Agency Owners – Here’s The Growth Strategy You’re Missing

Dennis Yu Speaking at InOrbit’s Conference

As an agency owner you’re bombarded with “advice” on how to acquire new clients everyday.

“Send 1,000 cold emails a day, call up every business owner you know, work 100 hours for free!”

But let me ask you something; instead of spending your valuable time closing clients, wouldn’t it be better spent delivering results for them?

These results should be standard and repeatable following SOPs. In that if you do a good enough job at delivering, you can keep them forever.

We call this adhering to our Are You Googleable Standard.

As someone who’s been in digital marketing for 20+ years – I’ve heard wild stories about the lengths agency owners go to get clients. There’s one thing in common across every industry:

The focus is always on lead flow – never on results.

But agencies that work with us seldom have a lead problem since they’re competent and pass our training. As a result, when a specific business owner who fits into a local service category needs help, they’re referred to an agency owner within our network.

Take Danny Leibrandt as an example. This week he spoke with me at Digimarcon in San Diego.

He serves pest control companies and while it’s highly unlikely that any pest control companies will be in the audience, he got on stage anyways.

So why even speak?

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Danny Leibrandt On Stage At DigiMarcon in San Diego

If you’re a sales bro you might view this as a waste of time. After all, how does flying across the country to educate strangers who aren’t his target market make him money?

The answer:

We’ve Built a Referral Network Based on Competency

When our agency friend who serves just HVAC companies gets approached by a pest control company, he knows to send them to Danny.

Because each of these agencies in our network are sending leads to each other and because everyone has built a solid reputation backed by results, they’re all growing with ZERO cold outreach.

Instead, we actively share what we know, holding nothing back.

Last week the owner of a $25 million roofing company reached out to me for help with his SEO.

I could have easily charged him $10,000 a month.

Instead, we sent him to another team member.

Or take a look at Parker Nathans, who’s flown with me and spoken at conferences in Dubai and around the country. 

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Parker Nathans and Dennis Yu in Las Vegas, NV

Just now he’s been busy pulling all nighters to ensure client success – and none of them were signed from cold emailing strangers.

Wouldn’t you agree that an inbound warm lead is much better than cold spamming a ton of prospects to get on a “discovery call”?

Wouldn’t you rather work with people who already trust you and aren’t shopping for the cheapest vendor?

There’s three major benefits using this growth strategy:

1. Potential Clients Trust Us Without Any Sales Gimmicks

We’re intentionally specific with who we work with.

In fact, if you don’t fall into an LSA category, there’s a big chance you’ll be turned down on the spot. This is to ensure client success since a quick $2k onboarding payment isn’t worth risking the reputation of agency owners and our network as a whole.

We don’t need to beg and plead to sign clients. Every time we onboard a new business, they’re enthusiastic to pay us because we lead with knowledge and genuinely care about their success.

And this isn’t one of those “lead with knowledge to get the sale” sales bro tactics either – it’s genuinely putting the client on a pedestal since our reputation is everything.

And because each agency owner passes training, we leverage the trust of others. Kind of like if a close friend suggests you to listen to a song, you’ll probably listen to it.

If we diagnose the issue in a business, we suggest a solution which best meets their goals.

The “close” isn’t necessary.

2. No Cold Outreach Is Required 

There’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on referral programs or cold emails. In fact, there’s almost no need to message strangers at all, for anything.

We simply refer clients to whoever is best positioned to success within certain categories.

Meaning we spent no time with outreach – only time diagnosing problems and recommending solutions like a doctor in the emergency room.

If you have knee pain – we’ll put you in touch with a knee specialist. Sore throat? We have a guy for that. The simple fact that we do have a guy for each of these problems by itself means our referral network is constantly growing with no outreach.

We have a team of experts in areas like Local Service Ads, WordPress, Google My Business, Facebook ads, Google Tag Manager, etc— as well as our larger network to tap into.

Pretty neat, huh?

3. Clients Keep The Businesses They Get

The main reason agency owners struggle with clients is because they’re incompetent at their job.

Whether it’s not keeping clients in the loop or not delivering a return-on-investment with ad spend, clients churn and the hunt for more clients begins.

Hence why we have a standard all agency owners must pass before being invited into our network.

Once they are indeed competent, they focus efforts on client success instead of client outreach – meaning their MRR continues rising every month since no one is churning.

Wouldn’t you rather your income rise 20% month-over-month, all while spending $0 on cold outreach?

This is the type of network you can’t buy your way into.

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Dennis Yu Eating Dinner With Roger Wakefield

The idea for AYG (Are You Googleable) came from Roger Wakefield and the idea is to build a network to put home service businesses first.

We care more about how competent you are than how much money you’re making, since your competency level is our reputational risk.

Most agencies pay 20% of their revenues in sales commissions and sales-related expenses.

Our strategy wipes out 100% of that cost.

But more importantly, builds a credible reputation for each agency owner– who no longer needs to try to pretend they can do everything for everyone on the planet.

Danny Liebrandt doesn’t need to know how concrete coating works – since we have a concrete coating guy. He specializes in pest control, and so we send him pest control clients.

What Would This Kind of Network Do for Your Agency?

Probably quite a lot. The good news is that even if you’re joe-shmo and don’t have an extensive network of referrals to rely on, you can still do a great job.

If you’re an agency owner – focus on building a network around you who you can refer clients to and vice-versa. Make sure you’re prioritizing results and relationships first.

Instead of cold outreach, there’s an easier, quicker, and more effective way for generating clients. Prioritize relationships and the rest will take care of itself.

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.