: finalizing the relationship with the client and making it official. This is the most crucial, but it’s also often the most difficult for agency owners, who have to wait for the clients to respond with one last yes to get started on the project.

Andrew urges agency owners to work yes into every step of the process instead. Getting a lot of small yeses along the way is a lot easier than waiting for one big yes at the end. Even when you’re just pitching your process to people, stop and ask them their opinion, get them to agree with you.

Prime them to say yes at the end. And don’t hesitate to get a verbal yes out of them before you finish the discovery session. Tell them what their contract will look like—you pay this much for these services, and we’ll help you with all the things we talked about.

Want to close more deals? @AndrewJDymski explains how to prime your clients to say yes. Click To Tweet

Get them to say yes over the phone, and then all you have to do is send them an email reminder with the contract. Don’t let them go without a commitment.



Andy Baldacci: Andrew, thanks so much for coming on the show today.


Andrew Dymski: Hey, my pleasure Andy. So excited to be here.


Andy Baldacci: Yeah, I’m really excited to talk about this because today we’re going to dive into building an agency sales system, which is a super important topic and I know it’s something that a lot of agency owners out there are struggling with. For your background, before you launched DoInbound, you and your partner Gray were working with the inbound agency you guys founded GuavaBox. What was going on that made you realize you need to change the way you were handling sales?



Andrew Dymski:















So much. It was really an overwhelming experience to be honest. GuavaBox was started from our college dorm room, Gray and I and two other co-founders Ryan and Brandon we’re all in school. Gray and I were in our senior year and we knew that we wanted to keep working together after college but we weren’t really sure what that was going to look like. We were kind of just kicking around ideas. We said, “Hey, like Gray you’re pretty good at website design, Andrew you’ve got this like social media thing which is up and coming back in 2011. You’ve got this thing. You’ve got a little bit of experience there. Let’s try taking this out and seeing if businesses need help.” That was our initial plan and we didn’t have any sales processes at all. We didn’t even really have a good handle on the products that we were selling. We really struggled in those first couple months, the first year to sell basic website design projects. The initial pain that we had was really undervaluing ourselves and kind of not having the confidence to price ourselves to the value that we were offering our clients.


Andy Baldacci: Right.


Andrew Dymski: Now I hear that regardless of the industry, so many entrepreneurs kind of have that imposter syndrome when they first get started. Am I really worth this much? So many websites we pitched for like 9.95 and a 1200 dollar website, I swear took Gray fifteen rounds of edits because I was-


Andy Baldacci: Yep.


Andrew Dymski:


The point person running point with the client and he was on the backend doing the edits. It was horrible. We knew we had a problem, but we had no idea what the solution was going to be. That’s when we stumbled across HubSpot and their partner program. That was a huge light bulb for us because they came into this idea of like, “Oh, you go sell retainers.” Retainers, first of all, it’s like sunshine and rainbows, your life will never be the same. Little did we know, it’s like a work between where I am today and the sunshine and the rainbows. The sunshine and the rainbows are always on the horizon. I never actually get there.


Andy Baldacci: For sure.



Andrew Dymski:









They gave us a sales process, outlined basically the same way that they sold the HubSpot software and very defined phases where you bring someone through and you connect with them, you discover their problem, you kind of present your solution, you walk them though these different stages. That was a light bulb turning on for us because we’d never taken the time to step out of our business and actually kind of assess it with a critical eye, say, “Well, where are we trying to take these people that we’re selling?” We were so young and had no clients. We just wanted the signed check to be honest with you.


Andy Baldacci: Right.


Andrew Dymski:







Whatever it was, we’d figure that out once we got into implementation. The first year was kind of that just stubbing our toes, sorting around, when we jumped into HubSpot and started drinking their Koolaid, there was another learning curve there because we were so focused on selling, we didn’t know how to service. After our first few clients, we’d gotten them sold on 12-month retainers. We had three clients on 12-month retainers, but we hadn’t taken the time at that point to step back and look at how we were servicing them and the deliverables that they were getting.


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski: That led to a whole nother array of issues right there, but that’s kind of our background story, how sales process has really always been a pain, just different phases. We would discover one thing, then realize we were missing something else and it wasn’t until we discovered this idea of discovery projects that things really started to open up for us.


Andy Baldacci:



I know, over time, over the years since you kind of had those first few stumbles into HubSpot and their processes, you figure things out a bit on your own. I know you’ve refined that sales system to where it is at today-


Andrew Dymski: Yes.


Andy Baldacci: And you help other agencies with that, so can you give just sort of a walk through of the sales system that you’ve built?


Andrew Dymski:





Yeah, definitely. The main difference here is break big things down into smaller pieces. Through the HubSpot model they’re trying to get you to sell a 12-month retainer. This line we just changed a little bit recently, but the idea is that you get someone to work with you over the long term, you create regular consistent recurring revenue for the agency and that’s great, but what is the challenge there from the sales side, is how do I, in a series of three or four GoToMeeting calls or, if I’m lucky, in person meetings, convince someone who I’ve never worked with-


Andy Baldacci: Right.


Andrew Dymski: That I’m worth shelling out 120,000 dollars. That’s a big commitment.


Andy Baldacci: Oh yes.


Andrew Dymski:









If you’re going to marry someone, you go on a few dates first, then you get engaged, then there’s more time, then you tie the knot. We wanted to take that same principle and apply it to our agency sales system. What we did is we said, “How do we take all of the possible objections off the table for a prospect?” What we discovered is if we really want to kind of show them the value of inbound, we have to have a discovery session with them, a workshop with them, working with them getting to know the company, getting to know the strategic vision of where they’re trying to go, do all these sorts of things. That would be great as the first session of a retainer, but we weren’t getting there. We decided to just peel that first strategy out of the process and sell it as a standalone. That became now, the objective of our sales process. It was no longer to get them to a point where-


Andy Baldacci: I see.


Andrew Dymski:











They’re signing up to a long term commitment. We’ve now put something that’s bite sized right in front of them and we started selling these for 2,000 dollars, now we’re selling them for 10,000 dollars and up from that now. The idea is you take something small and bite sized, that’s a low commitment offer for your client, you put that out there early, now that becomes the goal of your sales process. There’s a lot you can do leading up to that, but just that one nugget alone that we’re going to peel the strategy portion out, it’s a four to six week process where there’s a discovery session is one core component of it, talking and identifying with the personas that we’re trying to target or trying to reach through this marketing plan, that’s another component. Then actually building out a three-month content plan along with a segmented inbound funnel to kind of nurture people down the funnel once they’ve converted, that’s now what we lead in when we sell. Whether it’s a web design project, an ongoing inbound agreement, all of it starts with the game plan and by breaking it down into a smaller easier to consume session, the client is a lot more inclined to jump in. We’ve seen a 100 percent upsell rate from that first discovery into some sort of continuing relationship, whether it jumps into our retainer or they move into another three-month agreement to just-



Andy Baldacci:


Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski: Configure the automation and get their content created, stuff like that. It’s always leading to more, but if you kind of reduce the commitment up front, that was huge for us.


Andy Baldacci:











Yeah. I have a few other episodes, I talk with Ben Lee from Neon Roots and Blair Enns from Win Without Pitching and the importance of road mapping can’t be overstated because doing this type of discovery, doing this type of upfront road mapping is so important because one, you can’t prescribe a solution without really getting in there and understanding what your client is doing right now. It’s just not possible and while you’re going to be able to feel them a little bit in the early stages before you put out your proposal, you’re still just not in a place where you can kind of see deeply into their business and understand exactly what they need. Having this early form of deeper discovery lets you get into the business and really customize what you are going to ultimately offer them because you’re working in the weeds. Also, like you said, it’s a smaller project, you’re not asking someone to sign a six figure check over the next year-


Andrew Dymski: Exactly.


Andy Baldacci:






You’re asking for a portion of that. Not only do they get to work with you and see what it’s like to work with you, but they also understand how you think. It builds trust so that when it does come time, when that first initial project wraps up and it comes time for the next stage, they’re going to be so much more likely to want to take that step with you. If you are interested in hearing about those, definitely check out those other episodes with Ben Lee and Blair Enns. For this one I wanted dial it back a little bit, Andrew, and talk about what goes into selling that actual discovery session, that road map.


Andrew Dymski: Yeah.


Andy Baldacci: What are the phases that you work through with the prospects to get them to the point where they are still ready to buy that, because while it is a smaller engagement, it’s still not a tiny purchase. It’s not like a kind of, one-off, don’t even think about it kind of purchase-


Andrew Dymski: Yeah.


Andy Baldacci: It still is a commitment.



Andrew Dymski:


Yeah, they’re not pulling out their credit card and buying while they’re on the phone with you for the first time.


Andy Baldacci: Right.


Andrew Dymski:






Unless you’re just that awesome at convincing people to buy. The process, it always should start with where we try to take people, begin with the end in mind. Once you have that picture in place of, “Okay, we want to get them into a discovery session.” The next step is, “Okay, what’s the best fit for a session like this?” Identifying the decision maker who can kind of get you there, that’s going to define the type of prospect that you want to work with. Putting that ideal fit prospect in place and just knowing, “Do I need to talk to the president of the organization? Am I okay talking to the head of marketing in kind of the class of client that I’m going after, is it the president who makes this decision or is it the CMO who would make the decision out of the marketing budget?” That’s a really important thing to know as you do your-


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski:


Prospecting and you start down that road. Another important thing to think about is what type of a niche are we going after as an agency. The more focused you are in terms of the type of clients you serve, the easier it’s going to be to jumpstart your agency sales system, because agency sales systems have two pipes that come into the pipeline. Number one is essentially your outbound lead, number two are your inbound leads.


Andy Baldacci: Okay.


Andrew Dymski:




It’s a lot easier to get traction with inbound and content marketing if you’re targeting a narrow group of people. It’s a laser strategy, it’s not a shot gun approach. That’s one of the things that we walk people through during our discovery session with our clients, is like it might sound cool to be the company for everybody, but if you’re the company for everybody, you’re also the company for nobody.


Andy Baldacci: Exactly.


Andrew Dymski:





If you’re the agency for everyone, you’re the agency for no one. Try to find a way to narrow your focus down so that you can become a bigger fish in a smaller pond, instead of a minnow in the ocean. That transforms the way you think about your sales process. Now instead of any company being an ideal fit, you can go to LinkedIn and you can drill down on the types of companies that would be an ideal fits. You can even make a list of a hundred companies that you would want to work with and do cold outreach to those people. That’s a great way to drop leads into your funnel. That’s going to- you need your inbound content side to fuel that.


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski: When it comes to creating content as an agency, which every agency should be practitioners of marketing with your inbound video, whatever it is, you’ve got to be putting stuff out there, eating your own dog food-


Andy Baldacci: Yeah.



Andrew Dymski:


So that when prospects come to your site, first of all, they’re drawn to your site by the content that you put out there. It pulls them back to your content hub. Second, they see, “Wow, these guys do know what they’re doing.”


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski:












I can see it in action right here every single day. You create your content towards your niche, then when you want to go outbound prospect into that niche, you have contextual content to send them. You can send them blog posts and stories that answer questions that only you would know because you spend so much time in an industry versus someone who’s just the PR agency for anybody. That’s the big step. That kind of puts people into the beginning of the sales process and brings them in there. There’s two ways your sales process can work then. Either you’re reaching out to someone as a sales member at the agency, there you want to, from your sales process standpoint, you want to have a sequence of emails set up, that this is your cold outreach again, but you want to lead with value. You can only do this when you select that niche and you know who you’re talking to because it’s at that point, at that intersection, where you’re sharing content that’s going to resonate with them and say, “Holy crap. You’re reading my mind.” That’s the zone we want to be in.


Andy Baldacci: Yeah. And you can’t get into that zone if you are a generalist-


Andrew Dymski: Amen.


Andy Baldacci: If you work with anybody and everybody on anything, you’re not going to be able to get any potential prospects to have that light bulb moment where they’re like, “Wow, these people get me.”


Andrew Dymski:









Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exactly. It only comes when you put your laser focus on your ideal fit customer and you get to know them really well. You’re actually passionate about solving their problems. When you get to that state, everything changes. You’re going to have so much more [inaudible 00:13:12] for content now because you’re specific. You don’t need to worry about writing the next five tips for B2B linked in marketing that every other freaking agency is written out there. You’re going to be able to get rid of all the ‘How Many Cups of Coffee Your Agency Drank’ on your website too because you’re actually going to have substantive stuff to share their insight into different industries.








A practical example from the GuavaBox side, we worked with a lot of industrial type manufacturers and stuff like that. One of our most successful inbound campaigns was ‘The Ultimate Guide to Creating Epic Content in Boring Industries’ and we were able to take that piece of content and speak directly into multiple industrial manufacturing niches that we had experience in. They related to that because no one thinks that their piece of steel is cool. You need to kind of position it and spin it that way. That campaign gave us a lot of opportunities to open up those conversations because we knew exactly who we wanted to work with. That content was able to resonate with them in their inboxes and it wasn’t spammy at all.


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski: It wasn’t going straight for the phone call, it’s just, “Hey, I saw you’re in this space. We work with people like you, here’s some content that might help you out and just drift that to them.”



Andy Baldacci:


Once you do open up that conversation I think it leads into the next stage of the sales process, what is happening in those early conversations where you’ve gotten the prospects attention, they’re talking to you, what happens next?


Andrew Dymski:












Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s a lot of questions and then just sitting back and shutting up. The early part of the sales process, you’re more like psychiatrist than you are- You’re not writing your prescription out yet, you’re just gathering information. You’re trying to get your finger on the pulse of everything that’s going on for that customer, their goals, their challenges, their situation, what they’re trying to achieve. You’ve got a set of questions that you want to verify, during your connect call you want to get an idea of the main problem that they’re trying to solve, because right away you can figure out is it someone worthy of following up with or is it someone we should ditch right now? You want to kind of classify and qualify based on that question, number two you can get an idea for budget right here when you just ask a question like, “When it comes to solving this problem have you guys thought about budget? Do you have a budget in place?” And getting there, now when you drop that question can vary based on the context of how you got on the phone with that prospect-


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski: Whether they reached out to you, you reached out to them, what the context was, but at some point it’s okay to talk about budget and you definitely do that before you put a proposal or a contract in front of them.


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski:











The first few calls you’re really just learning and you’re asking a lot of questions about where they are. This is the opportunity to differentiate yourself from other agencies by bringing the conversation up a few notches on the ladder, getting away from the tactics or the flashy website feature that they saw at their last trade show and talk to them about the overall conversion rate and how their website contributes to their overall company revenue. Talk about higher level things like that, or where is the company trying to go? Are there markets that you’re trying to penetrate that you’re not right now? What’s your most profitable segment right now? Questions like that bring you up a level out of just the tactical range and begin to set the table for a strategic conversation. When you dwell there as an agency, at their strategic level, instantly your price goes up because your value goes up. Marketing tactics are still commoditized these days-


Andy Baldacci: Yep.


Andrew Dymski:














You can just go on oDesk and grab someone to build a pretty slick landing page in no time or just get a software tool that can do it these days. How do we differentiate ourselves in this day and age? We need to [inaudible 00:16:49] out that strategy phase and this goes back again to the niche idea, if you help one client succeed in a niche, the chances are you’re going to be able to help the next client succeed that much faster because you know that space, the buyers in that niche, you know how the selling process works, all those things. You become more and more valuable the more and more niche that you get and that can really drive that conversation. That might be call one and two if you hit any red flags where you realize that this person is not worth talking to, you press the eject button. You get off the call, you send them additional resources, say, “Hey, I’m going to put together some stuff to help you out, but I don’t think we’re a good fit at this time,” because you don’t want to waste your time, but if they are qualified and they are someone you can work with, you want to continue to point them towards that strategic conversation and that’s when you start talking about the discovery project and really-


Andy Baldacci: Right.


Andrew Dymski: Sitting down and understanding where are we trying to go and how can we as a strategic marketing partner help get you there.


Andy Baldacci: To back up a little bit, because originally you were running GuavaBox like most listeners were or are running their agency where the target client is basically anyone with an open checkbook-


Andrew Dymski: Mm-hmm (affirmative).



Andy Baldacci:


When you talk about qualifying, obviously you have budgets you need to be concerned about. You do want them to fall into that ideal client that you can deliver the most value for that you talked about earlier, but what else are you looking for to truly answer the question of whether or not this prospect is qualified to continue this conversation?


Andrew Dymski:



Yeah, great question. There’s two things you want to pay attention to right away. Number one is who am I talking to? Am I talking to the president, the CEO? If you are that’s great and it’s bad at the same time. It’s great because they’re the decision maker at the end of the day and that’s good to kind of kick start the relationship, but it’s bad for the ongoing part of the relationship because if anyone’s worked with a small company where the president or the CEO or the founder was your point of contact, where were they three months after you started? Where they as excited to get back to your emails and get on the phone with you and get you content at that point as they were when they just got started? 98 percent of the time, the answer is heck no, they’re a president-


Andy Baldacci: That’s really true.



Andrew Dymski:








They’ve got other crap on their plate. That’s why they hired an agency. If you get to a situation and your main point of contact through the relationship is going to be the executive, that’s a red flag. That just says that this client is a little bit to small right now to fit a really good fit relationship. Number two the thing you want to look for is are they spending money already on marketing? Have they put in the time, the effort to explore different channels because it’s a lot easier to borrow money from the trade show budget or to borrow money that’s going to the SEO agency than it is to pull money out of thin air, pull the rabbit out of the hat right there. Those are two things. A third one that kind of goes along with the first one is if there’s not an existing marketing budget and it’s a small company, just know that you’re probably taking money out of the profit of the organization that-


Andy Baldacci: Okay.


Andrew Dymski:


Would go to the owner. You’re kind of playing with their pocket money at that point. Again, we’re [inaudible 00:19:58] at a very low level client here. We want to pull ourselves up the stream by saying, “Can we work with someone in the marketing department or in the sales department who has the day-to-day job of driving new leads into the business, because that’s who we can really join hip to hip with.” Then bring that kind of executive level person in on a monthly basis so that they get the key metrics, the key updates on those high level KPIs that they’re worried about.


Andy Baldacci:


That was super helpful because I honestly hadn’t thought about it like that where you were saying that dealing with the CEO who is the ultimate decision maker does have down sides and that was really eye opening to hear. Say someone checks all those boxes and this is a qualified prospect, a qualified lead at this point, and you’re ready to start talking about solutions. What is that transition like? How does that happen?


Andrew Dymski:










Yeah. The best way to do this is to paint a clear picture of the journey ahead for the prospect. We call this a client journey. You can visualize this on your website or you can have it in a kind of a sales deck that you present to them, but give them a clear vision of what life will look like working with you. Before you get down and dirty about exactly what you will do with them and how much it will cost, just say, “Hey, just so that you know, Mr. Prospect, this is the typical flow that we take people through. The first phase in our process is an inbound game plan. In that session it’s focused heavily on discovery and just understanding where you guys want to go and how working with us and inbound marketing can help get you there.









Once that’s in place and we know kind of together we’re aligned and we’re moving in the same direction, then we’re going to start implementing content and we’re going to do what we call building the inbound funnel, which is just building segmented personalized marketing experiences for the new context that we’re going to be gathering through this process. Once we go through that process, we’re going to then move into an ongoing activation campaign where we’re really cutting the red ribbon and welcoming new people into this funnel that we’ve just built for them. We’re going to cycle those through on 90 day cycles. The reason that we do it this way is because inbound marketing is a laser focused strategy, when you know who you’re trying to talk to and you know the questions and pains that they’re going through, you’re going to see success so much faster because you’re personalizing an experience for them. That’s the expectation that buyers have today. You’ve got to start at that high level and paint the picture of here’s where we go.


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski:


That kind of, subtly, you told them right there, the first thing we’re going to do is build this game plan.


Andy Baldacci:







I like that you laid out that saying all right, you’re showing the prospect where things are going to go and on a bit of a tangent. In order to do that, you need to actually have an internal plan for where things are going to go, you need to have a process for how you work with clients. If you’re listening to this and wondering how you’d implement these yourself and you don’t have a clearly defined set of, not necessarily even services, but if you don’t have a clearly defined process for what every new engagement looks like and the stages it goes through, that’s probably a good starting point rather than worrying about this and just standardizing the way you work with clients. Not only makes things easier for you the agency owner, but also is going to help you get better results for the client, because the more you can repeat something and improve on it, the better the end result will actually be.


Andrew Dymski:


Amen man. That is such a good exercise to go through. Its simple to do. You get together with your core team on a white board and just say, “Hey, if we signed our ideal fit client tomorrow, what would the next 12 weeks look like?”


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski:







And just fill that white board with everything that you would want to do with them and lay out that sequence because when you do that you’re going to find that your confidence through the sales process goes through the roof because you know what you’re selling now and you’re not just trying to remember lines that you wrote down before the call, and say like, “Oh, I’ve got to ask them this question in this way.” And, “I’ve got to get this number out of them before the call or the call’s a failure.” No. You’re just flowing and having a conversation now because you’re equipped with a plan that will actually help them get them from where they are today to where they need to be. That’s your job. You’re a pilot.


Andy Baldacci: Right.


Andrew Dymski: We’re in City A at the airport, they want to be in City B. We got to get them on the plane. We got to get them in their seats. We got to get them their peanuts and get them up in the air safely and get them to that goal within the timeframe. That’s all we really need to do.


Andy Baldacci:



Once you do have that first process, it’s not like that’s going to be perfect. It’s not like you’re never going to revisit it. After every single client, after you’ve onboarded every client and got them to kind of the highest service you offer, at least in the more maintainable contract or retainer-


Andrew Dymski: Yeah.


Andy Baldacci: For the next one that comes through, see where you can improve it and keep improving that and working so that you are truly building out a built of a well oiled machine.


Andrew Dymski:










Yeah, that’s a really good point because there’s, you can kind of think of this as like, “Oh, I’m just filling out a template at each strategy session and I’m going to give the client the template,” but that doesn’t really give them what they need. You want to think about this as a process, a process that’s honed and improved and tweaked over time, so that the quality of your product just gets better as time goes by. I know the first time we tried to build a game plan for our client, we sold them an ongoing inbound retainer, a website redesign and a game plan all at once. This was our, I think this was our fourth retainer. I was like, “Great! This is awesome. This guy’s like really fired up. He’s all about it. Let’s just start everything all at once.” Then that was just like, I had no idea what we were throwing ourselves into because our main point of contact, again, was the founder of the company and kind of three weeks into the process, he was already bogged down in his email and doing other things and we had all three of these initiatives trying to move through the system at the same exact time. He was getting confused because-


Andy Baldacci: Right.


Andrew Dymski:




He didn’t realize how all the pieces fit together. That’s where we said, “Okay, all this stuff is great. We need all of this stuff, but if we just stretch the timeline out a little bit and work in smaller pieces. Life is going to make so much more sense to the client. We’re going to be able to maximize the time that we have with them and actually deliver results faster because you’re actually checking things off.” Like we got through phase one, now we’re in phase two, now we’re in phase three. Instead of like, “Oh, we’re still in phase one,” three, four months later.


Andy Baldacci:




It’s something where, I don’t want to harp on this for too long, but I’ve run into it all the time where agency owners resist this form of process all the time and it’s not natural. They left the corporate world because they hated kind of endless process, but there’s a reason process exists. It makes things so much easier when you do know exactly what stage a client is at, what comes next, what do you need from them. Not only does it make it less stressful for you, the agency owner, but it’s going to make it less stressful for the client, because not only are they going to have confidence in you that you know what you’re doing, but they’re not going to have to keep track of it all themselves. Because if you’re pushing all of that work, all of that kind of mental over to the client, that’s not really the recipe for long term success in that client-agency relationship.



Andrew Dymski:


No, they hired you because they want a subject matter expert who spends the time to understand who they are and where they’re trying to go and helps them get there. The reason they hired you is because they cannot do it themselves.


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski:




Another advantage of this client journey is you keep the client busy. You lead the conversation. Because if you get kind of a bull personality in your [PSE 00:27:23], they’re trying to tell you what to do, remember, when your contract renewal comes up, you’re not interviewing them saying, “Am I keeping you?” They’re interviewing you, saying, “Should I keep you Mr. Agency Leader?” So you better make sure that it was your plan that was implemented and not theirs because-


Andy Baldacci: Very good point.


Andrew Dymski:






If they sit there and say, “Hey, why didn’t you deliver?” “Well, because you kept distracting us every single month and wanting to something different.” You’ve got to lead the conversation and that’s where visualizing this client journey, and all through this sales process, setting the expectations along the way that you have a plan, you have a process, you’ve been here before and you’re going to walk them through that journey, kind of be their Sherpa on this journey and guide them through that whole process.


Andy Baldacci:







Say we’re at the last stage, we’ve gone through the prospect and we’ve connected with a prospect, we’ve qualified them, they’re onboard with the solution, how do we get them to make that decision and actually sign on the dotted line and write a check? Because there are so many agency owners that I talk to and the story is the same all the time if you ask how things are going they’ll say, “Well, I have a bunch of proposals out there that I’m waiting to hear back on. They should close soon. I’m just kind of waiting though.” It seems like that there’s not always that urgency from the client. What do you do to kind of tighten things up and have a clearer decision stage of the sales process?


Andrew Dymski: Yeah. This last mile of the sales process is the hardest phase to master. It takes time to get here. I laugh because I hear the same thing when I’m working with agencies, but I’ve been there myself too-


Andy Baldacci: Yep.


Andrew Dymski:


I completely relate to it. You want to always be going for the verbal affirmations, the little yeses along the way. When you describe a pain that they’re feeling, get them to say like, “Hey, does that resonate with you? Have you been there before?” When you talk about all of the marketing tactics that they’re trying to do and how it’s overwhelming. There’s no structure to it. “Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like just overwhelmed when you think about all this stuff?” “Yes.” Those little yeses throughout the sales process add up over time.












Then when you start talking about a game plan strategy and say, “Hey, if we got together and we sat down and we just knocked out like, who should we be reaching? What are their questions? Then, put a solid game plan together. Is that something you think would be helpful for your business?” “Yes.” “Is that something that you feel like would help you get to these goals you shared with me?” “Yes.” “Fantastic, that sounds great. We can do that for you. We can walk through that process with you. It’s going to be a 5000 dollar commitment. Here’s how we position it. We ask you to pay half of that up front, you’ll pay half of it at the end. We’ll go through this whole process together. Here’s the thing, if you go through this four to six weeks with us and you realize, “Hey, this wasn’t helpful? That’s all right, money back guarantee. We’ll give you back that initial deposit, because we’re that confident in the process.” Right there, you’re doing this on the phone with them. You’re talking with them, you’re getting these little yeses along the way, you’ve swept every objection off of the table. There’s no reason for them to get, to not get started-


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski:


To get in there. The whole discovery process, the whole game plan process needs to be built to overwhelm them with value and to show them so much stuff that they had never even thought about to the point where they can’t think about doing this with anyone else but you. It’s honestly not that hard to do that, because they’ve probably had such scattered experiences in the past.


Andy Baldacci: Right.


Andrew Dymski: That’s how I position it Andy, is getting those little yeses along the way and trying to remove any objection from the situation. There’s really no risk for them other than their time and as long as you’re talking to the right person, that strategy plays out pretty well.



Andy Baldacci:


Are you trying to get them to sign while you’re on the phone, while you’re on that call?


Andrew Dymski: I’m trying to get them to at least give me a verbal yes.


Andy Baldacci: Okay.


Andrew Dymski: Because if I talk to you and you say, “Yes, we’re going to do this.” I can say, “Great, I’ll put together the contract. I’ll send that over to you. It’s going to include everything that we just talked through here on this call. You can review it.” They might need other people to read it and stuff like that but just by getting the yes and affirming that yes, that’s a big difference than presenting the proposal and sending it to them for their review.


Andy Baldacci:


Mm-hmm (affirmative). Then what happens after they get off the call? If they’ve given you the verbal yes but they haven’t signed, they haven’t paid yet. What do you do to make sure that they don’t just become another lost deal?


Andrew Dymski:














Yeah. There’s always a next step, are we scheduling the first game plan discovery call? Are we scheduling another follow up call so that we can, if they do need someone else and we should have known that already, but that situation’s going to come up, we want to get on another call to at least check in. If I haven’t heard fro you by next Tuesday, we’ll hop on a call, we’ll get an update. That’s kind of your fallback plan. The ideal position, the goal that you’re shooting for is to get the yes, say, “Okay, I’m going to send over the contract. You can review that, if anything pops up, let me know, we can talk through it, but otherwise all the information will be there to kick us off and get started. Do you want to schedule the first game plan discovery session now?” Boom, we’ve kind of moved them to the next phase. They’ve already committed to the next phase with a verbal affirmation, they’ve booked a time on the calendar. Now that middle ground of getting the check signed and sent over is really a formality and you just shoot them an email as a follow up on that and say-


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski: “Hey, here’s the contract. Here’s the invoice. The deposit has to be paid before that meeting that we set for next Tuesday.” Just laying the process out like that as, the only other way you could do it would really be to say, “Okay, get out your credit card and fill out this form while we’re on this call together.” That process plays out pretty smoothly.


Andy Baldacci:


Yeah, and it’s something where I think this often goes wrong it when it goes back to just not having a clear path or process for your engagements. Because it’s when the client hasn’t committed to something-


Andrew Dymski: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andy Baldacci: And it’s when the agency is driving things towards a clear next step. It’s when you’re kind of just in that limbo where no one’s quite sure what’s going on-


Andrew Dymski: Yep.


Andy Baldacci: That the deals often will stall out.


Andrew Dymski:



That’s why I love kicking this off with an event. The discovery meeting is bringing the leaders of that organization, not just the marketing person, but bringing in the sales leader, bringing in the finance leader, the president, the CEO, bringing in servicing, bringing in engineering, getting those outside minds, because tons of different people at the organization are customer facing. They understand the questions, the pains, the frustrations that your customers are feeling. As a marketing person, that’s gold.


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski:





That’s the information that you need and if you sit there and listen to the president of the company or the head marketing person, you’re going to be so soaked in brand speak, that you don’t know who you’re talking to at the end of the day. You’ve got this, you’ve got kind of like a straw man sitting there but you’re not really sure who the customer is. You want to drill down and get to know that customers questions, pains, goals, and desires, because that’s going to be the fuel for the content that goes into your game plan. That end product is going to be kind of the black and white display of here is what inbound looks like for you, Mr. Client or here’s what a video marketing plan will look like for you Mr. Client or here’s the wire frames and the strategic plan behind the new website we’re going to build for you Mr. Client.


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).



Andrew Dymski:


It doesn’t have to be inbound marketing here, this process works if you just start with discovery and asking really good questions. Think of yourself more as a consultant and less of just a tactician.


Andy Baldacci: Right.


Andrew Dymski: That conversation is framed a lot better for you at that point.


Andy Baldacci:




Yeah, honestly this call has been super dense. We’ve covered a ton of stuff and it’s like I could just see in my head how this could have filled up months of episodes where we dive into each. I know you have gone deeper in other places and you actually put together a course that covers this in a much more thorough way. Can you talk about how you’ve packaged this up and what that course is like and how it helps agency owners build some of these skills themselves?


Andrew Dymski:



Yes. There’s a, this whole journey here of laying the groundwork for agencies. We’ve addressed this in very deep down situations. The main course I would highlight is ‘Let’s Game Plan’ that walks through this whole game plan discovery project from the sales process through to presenting the upsell from there and kind of moving them down the line. We’ve got another course called ‘Agency Framework Master Class’ that’s launching right now actually. That speaks to the niche-ing idea and how to really lay the groundwork for where you want to go and grow as an agency, how do you put your client journey plan together everything like that. We’ve also got a course called Agency Sales System that walks through how to build the tactical funnel in your-


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).



Andrew Dymski:


CRM to move people through. There’s a lot of in depth information here that people can go through. We’ve also got some other stuff that can really make that a lot easier for them too.


Andy Baldacci: When we wrap up, we’ll tell people how they can actually enter for a chance to win all these courses for free, but before we get to that point though. I want to just ask, what is one thing that listeners can do to get started with building their own sales system, if they don’t have much process in place today, what is something they can do to at least get the ball rolling on changing that?



Andrew Dymski:













One thing, that elusive one thing would be sitting down there and drawing up that plan of exactly what you want to do with clients, because that’s going to force you to make some decisions about the way you service and what you offer, because one flaw is selling stuff that you’re not good at, stuff that should be either sent to partner or that you should just not touch at all. For our agency that was branding and that was video production. Don’t touch them. Someone else should do those things. Just decide, who are we and what do we do? Lay out that ideal client journey and then from there you now know where you’re going to send people through that sales process. The thing that I would do immediately after that is understand the ideal fit prospect that you should be talking to on the phone and write a bio of who that person is. Put a picture up of who that person is. Understand them inside and out and understand what niche and industry that they call home. That’s going to help you narrow down your outbound marketing and the research that you do there. Those two things in place, you’re going to be light years ahead of a lot of other agencies that are out there competing for bids right now.


Andy Baldacci:





That’s awesome. It’s not even just being ahead of other agencies, that’s a huge component of it, when you can implement these things in your agency, clients are going to notice and they’re going to tell you, this is so much different than how I’ve worked with other agencies, this is a breath of fresh air. Beyond that, it also makes things easier for you, the agency owner, to have a better handle on the way that you work. Thank you so much for all those tips and before we do wrap up, I like to ask all my guests a few rapid fire questions. We’ve been through them before on a different podcast, but this will be the first time you and I will talk about them on this one. The questions are going to be quick, but your responses don’t have to be. The first one is just, currently what are you spending too much time doing?



Andrew Dymski:








Currently it is doing a lot of personal coaching, personal onboarding, going through our software product which is DoInbound. It’s kind of chicken or the egg because I love agency conversations and I love working with people through problems, but what I’m finding is I’m doing a lot of things that should be automated and that we can put into the software and can actually help people find value faster than I’m kind of the- I’m holding them back at that point. I think that there’s a place for the agency conversation and kind of helping them put their processes in place and kind of put a reputable structure in place. I don’t want to lose that because that’s what really makes DoInbound a cool experience is it’s so focused on digital agencies, helping them put their processes in place. I don’t want to lose that touch, but I can pull myself out of a lot of things that can be built into software essentially. Step by step stuff.


Andy Baldacci: What are some of those higher leverage points that you wish you could devote more time to?



Andrew Dymski:


Yeah, definitely content creation, putting out more strategic type of content, like deep work content.


Andy Baldacci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Andrew Dymski:





Not rapid fire stuff, but putting together more detailed frameworks and more detailed processes that can help people with kind of a short cut or help decrease their learning curve. That’s brought me the most joy through our journey. That’s one of the reasons we’ve kind of transitioned from GuavaBox, our own agency, into DoInbound, where it’s a software and training company that helps other agencies out is that by taking the lessons that we’ve learned and the bumps and the bruises, we’re able to kind of package the lessons there into frameworks and reputable processes and help agencies really shortcut the learning curve there. I want more time to do that, whether it’s free stuff on our blog or free courses or if it’s building out more training courses like we’ve talked about so far. That’s where I want to be.


Andy Baldacci: Then building on that, for the next quarter at DoInbound what are you hoping to accomplish?



Andrew Dymski:


We have some big product features that we’re cranking out right now. I don’t know if I’ve said this anywhere publicly yet, so I’m kind of excited about that.


Andy Baldacci: An exclusive.


Andrew Dymski:











Yes, exactly. We’re working on a completely revamped template builder inside of our software, a completely revamped onboarding experience, but the big thing is a team planning feature. We’re going to bring in resource allocation. We’re going to bring in some budgeting and just kind of giving, at the end of the day, giving agency pros a better view of what is on everyone’s plate inside the agency and giving them a good view to see how that work is moving through your workflow. Right now, DoInbound does a great job of essentially building out your task list and giving everyone tasks based on your documented process, but then how do we move those tasks through a work flow and make sure nothings falling through the cracks. That’s going to be our focus over the next quarter. We’re going through spec and design right now and we’re going to be moving that out to the customers asap.


Andy Baldacci: The last one is just, what’s the biggest obstacle you see that you’ll have to overcome to get to those goals?


Andrew Dymski:





Yeah, it’s the busy stuff. If you ever, and this is true to agency owners, if you don’t block time on your calendar to allow yourself deep work time, that time where there’s no notifications coming in, there’s no client call coming up, you just have 90 minutes of pure strategy time. If you don’t keep that time sacred, you’re going to be in a hard place. The hard part for me is while I’m doing a lot of manual things, having the discipline to block my calendar and then follow those blocks versus just having a block and then jumping onto something that pops up. That’s my struggle right now, is just kind of be master of my own calendar-


Andy Baldacci: Yeah.


Andrew Dymski: And know how I spend my time has the biggest impact on how fast my business moves and goes forward.


Andy Baldacci:


I can definitely relate to that, where it’s just having the time blocks alone was a big improvement and it’s something that I’m working on. But actually having the discipline to make sure you stick to those time blocks is another story and that’s always for me at least going to be a work in progress so I can feel you on that one for sure. The last thing though is I had mentioned to listeners a little bit ago that if they do want a deeper dive into these courses, if they want to check that out, that there is a way that they can potentially check it out for free. Do you want to talk about the giveaway you’re running right now?



Andrew Dymski:


Yeah, I’d love to. As part of our podcast, which is Inbound Agency Journey, we just celebrated our 100th episode which is pretty exciting. We’ve had probably 90 different agency owners or agency consultants on the podcast and then other sprinkled episodes of Gray and I sharing different things. That just hit episode 100-


Andy Baldacci: Congrats.


Andrew Dymski:









Thank you. It’s super exciting. As part of that though, we’re giving away one license to each of our four main courses. The first course is that Agency Framework Course I talked about where in that course we’re diving into the mission and vision of the agency you’re trying to build or the agency you’re trying to retool right now. The second course is the Agency Sales System where we go through step by step how to build and structure each of your calls, your CRM processes, everything you need to be thinking about to move someone from the initial conversation with sales up to that point of signing the contract. Third course is called Let’s Game Plan, that’s the whole process for how to build a kick butt discovery process for your clients. We include fifteen different tangible templates in there that you can take and rework and customize for yourself.













Then, the fourth course is one that’s not even released yet for sale. It’s called Inbound Funnel. It walks through the whole process the day after your discovery. How do you go about actually creating content in a systemized and process driven way with your client and build out a segmented funnel to nurture leads for a new client that you’ve brought on and manage some of the website design stuff. Taking stuff from strategy and putting it out into implementation. Those are the four courses that are involved in the giveaway right there. We can include links in the show notes to get more information on each of those if you want more info on those, but for your listeners here I want to do something special, if they go over to DoInbound.com/agency-advantage they can, on that landing page, download on that page to be entered into this contest. If you catch this by the end of April, you’ll be able to jump in and be counted and qualified as part of that contest. I’m also throwing four e-books in there, Andy, for your listeners-


Andy Baldacci: Awesome.


Andrew Dymski:





The first is the Agency Sales Process Checklist, the second is Overcoming 12 Common Agency Sales Objections, the third is the Winning Partner Guide, and inside of the Winning Partner Guide we break down that whole client journey idea and give you a really good framework to visualize how do we move people from phase one to phase two to phase three. The fourth one is a Process Boilerplate Templates, you can use that to kind of break down the work that you do and start documenting your services, documenting the different phases of that journey. Those four e-books, plus a chance to win one of those four courses, head over to DoInbound.com/agency-advantage and you guys can just opt in right there.


Andy Baldacci:


Awesome. That is so amazing to share all of that with the audience. What I’m going to do is make sure to get that linked up in the show notes, but if you do want to enter this head to DoInbound.com/agency-advantage and do that before April 30th at midnight for your free chance to win. Andrew, you shared a ton with us today. I hope all the listeners go check out those resources, but obviously I just want to say, thank you so much for your time, it was a lot of fun chatting.


Andrew Dymski:



Andy, I had a great time. Thank you so much for all that you’re doing for this community, this family, you’re really bringing together a lot of great thought leadership here so thank you for your groundwork my man.


Want to learn more?

Andrew is celebrating the 100th episode of his podcast, Inbound Agency Journey, by offering a free license to each of his four courses:

  • Agency Framework, where Andrew dives into the mission and vision of your agency.
  • Agency Sales System, where Andrew walks you through building and structuring your calls, your CRM processes, everything to get you from initial contact to signing the contract.
  • Let’s Game Plan, which is about creating stand-out discovery sessions for your clients. It includes 15 different templates that you can use in your own business.
  • Inbound Funnel. In this brand new and not-yet-released course, Andrew explains how to create systemized and process driven content that will in turn create a funnel for inbound leads.

To enter this contest, go to DoInbound.com/agency-advantage.

Anybody can enter that giveaway, but Andrew has something even more amazing for listeners to this podcast. Again, if you visit DoInbound.com/agency-advantage, you’ll also receive copies of four ebooks:

  • Agency Sales Process Checklist
  • Overcoming 12 Common Agency Sales Objections
  • The Winning Partner Guide
  • Process Boilerplate Templates

The last two give you great frameworks to break down moving clients through your process and then how to break down the services that you offer to create that process, respectively.

Don’t wait—enter now and get your free ebooks!

Thanks for listening!