06 May How To Land A $1,500 Per Month Marketing Retainer In The Next 14 Days [Includes Scripts & Templates]
You can admit it…
If you’re a marketer, then you’re probably bad at selling.
Some people are so TERRIFIED of selling that when they have to pitch someone, this is what they do:
But I get it… I was the exact same way.
I thought that blogging, building a social following, making videos and basically doing everything except selling, was somehow going to attract more clients to my business.
I learned the hard way… It doesn’t work like that.
You can’t depend on inbound marketing to consistently generate high-ticket retainers. (Especially when you’re just starting out)
If you want to get more clients and more predictable income, you need to make your own luck by reaching out and connecting with the right people on a consistent basis.
You’ve got to do things that are uncomfortable and feel unnatural to land clients, like having conversations with complete strangers and possibly ask them for money.
That’s why today I’m going to breakdown the exact steps that I took to find, qualify and close a brand new client in just 2 weeks without spending a dollar on ads.
Here’s what we’re about to talk about:
- How to find and reach out to the RIGHT prospects who actually need your services (without paying for ads or building an email list)
- How to get prospects excited about you and your services before you ever speak
- How confidently charge what you’re worth without any haggling or uncomfortable negotiations
- How to overcome deal-breaking objections that prospects will say to you
- How to quickly close the deal without a lengthy proposal that no one wants to read
So whether you’re trying to land your first or next big retainer client, this is for you!
Step 1: Choose The Right Target Audience
First, you’ll want to choose a niche.
You know what they say, “the riches are in the niches.”
So let’s make it easy…
Choose a niche that meets any of these criteria:
- You’ve had some success (no matter how small) with that niche in the past
- You know a lot about or work in that niche already
- You have connections to people in that niche
Picking a niche that meets one or more of those will give you a leg up over other service providers while distinguishing you as someone who understands that specific industry.
For me, that niche is outdoor living stores. (Patio furniture, BBQ grills, fire pits, fountains, etc.)
And I won’t lie… The BBQ cook-offs are probably the best part.
Because I already have a couple of clients in that industry, including a large, award-winning manufacturer (you can check out their website here) I figured this would be the best niche to start with.
But if you’re just starting out and have zero connections, don’t worry, you can get referrals from family and friends or local businesses and leaders in your community.
Step 2: Make A List Of Businesses Who Need Your Help
I was very selective about who was added to my list of businesses that I wanted to connect with.
In this example I was selling Facebook advertising services but most of the strategies below will work for other marketing services too. (AdWords, SEO, CRO, etc.)
(Note: Services like website development, graphic design or copywriting can be difficult to land retainers for because that type work is normally done on a per project basis. Make sure what you’re selling is actually worth a monthly retainer.)
So… How did I choose businesses to add to my list of potential prospects?
I started by going to my manufacturer client’s website that I mentioned above and grabbed the names all of their retailers:
You can just as easily find the businesses you want to target on Google and Yelp.
Next, I entered each retailers name into Facebook to see if their page had the following qualities:
- Were posting status updates regularly on their page but had little to no engagement (likes, comments, etc.)
- They promote sales events (ex: 40% off patio furniture for Memorial Day)
- Were “Boosting” posts which means they are already spending a little on Facebook (not required)
- Decent response rates on their Facebook page (meaning someone is actively managing the account)
- They have a decent, user-friendly website
If a business made the cut, I added them to my list and kept going.
Here’s the things I looked for when avoiding adding the wrong businesses to my list:
- No status updates on their Facebook page in last 12 months
- Poor quality page posts (would make my job harder)
- Terrible website (or no website at all)
- Negative customer reviews on their page
Great! Now you should have a solid list of potential leads.
I ended up with about 60 businesses on my list.
Here’s what it looked like in Google Sheets:
I added a couple extra columns for information like whether or not they had a website, how many followers they had, the link to their page and an area to keep track of who I’ve reached out to.
These are optional of course but have been helpful for me to keep track of everything.
Even though I don’t recommend it, if you’d rather just write names down on a piece of paper or use some fancy CRM software, go for it.
Whatever works for you!
Step 3: Make Outreach & Followup Easy
Instead of trying to dig up emails, I chose to get in touch with people via direct message on Facebook because it was easy and I was offering Facebook advertising services.
You can find the “Message” button directly on their page:
Basically what you want to do is create a simple script that makes sense for your target audience that you can copy and paste and send to different people/businesses.
Here’s the exact script I used:
I reached out to about 20 businesses every other day on Facebook with the message above.
Out of the 60 messages I sent over a week, 4 people got back to me. 7% response-rate from a cold message is not too shabby!
So back to the message…
- Notice how in the first sentence I am name-dropping “OW Lee” (my client) to establish some likability and common-ground.
- Next, I’m letting them know that I’m looking to “support” businesses like theres, not just sell them stuff.
- Lastly, I offer a compliment that’s quickly followed by friendly heads up that there are some issues they should address.
This message works great because it’s non-threatening and you’re providing value and education before asking for anything in return.
If I did not hear back from them in a week, I sent this message:
You’d be surprised how many people will get back to you after you send the friendly followup message. Don’t give up after one try!
Another nice thing about Facebook is that it will show you when people have read your messages… What’s interesting is the majority of people haven’t opened my message yet which goes to show how little they pay attention to their accounts.
BUT, for the ones that read your message but did not respond, a friendly followup call is a fast way to get in touch.
Step 4: Use “Pre-Framing” To Get Prospects Excited & Ready To Buy
Once you’ve got a response from someone, it’s time to take action.
First, make sure to respond as quickly as possible. Get the Facebook Massager app for your phone so you can receive notifications.
Second, deliver on what you promised in the first message… Give them some solid, actionable advice.
Here’s what I sent over:
Providing this type of free advice will “pre-frame” you as an expert in your prospects’ mind and get them thinking about what they should be doing (or not doing) in their business.
If possible, share a relevant case study, statistics, content, examples, or details about your services. But don’t send them an overwhelming amount of words in your message, a link is all you need.
As you can see in the message above, I shared a link to a case study for a campaign that I ran for a similar business:
Again, this establishes me as an expert and better yet, an expert in their specific niche.
If you want to read that case study on my blog, you can check it out here.
While I didn’t send them a link to my services page, that could have been beneficial as well.
I’ve recently raised my rates because I’m getting a lot busier, but having your rates a certain point on your website creates a “price anchor” that you can use to negotiate when closing the deal.
Hopefully, they navigated to that page on their own while they were exploring my case study and website.
If you don’t have a website, don’t worry, here’s what you can do to pre-frame prospects:
- Create your own content and case studies as PDFs, Powerpoint presentations and/or videos with valuable content
- Share links to other websites with content and case studies to illustrate the potential
Okay now your prospect should be primed and ready to buy before you even speak with them.
Step 5: Schedule & Commit To A Call / Meeting
This part is super easy…
Suggest a phone call OR if they are nearby, a face-to-face meeting is even better.
(I know there’s a typo, oops!)
You want to make it as easy as possible for them to pick and commit to a day/time.
In the example above, a simple message was all it took. Alternatively, you can use an app like Calendly for people to book time with you based on your availability.
Step 6: Conduct An Effective Call/Meeting
Alright here’s the part where most of us miss the mark…
Just like the Lakers’ past few seasons…
You’re so pumped about this potential client that you throw out a bunch of technical phrases your prospect doesn’t understand, they get confused and you lose the sale. Sound familiar?
Instead, you should think about it like this:
Your goal will this call or meeting is to uncover your prospect’s pain points and decide whether or not they are a good fit for your service.
You’re qualifying them to your business, they are NOT qualifying you to their business.
That’s because alllll the way back in steps #1 and #2 you already decided based on your research that they would benefit for your services.
Alright, so when you get to the actual phone call or meeting, here are some questions that will help stay on point and close the deal.
Here’s the type of questions I ask first:
- Tell me about your business? How long have you been in business?
- Who is your ideal customer? What is the main thing you want to sell to them?
- What’s your average customer lifetime value?
- How much do you spend to acquire one customer? One lead?
- What are you offering to get leads in the door now?
- What marketing initiatives do you have in place right now?
- What marketing initiatives have worked best/worst for you?
- What are your marketing goals for the next 6 month? 12 months?
- What do you think is holding you back from achieving those goals?
I know it’s difficult to say “no” when there’s potential money on the table, but you need to be willing to say “no” and politely walk away after you ask these questions and determine they are not a good fit. In the long-run, you’ll regret the decision when you can’t get results for your client and they end up firing you or worse, spreading bad word-of-mouth.
BUT if you determine that they would be a good fit, here’s the questions you ask to push them to the next step:
- Do you understand how our services can help you achieve your marketing goals?
- When were you hoping to kick-off this project?
- Any other questions about your investment/fees and payment schedule?
- Who should we include when we send the kick-off details too you?
Remember, your goal with this phone call / meeting is to ask questions that get to the core of their problem so you can make an honest assessment of whether or not you can help, not to show off all your fancy marketing tools.
Lastly, even if you successfully “pre-frame” prospects and warmed them up before the call, chances are that you’re still going to hear some objections…
Your ability to close deals depends on how prepared you are to answer and overcome those objections.
Here’s how to deal with some of the most common ones:
“It’s too expensive.”
This is the most common objection that you’ll hear. First, you need to remain confident in the value your service provides and make sure they understand how potential results are tied back to their return on investment.
For example, ask them something like:
Also, instead of charging less, you can instead increase the perceived value of your offer by throwing in additional services/bonuses that your prospect would benefit from.
Another little trick you can use is to tell them you will not charge a “setup fee” as long as they make a decision during that call/meeting.
“We already have someone.”
Sometimes businesses already have a “marketer” who they really like and don’t want to replace them. Here’s how I like to approach that objection:
“This won’t work for my business.”
If you genuinely think your services would help their business don’t be afraid to say so.
You can say something like:
Your goal isn’t to threaten them but rather get them to think critically about whether or not your service would actually work for their business and/or their competitors.
“The timing just isn’t right for us.”
When I hear this I always refer to an old proverb that goes something like this:
Basically you need them to understand that the longer they wait, the more difficult it’s going to be to close the gap and catch up to their competition online.
And if it’s genuinely not a good time for them, make sure to ask them exactly when they think will be a good time to get started.
“I need to think about it.”
Some people just aren’t comfortable diving right into an agreement after one call/meeting, so when they say this your job is to make sure to ask them if they have EVERYTHING they need to make a good decision.
Next, ask them for a specific day that you can followup with them. Don’t let this drag out longer than 1 week or 2.
If a prospect continues to tell you they need to think about without giving you a concrete date, cut them off, they are wasting your time and will just be frustrating to work with in the future.
Shoutout to the Entrepreneur Alliance for their epic advice on this subject.
Step 7: Quickly Wrap Up The Deal
I used to spend hours writing stupid proposals that were 25+ pages long and full of details that no one cared about.
Prospects would tell me, “I don’t think this proposal will work for us.”
I’d go spend more time re-writing it and re-writing it until finally…
Maybe you can relate?
So I’ve got some really great news for you…
You don’t actually need proposals to close deals.
Don’t make that mistake!
That’s why step #4 (pre-framing) is so important in this process…
Before you ever speak with them, they should already be confident that you can get them results.
If they ask for a proposal, you didn’t do your job well enough.
So what comes after you’ve won the deal is for you to clearly outline what actions the prospect needs to take in order to get started.
Here’s how I do it:
Send them a “Terms of Service” document to sign:
Don’t get this confused with a proposal. We buried the proposal. Instead send a document that simply outlines what you agree to do, what the client agrees to do and finally some text that protects you against any potential copyright issues or loss of income a client might try to hold you liable for. (This stuff is boring but it’s simple and protects you, don’t miss this part.) You can grab a copy and paste template here, trim it down and make it your own. I use a digital signature and send them this document as a PDF so I’m not actually sending any physical documents.
Send the first invoice:
I use a website called “FreshBooks” to track and send invoices. They make it stupid-simple to collect payments, send reminders and even do your accounting at the end of the year. I highly recommend you check it out!
Schedule the kick-off call:
Pick another date/time for your official kick-off call. On this call I like to set expectations, make sure everyones roles are clearly defined, get any content or login access I might need and finally, start planning their first campaign.
Get them results fast and be proactive with communication:
If you want to earn a client’s business for life and guarantee the checks show up on time every month, then you need to deliver on your promises and get them results ASAP. Additionally, a simple phone call every other week can go a long way in establishing long-term trust and likability so they stick around..
BOOM. You did it! Wasn’t too difficult right?
Now you’ve got the exact steps that I took to find, qualify and close a $1,500 per month retainer in less than 14 days!