In this blog post, I’m going to reveal the methods I used to land some of our biggest clients at Stada Media. Like I always say, these methods won’t work for every single business. However, I hope that reading about my experiences will inspire you on your own entrepreneurial journey! Let’s begin…
Since the early days of cold calling, our tactics for finding clients have moved on a lot, and we avoid that particular one at all costs.
For me, cold calling reduces the odds of finding the right type of client for our business. It’s just making one phone call after another, playing the numbers game and not doing any due diligence or research. It may be a numbers game, but there’s a high chance that it’s the wrong numbers.
One thing that has led to a lot of inbound enquiries for us is our video production portfolio and online presence. However, that didn’t happen overnight – it’s all part of building momentum and something that comes with time and patience. One good video in your portfolio can increase your chances of getting new clients – meanwhile, 20 REALLY good portfolio pieces give you a much bigger chance. What’s more, in the end, those portfolio pieces end up doing the work for you.
Another couple of our biggest contributors to revenue in recent years have been 1) hiring a salesperson, and 2) activity on LinkedIn. Those two things have contributed more to sales (outside of me doing my own personal sales activity) than anything else.
Now, I’m going to break those down…
Hiring a salesperson
In around 2017/18, I hired a Business Development Manager (BDM), Catherine. It took me months to make this decision. I was worried about it, because you’re talking about a higher salary bracket. It was a big gamble and probably something we couldn’t afford at the time.
However, I decided that it WAS time. The company was vulnerable because I was the only person bringing in the sales. If anything happened to me, or if I had a bad period, it would stunt growth.
This was a massive investment (at the time, the single biggest investment the business had ever made) with a very demanding salary and bonus structure. However, the gamble paid off in just a few months with Catherine bringing regular 4/5 figure jobs into the business. She literally helped us almost double revenue in a single year, which was AMAZING.
Don’t work with your loved ones!
However, there’s a story here… I ended up in a relationship with Catherine. And, what do you know, this COMPLETELY ruined the working relationship! It’s true what they say: you should never work with loved ones. If you’ve been in a relationship and worked together at the same time, you’ll know exactly what that’s like, and you should avoid it at all costs.
However, I don’t regret it one bit. We have a beautiful little boy called Luke and a very happy little family, and I would take that any day over business success. Cat and I no longer work together and everything is hunky dory.
We got lucky, and I would do it all over again – and we have! We hired Ben Dews, our Director of Business Development, and he’s having a similar effect on the business.
Activity on LinkedIn
A handful of our clients came off the back of activity I was doing on LinkedIn, which worked an absolute treat. I sent a few personalised direct messages via LinkedIn to the key decision-makers of these businesses, and ended up bringing in over £100k in additional revenue.
A couple of these clients were contacts I already had who I’d admired for a while and really wanted to work with. However, the spend on this was zero. It cost me nothing. It took me about half an hour and a bit of research to write each message, and that was it.
That’s why LinkedIn is all about conversation and effort. I did my research before sending the messages, and I made plenty of the right kind of noise at the same time.
For example, I was already connected with the Managing Director of one of these businesses on LinkedIn. They were all over social media. I’d done my research, I’d written my direct message and I knew how I wanted to approach it.
The message went something like this:
Hope you’re well. I hope you don’t mind me getting in touch, as I’m sure you get this all the time. However, I loved your recent work that’s featured on your website – I thought it was so creative and innovative.
We’re a small in-house team of video production experts just up the road from you guys, and we would LOVE to work with you and your company. We’ve massively admired what you guys are doing for years now, and I’ve finally plucked up the courage to get in touch.
Then I told them about what we do, before reaching the most important part of my message…
We want to prove how good we are. We want to prove the value we can bring to your business. So, I’m happy for us to create a FREE promotional video for your agency. We’ll come and film at your workplace and we’ll put together a really cool, short corporate video. Not only that, but we will do the first video project for one of your clients at cost.
Again, this was a big gamble – but one I KNEW would pay off if we got our foot through the door.
It wasn’t a short message, but it wasn’t War and Peace either. I know people say not to write long messages, but it depends what the message is! If it needs to be long, it needs to be long – as long as it’s the right kind of message, and it’s not just blurb about how great you are.
Make sure they can’t miss you
When I hit send, I also did as much activity as I could across their social media channels: liking, sharing, commenting in one go. On top of that, I also sent them an email. So, my name was popping up all over the place!
The next day, I’m in Brighton doing a workshop on filmmaking. I get a phone call partway through the day…
‘Hi Danny, it’s [name] from [name] agency. My goodness! Your name popped up everywhere yesterday, what is going on?
‘But listen, I get a lot of these phone calls and emails from various agencies wanting to work with us. However, just because of your approach and the way you popped up everywhere, you did a really good job of grabbing my attention. I want to get you involved!’
Their account management team got in touch with us and gave us a couple of briefs to work with. As a result, they became one of our biggest clients for the next year and a half or so. We also had another two or three clients that came through that exact same method.
Today, we still use a similar format to find clients – and it works an absolute treat! I wish I had time to do it at scale, but as you’ll know, running a business is very time-demanding.
You can find me on LinkedIn here.
Growing a sales and marketing team
Today, I’m growing a sales and marketing team that can dramatically raise the visibility of our business and to help us get in amongst our biggest competitors in this space. I don’t know what’s happened, but recently, I’ve become REALLY competitive – aggressively competitive, in fact. I want us to be making a dent in the industry and I believe in what we do.
However, I don’t want us to grow TOO quickly. I want to make sure we’re getting everything right. That’s why I’m in the process of setting up this marketing and sales department.
Because of my experience of hiring my first BDM back in the day and doubling the revenue, I’m now all for making that investment into hiring the right kind of talent. It’s a big move for anyone running a small business.
You’re going to waste money on marketing
I’ve also wasted many thousands on marketing and advertising, and I believe this is part and parcel of finding the best marketing fit for your business. Some types of marketing work better for some businesses than others, but you have to try stuff out – and sometimes that costs money. I don’t care who you are or how great you think you are – you are going to waste money on marketing!
You’ve got to speculate to accumulate
We’re now at the stage where we want to dedicate at least 5% of our revenue on marketing spend to help make more of a dent in this marketplace. Now, more than ever, I’m a big believer in having to speculate to accumulate. You can’t rely on one specific channel for growing your business and increasing sales.
Sales and marketing are basically in bed together. Marketing feeds sales, and in the end, sales feeds marketing – it gives it ammunition and assets to go out and market the business. It’s a circular thing.
The reason why I’m growing my marketing team is that I need people who know a lot more about marketing than I do and can focus all their time and energy on MARKETING. At the minute, we’re a dot on a massive map, and I want us to be more visible to a lot more people. I can’t achieve that on my own.
I’m very much front-loading the business at the moment, but this means we’ll be able to cope with demand as we grow the back side of the business: the production and account management teams.
So, there you have it: just a couple of my secrets to sales success. These methods won’t work for every business, but they’re definitely what worked for us and the businesses we were targeting at the time!
If you’d like to chat with me more about finding clients, feel free to get in touch here or email me at email@example.com!