Pro Tip: Don’t add new services reactively

November 7, 2019

When a client asks to add a new service to their account, it’s usually an easy upsell… unless they’ve requested a service your agency doesn’t currently offer.

That’s when many agency leaders fall into “panic” mode. Not wanting to lose the account, they automatically respond: “Yes, we can do that!”

The problem? They have no idea how they’ll actually fulfill what they promised.

This can lead to client and employee retention problems… and unprofitable work. For instance, that’s how a friend at a digital agency found herself in charge of a client’s office renovation and interior decorating.

As an agency operations leader, I have some advice to help you reduce your stress while increasing your agency’s profits.

Be intentional, not reactive

Ask the client to clarify their underlying business goals, instead of reflexively saying, “Yes.” This helps you understand what they want to accomplish since the service they requested might not be the best solution.

Then you can buy time by saying, “Let me speak with the team; I’ll follow up.” Clients don’t always require an instant answer, but they want to know you’ll get back to them soon.

Look for patterns across clients

When you notice multiple clients asking for a new service, it’s a sign there might be strong market demand. Consider whether other clients and prospects would benefit from the new service. If you see the new service as strategically important to your growth style and your future goals, it may be time to expand your offerings.

Consider delivery model options

Explore what it would take to deliver the work profitably. If you can’t do the work well, be honest about your lack of experience; it’s OK to bow out.

You don’t always have to hire a new employee to add a new service. In fact, a current employee or freelancer might already have the skills to fulfill the new billable service.

If you don’t have an appropriate resource already, you have several options:

  • Refer your client to a trusted partner.
  • Fulfill the work via an outsourced “white label” firm.
  • Hire one or more new employees to do the work.

Learn more

Want to dig deeper into the best services mix for running a profitable agency? I’ll be talking a lot more about this at SMX East next week, in the brand new Agency Operations and Management track.

More about SMX


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

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Karl Sakas helps agency owners increase their profits and reduce their stress by conquering growing pains. As a management consultant and executive coach at Sakas & Company, Karl has personally advised hundreds of agencies on every inhabited continent. He is the author of Made to Lead, The In-Demand Marketing Agency and more than 300 articles on agency management. When he’s not helping agency leaders, Karl volunteers as a bartender on an antique train.

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