Transcript of Winning Your Dream Clients
John: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Jake Jorgovan. He is the founder of Outbound Creative, an agency that helps other agencies find and win their dream clients. He’s also the author of, I think it’s still upcoming book “Win Your Dream Clients,” founder of Lead Cookie, and does a lot of work on helping companies prospect and win clients on LinkedIn. Jake, thanks for joining me.
Jake: Thanks for having me on here, John. Excited to be here.
John: Now you have a podcast as well that you’ve been doing. You want to tell us about that?
Jake: Yeah, my podcast is called Working Without Pants. I interview other agency owners and consultants, and most of it is kind of on sharing their story and diving deep into that question of how do they get more clients, which is kind of what I’ve focused my entire career around.
John: Maybe I’m old school, but I have gone to work every day with pants on.
Jake: Yeah, I’m sitting here in sweatpants right now, so I guess that I am wearing pants today but they’re sweatpants.
John: So, tell me about this dream client. Maybe I actually ought to get you to define what makes a client a dream client rather than a client that said they’d pay you.
Jake: Yes, so basically the whole concept for the Dream Client campaign came up where I basically read “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes many years ago. This was back when I had my own video production and animation agency. Basically at that point, what I did was I got pretty serious about that. It’s this idea of saying if you had to go and figure out a list of, let’s say, just 25 of who would be your absolute perfect customers, and then build a plan to go after them. I’ll first of all say before we dive into this topic that the Dream Client campaign is not for everyone. It’s for people who are already doing extremely well and you feel that your capabilities are above the customer level that you’re working with. That’s where we were at my agency. We were doing very groundbreaking technical and creative work, and we knew we had the portfolio to get to that next tier of customers.
That’s where we went out and we launched the Dream Client campaign. For us, that was basically going after the top 25 event producers, because what we did was animation and graphics for stage productions. We found a list of the top 100. We scraped through every one by hand and picked who the top 25 were. We just started going after them and basically just would not stop until we got meetings with them. We probably booked meetings with seven to eight of them over the course of a few months. Then the first one of those that converted to a customer was actually Walmart’s corporate conference. We got to do this insanely massive project bigger than anything ever that we had done, and it was because we had had great work. We knew we were capable of producing at that level. We saw what else was out there, but we were just ready to take it up that notch. That’s where the Dream Client campaign came in for us and how I started with all that.
John: I sing that song a lot. There are a lot of consultants out there that their life would be much better with six or eight more clients, and yet they are out there spraying the internet to try to find them. I think that that idea of identifying 25 you’d like to work with and spend massive amounts of time impressing them is probably a far more profitable way to approach, especially if you’ve already said, “This is somebody I would really like to work with,” then you’ve kind of got that qualification thing out of the way.
Jake: Yeah. The danger I’ve always warned people is that you can aim too big. I ran some Dream Client campaigns a couple years ago for some customers, and we got them meetings with the director of digital marketing at Budweiser. They were just like, “You guys, this is awesome. Glad we’re meeting here, but you guys are too small for us.” It’s possible that you can aim too big for that, so I always kind of warn people before you go down that route that you need to be high-performing and just ready to take it up a notch. That’s when the Dream Client campaign makes sense for someone.
John: Are there components? Are there standards? I’m sure obviously there are lots of different things and ways in which you have to customize it, but are there some standard approaches to a Dream Client campaign?
Jake: Yeah. The standard things, you first just start off by really thinking through who that is, building that list. 25 I think is probably a good number to start with. Then basically what you want to do is just start planning out what your steps are going to be. When you’re doing this, it’s all going to be some form out outreach or some form of starting that relationship with them. To do this, you’ve got to be prepared to just keep going after them. Keep doing whatever you can to get in front of them, try to meet them at events. Trying to interview them if you can or just trying to get a meeting, trying to mail them things in the mail. You just do whatever it takes to get that relationship started, get that first meeting, and then nurture and build upon it from there.
This is stuff that takes often and over a year to start to see actual revenue realized from this, but it’s a super powerful tactic that if you’ve got the relentlessness and you’re willing to have someone tell you no and still keep going after them, then it works well. It’s not for the faint of heart or the people who are adverse to selling.
John: Well if you want some impetus for starting a podcast, Jake just gave it to you. A great reason to start a podcast is to interview your top 25 dream clients. It would be great content and it’ll open the door at least, because that person’s going to respond to, “I want to interview you” a lot more than, “I want to come tell you about our company.”
Jake: Yeah, and that’s the thing. I wish I had a podcast back when I did my own Dream Client campaign because that’s what I tell so many people to do now. Just start a podcast and interview your target customers. You’re going to learn so much and build relationships with them, and build relationships with other partners in that space. It’s one of the best tactics I’ve ever started. It’s been great.
John: I know you also do some lead mining for organizations with a newer venture called Lead Cookie where you’re helping people identify and engage folks on LinkedIn. Tell us a little bit. I’m going to set this up by saying that I think there’s a lot of companies out there doing that. It’s a pretty hot thing right now. I personally know that I get a lot of spammy stuff on LinkedIn. Help us understand, is there a way to do this that is both effective and is not going to come off spammy?
Jake: The whole psychology that we take with it is that people don’t want to be sold; they want to buy. That’s kind of the whole mentality that we basically take with this approach. When we’re reaching out to people, we’re never just saying, “Hey, buy our services” because there’s a lot of that junk you get on LinkedIn. It just annoys me and I don’t even read it whenever I realize it. What we’ll typically do is reach out and just start something very casual, just saying, “Hey, I saw you had a similar interest in design thinking,” or we’ll try to build on a similar interest or something about the industry. Just say, “Hey, thought I’d reach out and connect,” something very low friction. That’s the initial connection request, just something very low and casual and saying that they looked interesting, or you saw that they were interested in this and thought you’d connect with them. That’s the simple one, and then after that, whenever they accept it we send them another message that’s, once again, not sales-y. We’re saying, “Hey, thanks for connecting. Let me know if you’re interested in talking more ever. I look forward to talking with you,” or just, “Have a great wee” or something like that.
We put a little tagline in there, and this is the signature where we just put kind of a simple maybe five to ten words that’s going to position you. We were talking about Juliet before this, but hers is “I help franchisors track franchisees through marketing.” Find some short and sweet little tagline that you put as the signature to all those. The idea is that you’re never actually pitching them, but some people see that and they say, “Oh hey, I’m interested in learning more” or, “Tell me more about what you do.” By doing that, people start to come to you and start to say, “Hey, I’m interested in learning more” or, “I’m looking to find more franchisees” or something like that. That simple thing of just putting the tagline in there to position yourself properly but not making the pitch and letting them come to you is the approach that we’ve taken. It’s been working really well.
John: When I talk to anybody about LinkedIn as a marketing tool regardless of industry, the first place everybody goes is cleaning up your profile. I’m not going to ask you how important that is because I know the obvious answer you’re going to say, “Important.” What are some ways that can make your LinkedIn profile work for you?
Jake: Again, the biggest thing is that tagline that you have there. The tagline that you put on your profile, which is like the first thing you see under your name, is pretty much the most important thing. Whenever we work with our clients, that’s where we put most of the focus on getting that 100% right because we’ll use that in the messages we send out. It also appears anywhere on LinkedIn that you post on your newsfeed or you comment on someone, or you’re in the messenger window. That tagline is everywhere. Getting that right and positioning that, and I’m sure, John, you’ve got other content out there on how to do some proper positioning-
Jake: Getting that positioning just right is probably the single most important piece of it. Then the rest of it is to make sure that your profile isn’t just about you. A lot of people just start writing all their credentials and their work history. No one really cares about that. You switch it and you take almost a kind of sales page format or start talking about the company and how you solve their problems, what you do for them and switching it around that, and then maybe having a little bit about you in there but really making it more about what you do for other people than making it about yourself.
John: It’s interesting because I do think the advice is “well nobody cares about that stuff.” There is a point they will care about that stuff, but they don’t care about that stuff first. All your credentials and who else you’ve done work for, and all the great services you offer. Once somebody knows you, likes you, and trusts you, then that stuff does become important. I don’t think we’re saying never have any of that, but there is a journey that they have to go on before that stuff I think is important.
Jake: Yeah, I like to lead in with something about them and maybe even just do a line break and then have the part about you. I think that’s a good, simple way to frame that.
John: We’ve been actually designing websites that way today. Above the fold on the homepage needs to be a big honking problem statement that is accompanied by a promise for you to solve that. I think people have to get drawn in that way because a lot of times, I find anyway, most people, many businesses anyway, know something’s wrong but they haven’t necessarily attached their problem to your solution. You’ve got to help them make that connection.
Jake: That is exactly right.
John: There is, and this I did a little bit of snooping on Lead Cookie to find this. I had not heard of this tool called Dux-Soup, which is a little tool that I think you employ in helping drive traffic to somebody’s LinkedIn profile with the idea that if people are visiting it, maybe they’ll find something they like there. You want to talk about that Chrome extension?
Jake: Yeah. There’s two of them out there that I’ve used and they’re both pretty good. There’s eLink Pro and Dux-Soup. There’s a bunch of other features to them, but typically I don’t like to use the automated messaging features because that just scares me to have a robot sending things on my behalf.
Jake: What we do use it for is there’s a tool in there where you can basically put up a search que, so you build a really detailed search que of your target customers, and you tell Dux-Soup to go and it starts visiting profiles. It doesn’t message them, it doesn’t say anything to them; it just visits their profiles. If you’ve ever gotten those emails where you see the notifications from LinkedIn saying “so-and-so viewed your profile,” well what happens is you start showing up. If you’re doing 500 a day, that’s 2,500 a week that you’re showing up and that has viewed your profile section. Not everyone checks that, but you can still expect a good 5% to 10% of people will actually check that pretty regularly. If your tagline, once again all it shows is your name, photo, and tagline, if your tagline hooks them then they’ll click into your profile, read more, and then maybe they’ll connect back and actually engage with you. I typically see anywhere from 10 to 25 new connection requests every week coming through from running that plugin.
John: Do you need to have what LinkedIn calls a pro account to use a tool like that, or is it …?
Jake: Yeah, you upgrade to sales navigator. You can do it on premium, but it’s not as ideal as they’ve removed a lot of the search features. To do most of these tactics effectively that I’m talking about, you would have to use the LinkedIn sales navigator tool.
John: That’s where all the more advanced search functionality comes in.
Jake: Yeah, it gives you that advanced search functionality. It lets you search more people. You can get really detailed into who your ideal buyer is.
John: So, let’s say ultimately we’re not just trying to have nice, friendly conversations on LinkedIn; we’re trying to sell stuff. If we’ve targeted people and we have gotten their attention, and now we’re starting to engage, is there a point at which we can comfortably go in for a more sales-oriented, at least, “Hey, I’d like to make an appointment, I’d like to show you what we do?” Is that a natural progression or is there a point in which that just needs to be part of the campaign?
Jake: What we typically do is again, like I said, we take this approach where we try to get people to come to you. You have a lot of people that are asking you questions, or they’re maybe even asking you about your services or starting something that way. Sometimes, people respond and they’re just immediately showing some sort of interest or talking about their own paying point or need because your positioning has already set that up perfectly. Then the other thing that happens is sometimes that doesn’t quite happen, or sometimes people are just friendly and they just engage in a conversation. What we typically do there is what I try to tell people is to try to think through what are some questions you can ask that are going to position the conversation in a way that’s going to, first of all, help you qualify them and also keep the conversation going. I’ve been using this for my own consulting, which my tagline is “I help agencies and consultants win their dream clients.” A lot of times, I’ll compliment them and say, “Hey, your portfolio looks great. I love this project you did for so-and-so. How do you guys go about getting most of your clients?”
That’s a really good tell-tale sign for me on what they’re doing right now, and that’s going to help me qualify if they’re actually a good fit or not.
John: So then, obviously like you said, you’re engaging in a conversation. Is part of the goal, then, to move them off of LinkedIn?
Jake: Yeah, at some point once you actually get into a conversation or you identify the need, or you actually make that pitch or that ask at some point. If someone came back and they said, “Oh, we’re just doing word of mouth and referrals,” then I’ll say, “Oh, well I can probably help you with that or build up a new lead generation channel for you. Would you want to set up a time for a call?” Yeah, so I typically would then try to move that and push that to a phone call once you’ve got someone qualified or showing that interest. At that point, I typically recommend using some sort of booking widget or getting the conversation to email. I use Calendly a lot through LinkedIn just because you don’t have their email yet technically, unless you were to go hack LinkedIn and pull it out of there. Typically, you just try to do a booking widget or get their email so you can send them a calendar invite.
John: Yeah, I must admit, and I’ve shared this with other folks, I’m a big fan of Email Hunter, which is a Chrome extension that can help you find people’s email addresses, only because you’re going to use them in very responsible ways. Jake, we are in September of 2017 as we’re recording this, depending upon when people are listening to it. Is “Win Your Dream Clients” the book out yet, or when will it be out?
Jake: It is not out yet. It’s one of those that I started and I hit the pause button partially because Lead Cookie took off quite quickly. I had this idea for Lead Cookie. It was like, “Hey, I’m going to try this out” and pretty quickly, I had a full-fledged business that is scaling really quickly, so the book has slightly been put on the back burner. I have the majority of it written, but need to finish it out at some point, which will happen but not quite sure when I’m going to actually get that one released.
John: Ah, okay. What’s the best place you want to send people? Obviously leadcookie.com is one of them, but where else would people find out more about the work you’re doing there?
Jake: Yeah, leadcookie.com would be the main site and then also where I put all of my podcasts, and I also blog on a regular basis and where the book will eventually be published is at jake-jorgovan.com. Or, they can go to workingwithoutpants.com if they want to find the podcasts there and see a picture of me without pants on.
John: Well, we will have links to all of that in the show notes. We probably will not have a picture of you without on your pants on. We’ll save that for your visit to your website.
Jake: That sounds good.
John: Jake, thanks for joining us and hopefully we’ll run into you out there on the road someday.
Jake: Thanks a lot, John.
John: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Wondering if you could do me a favor: could you leave an honest review on iTunes? Your ratings and your reviews really help, and I promise I read each and every one. Thanks.