“Oh, so you have too many clients wanting to work with you at once, what a great problem to have.”
We’ve all heard it. And while yes, it’s nice to know our services are in demand, it also presents a brand new set of challenges.
Many Agency Owners start to wonder: How many clients can I actually handle at once? How can I hire quickly to meet this demand? Will I have to step into client work to get everything done? What happens if I hire and then demand goes down and then I have to fire everyone?
In this episode I share what you need to do as soon as you experience an influx of new clients (or if you know it’s coming!) We’ll talk about what areas to quickly revamp so that team support works better and some strategies for how to make sure your team is hired and trained to meet the promises you’ve made to your clients.
Kolbe A Assessment *affiliate link
Hey everyone, Nicole here, and welcome back to the show. Today we’re going to talk about how to prepare for an influx of new clients. This episode is airing in September and probably about 75% of the agency owners that I’ve polled have shared that over the Summer months, they typically experience a bit of a slowdown when it comes to new clients enrolling, but in the Fall it starts picking up again.
So because we are entering the Fall season, I figured it would be a great time to talk about how to prepare for new clients to come in the door. And I think that agency owners experience this in a different way than other types of business models because in order for you to accept a new client, you need to have a team that is going to deliver for that client.
And so sometimes it can be challenging to enroll a lot of new clients at one time because your delivery team and operations might not be ready for it. So in this episode, I’m going to talk a little bit about how to prepare for that, so that the new clients that you’re enrolling actually get the service that they are paying for. And that your team is ready to be able to fulfill that work. And you don’t go broke in the process. Because this is that balancing act that agency owners face where they need clients in order to have a team, but they also need a team in order to have the client. So let’s talk about what to do.
The first thing I want to focus on is what you need to have in place before you start selling the services to these new clients that are coming in the door. What I highly recommend is focusing and evaluating your Agency Foundations. And so what I mean by your Agency Foundations, I talk about this inside of my programs, we take a look at four different areas . The reason why we focus so much on Foundations, not just once, but repeatedly as your business evolves is because we want to make sure that your foundations have been updated to be able to support where your business is currently, but then also where you plan to grow over the course of the next few months. We want to make sure that your business foundations are set up to be able to have a team deliver your service and have it operate really smoothly as a business.
And so here are the four areas that we focus in on when it comes to your Agency Foundations. The first thing that I want you to evaluate is your clients. So who right now are your ideal clients? And know that this may have changed since you first started your business, or even from a few months ago. And the reason why is because over the course of time, we have experiences. We have experiences with people, we think they’re ideal clients and so we have different markers for what makes someone ideal, and then we work with those clients and then we realize maybe we need to shift some of those things.
So for example, I’ve had agency owners who have shifted industries that they work with. So they used to provide services to coaches, and now they provide services to consultants and other types of businesses.
I’ve had agency owners that have gotten more specific with their qualifiers. So maybe before they worked with coaches who had course offerings, and now they work with course creators that have a team of three to four people that value certain things that they value to make sure that there’s value alignment there, which is really important. So, it could be a lot of different things.
This is what I define as an ideal client, because I think it’s important for you to do this for yourself. And so I wanna give you some ideas. Sometimes we Think an ideal client, or even just clients in general someone who paid for the services that you offered. That’s not enough for me to make someone an ideal client.
Of course, we want them to be able to pay for what you offer, but we also want them to maybe even happily pay for what you offer. Right? We want them to at least for me, I want them to enjoy making the investment in my services because they know that they value our services. So that’s one thing I like to look at for another thing is that they appreciate what you do for them. Another is that they’re easy to communicate with. They keep coming back. So maybe they’re someone who will come back to you for additional projects, or if you have a retainer model, they continue to renew with you and they recommend you to others. Huge compliment. And hopefully they are referring other people that are similar to them. And if they’re an ideal client, that’s a great situation to be in.
And so what I want you to think about before you actually go and do this exercise is what’s your ideal client definition? What are your qualifiers? You can take from what I just mentioned, but maybe there’s some others based on your experience, maybe there’s a client that you had a bad situation with that left. What did you learn from that situation and how can you apply it to make sure that you’re working with more aligned to clients in the future?
So really get those qualifiers down and then go through to evaluate your current clients, evaluate what’s changed so that when these new people are applying to work with you, new businesses or whoever you work with, you can make sure that you’re bringing in um, not clients that were ideal for you a year ago, but clients who are actually ideal for you now.
The second thing that I want you to look at when it comes to your Foundations are your offerings.
So, it would be a great time to evaluate all of your offerings to see is this something that I wanna continue to grow with team support? And the three things that I generally look for in an offering is that there is demand for it, that your team is skilled in delivering it, and that is it is repeatable.
The problem that I find with agencies that offer very customized packages is that it’s very challenging for a team to be able to deliver in a sustainable way. If they’re delivering something completely different for each and every client, there’s going to be a certain limit on what they are able to do.
And it’s going to also be challenging for someone, if you were to bring in, let’s say a manager, or if you are your manager in your business to be able to manage. So take a look at your offerings and see, you can even rate them, this is something that I have my clients do. For each of your offerings, is there demand, are we really skilled at this, is this repeatable? And then I also see if it’s something that you have been offering, how much revenue have I generated from this offering? Which also helps with that demand piece of it. Usually. So if you have something that is a very low price point and there’s a lot of demand for it it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be an amazing thing to continue offering, because if you can’t pay a team to deliver it and also pay yourself, which we’re gonna talk about in a minute, then it might not make sense for you to have as an agency offering. So those are typically the things that I evaluate each offering around.
The third area is your delivery process. We want to make sure that you delivery process for each of your offerings is, I look at three things, I want to make sure it’s specific, it’s efficient and it’s repeatable. So it’s outlined and it’s very detailed. It’s efficient, meaning that there aren’t lots of steps that could be cut out, because if you are paying a team to deliver and you are doing unnecessary steps, you are going to you’re going to see it on the financial side, which is actually our fourth area that we look at with your Foundations. It’s making sure that you know the profitability of each package, how much of that that price point that your clients are paying you, how much of it is going to your direct expenses, so to actually paying a team to deliver that package and how much of it you have left over for your overhead, which includes,
your pay and other expenses that you may have in the business, that’s not directly related to delivering for that client.
So those are the four things that are really important to look at as you prepare to take on these new clients, because we want to make sure that these areas are in a really good place so that as you’re selling these services, you’re not selling to non-ideal clients offerings that aren’t scalable with delivery processes, that aren’t scalable, that you’re not going to make enough money on.
We want to really audit and assess where you are right now and Uplevel Your Foundation so that as you’re bringing on new clients, it’s going to be very easy to delegate to a team.
Now, if you have already signed on clients and maybe you haven’t gone through this exercise yet. It’s okay. You still may be able to go through maybe even the delivery process piece and make things more efficient and even see, after you evaluate some of these things, where you might have some issues with some of these clients and just get ahead of it .
This is where you can move from being reactive to proactive inside of your agency. And I know that’s what so many agency owners crave is to not feel like they’re constantly putting out fires, but to feel like they are ahead of things. And you do that by evaluating things constantly to see what needs to shift and change.
So that we grow and we improve and we don’t keep repeating the same mistakes. And so if you feel like maybe you signed on a few non-ideal clients, it’s okay. Still evaluate these things and as you bring on new clients, make sure that they are more ideal and that you’re selling them scalable offerings at the right price point and then if there is a major issue, you can always replace that non-ideal client with a more ideal client. It’s never too late for this, it’s always just the right time. Take what you can out of this based on where you are right now, inside of your situation and do what you can.
So the next thing that I want you to think about, if you are preparing for an influx of new clients, so we’ve addressed the client and selling side: we want to make sure all of those things are in place so that you’re selling the right packages at the right price point, is the team side.
So what I highly recommend, and this is something that I cover with my clients inside of the AGENCY program that I have, is to do a delegation assessment. This is where you take everything that is currently on your plate and you rate it. You rate it by three different categories. You rate it by your skill level and experience, your preference, so do you like doing this? Is it a pain for you to do this? Does it feel like every time you see this task on your list, you kind of roll your eyes? What does your body say to you? Do you cringe your shoulders? Get tight? So we assess it by preference and then we also assess it by the way that you take action or your mode of operation, and this is something that I go into further detail inside of my programs is how my clients evaluate how they best take action.
This is different than a personality assessment. It is really identifying your mode of operation. And we do this by an assessment called the Kolbe A assessment. It’s amazing. Highly recommend that you take it. If you haven’t already, I think it’ll give you some great insights around how you operate best and then, understanding that others may operate a little bit differently and it’s based on strengths.
So we also have our clients assess that area. If you haven’t taken your Kolbe A and have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s completely okay. You can still rate each of these tasks by your skill level and then your preference and that will be enough for now to see what are the red areas? You could even give yourself a number.
We have a spreadsheet that we give to our clients to do this, and you can see what areas maybe I’m not so skilled at and also don’t really like, those are probably the next things that should come off of your plate versus something that you might have a lot of experience with that, yeah, you don’t mind doing. So this is just another way we can assess what can come off of your plate.
And obviously you also need to pair this with a financial strategy. So just because a bunch of stuff is in the red doesn’t mean that you can just pay someone and hire someone tomorrow or multiple people tomorrow to take it all off of your plate.
We want to make sure that you’re making really smart financial decisions and prioritizing those investments, but it’ll give you a really good idea of okay, I don’t really need to hire an assistant next, what I need to hire instead is a copywriter who can come in and take some of this client work off of my plate.
It can give you that data and information to see where is it that I actually need the support the most.
We talked about what to do with clients and how to make sure what you’re selling is something that your team can deliver. We talked a little bit about a hiring strategy or figuring out what you need to delegate next.
And sometimes the things that you need to delegate could be delegated to somebody who is already on your team. It doesn’t have to be a brand new hire that you bring on. Oftentimes clients find that there’s someone who’s already on their team. Sometimes they’ve even started to create a standard operating procedure around it, but just never actually got to handing it off, and now after taking the assessment, they’re like, okay, it’s time. I have got to get this off of my plate.
So how then do you balance having the team to deliver while also accepting new clients? Because it’s almost like you can’t have one before the other.
So this is one strategy that I sometimes recommend that may be helpful, even if it’s just helpful to know that other people do this and that it is an option for you, regardless of whether or not you actually use it.
One idea that you can do is you can start accepting new clients, make sure they’re ideal, make sure they hit all of the Foundations and have them give you a deposit for starting in, let’s say 30 to 60 days. And that way you have their commitment, you can both sign the contract, you can get a financial commit commitment for them, so that you then feel comfortable going and investing in team members that you can then hire and then have some time to onboard, so that by the time they start, you have a team member in place to help them deliver.
This could also be, even if you have a current team member that maybe is only working with two other clients and you want to add the third, it might even give that team member time to onboard this new client and learn about their business and even get some tips from you so that once the client starts, they can hit the ground running, and don’t need as much support from you.
That way you’re not turning away new clients because you don’t have the team, but you’re also not committing to them starting tomorrow and knowing that you can’t deliver. So this is sometimes a really nice strategy to implement.
And some people have found that it works great because the new clients who are coming in really didn’t wanna start for 90 days anyway. So if they could just save their spot and then have some extra time, it actually works great for both parties, which I think is really awesome.
Those are the tips that I have for you. This is the information that I cover inside of my programs. The Foundations of your business is where we always start and it’s something that we need to continue to evaluate as you move forward. So as you’re prepping for this influx of new clients, it might be it might be right now, you might be experiencing influx over the Fall months when this episode airs, it may be another time of year. Or maybe it’s that you had a media appearance or you did a guest expert appearance, or you were networking with someone and that they might be sending a lot of new leads your way you can bookmark this episode and come back to it so that you can go through so that you feel more prepared. Not only in obviously networking and the media appearances or whatever opportunities you’re taking advantage of to get those new leads in the door, but you’re also preparing for your backend and operations to be able to serve those new clients. All right, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I will see you next week.