How to win new business when you can't show your client work
I just wanted to scribble this straight after a call with one of my coaching clients to address an issue that's come up for me a couple of times in the past week.
Once with this coaching client and another time on a new business call with a company with this challenge.
So the challenge is: how to share your client experience when your clients don't let you talk about the work you've done.
This is really common in areas that have really extreme non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in place. One example of this might be working with pharmaceutical companies. And another one is when you're working on really early-stage product development for companies who are highly competitive.
It's a really frustrating situation to be in as an agency. Because generally, if you have the challenge with one client, it tends to be typical of the niche that you're in, so you'll likely have it with most of your clients.
That can mean that you're really conscious that the website and your case studies on there feel lacking and sparse. You're likely also aware that what you're able to share through your marketing channels isn't what other agencies can share.
So I just wanted to give you some of the advice that I've shared in those conversations I've recently had. It might be useful to you if you feel like you have the same challenge.
First of all, I'd play up your experience as much as you can on the site. So even if you can't share the process, make sure you're sharing the fact you work with those clients.
Make sure you're getting testimonials and results from those clients wherever possible. This doesn't mean you have to show exactly what you worked on, the process you went through, or any proprietary techniques you used.
But the client can still express their gratefulness to you, and they may also feel able to share how your efforts allowed them to achieve their commercial objectives: a 20% increase in sales.
At a minimum, you should be allowed to share the logo of the company on your website.
If you have any challenges with that, try to make sure that future contracts allow you to talk about working on the brand.
Again, that doesn't have to be the entire process or the ins and outs of it or even show the creative work you've done. But just the fact that this is a brand you've worked on. And then a testimonial and those results are fantastic.
If you can make it part of the contract and the agreement when working with this kind of clients in the future.
I would say one of the biggest concerns I'm hearing when I've been talking to customers with this challenge, is that they they're finding it a real struggle to convert their business prospects into phone calls because they're literally not seeing enough of the work on-site before they commit to a phone call.
So what I'd really encourage you to do is add lots of calls to action on your website, your email sign off and on your social media, to book a call with you to discuss this further.
I use a great little tool called Calendly. It's free if you've just got one meeting there. Make it a 'quick consult' for half an hour Zoom or phone call. Because they can choose a time that suits them, I find it really appeals to many prospective clients.
There is a tendency to be reserved amongst our industry, and many agencies are really conscious only to use this link in a couple of places.
But the reality is it needs to be glaringly obvious to people who are visiting your site or getting in contact with you because frankly, we all have short attention spans these days. So get it in as many places that you could think of and make a conscious effort to make sure you're offering a link to it in the body copy of most of your messages and emails you're sending out. This will go some way to reassure prospects that you're there to listen without commitment.
I'd also encourage your new business prospects to develop into a proposal stage to encourage them to share their brief and budget with you at an earlier stage than they would normally.
The reason for this is you can reassure them by saying "we're not able to share our proprietary processes that their clients with you, but if you're able to give us a more established brief, we can come up with a highly detailed proposal. So you can understand fully what how we approach this, what we do in terms of our rigorous process and what results you can expect that are in line with your commercial objectives."
It'll likely take you a bit longer than it might normally do to put together this kind of proposal, but I dare say that the more you repeat this, the more streamlined it'll become. There might be lots of repeating parts that you can use for multiple clients.
Finally, make sure that you are as reassuring as possible in your online presence about how much you value your NDAs. There's no better way to do that than not show your case studies.
If you have a policy of not showing any case studies, but instead showing you the logos, results and a quote from the clients that you work on, along with frequent reassurances that you take non-disclosure agreements very seriously and are happy to sign one even before a new business call, then I'm confident that you're doing your best to alleviate concerns of those prospective clients.
I hope that was helpful to you if you want to discuss new business and marketing for your own agency feel free to book a free consult with me here.
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