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The Seventh Commandment of Agency Ownership

Thou Shalt Attract Clients for thy Thinking Rather than thy Doing

The implementation is important. But it’s your thinking and strategy that’s supposed to attract clients.

Why did your client decide to work with you?

For many agency owners, clients work with them because they implement well. For example, say you specialise in content creation. A client asks you to deliver five pieces per month using XYZ as a keyword.

You pump out those five pieces every month.

The problem here is that you’re just maintaining a relationship. You’re not looking at why the client needs those posts or why they think that five monthly pieces will help them.

You’re not involved in the thinking side of things. And ultimately, that’s where your strength lies.

The Symptoms

There are several symptoms that suggest you’re attracting clients because of what you do rather than how you think.

The first is that you’re no longer dealing with the same people. You started the work with a strategy director as your point of contact. However, you’ve ended up getting shunted down the company and working with someone lower down.

They’re not asking you for ideas. Instead, they’re just making sure you’re delivering within a certain time frame.

The second symptom is that you notice clients lose interest every couple of years. You’ll have to look at your churn rate to see this.

You maintain the cycle of doing without thinking for a couple of years. The strategy director then revisits the relationship and sees a stagnant strategy. Thus, they end the relationship to get some fresh ideas.

Generally speaking, a lack of worthwhile communication is a big symptom here. If you’re not touching base regularly to talk about what to do next, your client isn’t using you for your thinking.

The Root Cause

The main reason why agencies decide to focus on doing over thinking is that they have more implementers on the team.

You have a lot of worker bees and you have to keep the bees busy. This is especially the case for agencies that bill based on time.

In the short term, it’s more profitable to just put as many people to work on doing things as possible. But in the long term, that means you’re not coming up with strategy.

Why You Should Fix the Issue

Clients will never grow with you if you’re always doing instead of thinking.

Let’s come back to the content creation analogy. A great content creator knows that true value doesn’t come from the quantity of content. It comes from the quality of the pieces.

One great piece of content could do more for your client than a dozen pieces churned out with little direction.

Thus, you should attract clients based on strategy. Get them invested in how you’ll help them grow rather than how much you can do.

Dev “The Thinker” Basu