Category Archives for "Blog"

CRM & Automation – Interview with Lindsey Pickles

Lindsey Pickles

In today’s episode of the podcast we are talking all things CRM and marketing automation.

I am excited to have Lindsey Pickles from Bright Dials on the podcast. Bright Dials helps companies get to grips with their customer data by implementing customer relationship management (CRM) systems and marketing automation tools as well as the processes to support their successful use.

Time stamp

1.03 Who is Bright Dials?

1.35 Definition and difference of a CRM and marketing automation system

2.34 Why is it so important for companies to implement CRM and Marketing automation? 

3.10 What would you say to someone who doesn’t have a CRM in place and doesn’t have customer data stored in one place?

5.27 How do you start untangling where they are at right now and what they need?

8.40 What does volume costs mean?

9.35 At what stage should an agency start investing in CRM and automation?

10.24 Efficiency gains from using these tools    

11:55 Understanding your numbers and data  

13:00 How do you select the best tools

14:14 What is your view on one tool that can do it all rather than using individual tools and integrating them together?

16:36 Example tools you can use  

18:49 If you are new, what should you do next?   

20:10 Customer journey mapping

22:45 Closing the leaky bucket

23:00 If you could go back in time and give your younger self, just starting out in business, one piece of advice, what would it be?

Useful links:

You can contact Lindsey:



Terminology guide

Download The Self-Running Implementation Book

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/follow on Apple, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much.

Business Development Strategies (part 3)- why you can’t rely on referrals

Rod Da Costa Business Development

In today’s episode, we wrap up this mini-series on business development. 

Today my focus on is why you shouldn’t rely on referrals and word of mouth for new business – especially in the current environment. I explore how to build proactive campaigns that engage with your target audience and move them through the sales process until they become a client.


1:10 Why doesn’t word of mouth referrals work as your major form of business development

1:35 The impact of remote working

2:00 The risk of relying on one form of new business

3:00 Most business development strategies have a medium to long term impact

3:30 One short term business development strategies strategy

4:00 The key is consistency and persistence

4:44 The importance of focus

5:00 My own experience with this podcast

5:50 The importance of niche and defining your ideal target customer

6:00 Meeting your audience where they are at

8:00 Addressing your ideal target customer’s “pains and gains”

8:25 Nurturing content

8:50 The 3 stages of your sales funnel

9:14 Don’t expect results in the short term but you need to start today!

10:08 Should you outsource business development?

11:15 Nurturing referrals and word of mouth 

Useful links:

eBook: Defining You Ideal Target Customer

eBook: Finding Your Niche

Download The Self-Running Implementation Book

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/follow on AppleSpotify, or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much.

Business development strategies (part 2) – Interview with Darryl Sparey

Darryl Sparey

In part 2 of the business development interviews, we chat about what is working and what isn't working in this new predominantly online world of doing business.

We explore some mistakes that agencies are making and how to avoid them.

Time stamp

1.05 Introduction to this week’s guest, Darrly Sparey from Hardnumbers

2.21 What changes have you seen in the business development landscape in 2020?

3.20 Why you should not be embarrassed to sell    

4.00 Don’t make it about you!

5.08 Earning the right to sell to your audience

6.14 Applying a similar right approach to your website    

8.10 Where does your website fit in the sales process

9.10 How you present yourself to a prospective client

9.42 Your point of difference

11:25 The Ideal Customer Profile

12:25 Should I be selling in this challenging time?  

14:45 Why you should not be cutting your marketing budget right now! 

15.39 As an agency owner, what should you focus your money and time on?

16:18 Create a list of your dream clients

17:00 Don’t just focus on existing clients

17:43 What does building relationships look like in this new ‘online’ world?

18:45 Using communities to build relationships

19:44 What is working and what isn’t working right now?

20:20 We are not working from home we are living at work

21:20 Be an enabler for networking for your clients & prospects

23:10 The benefits of being in a group/community

23:36 How do you cut through the online noise?

25:46 What is the one thing you would not recommend agencies doing right now

26:45 Consistency and persistence is key

28:45 Make your business development time non-negotiable

29:25 Revenue, strategy and admin

30:00 The importance of a CRM system

31:00 What advice would you give your younger self?

32:30 What is your notional hourly rate?

Useful links:

You can contact Darryl via Twitter @darryls and @hardnumbers

eBook: Defining You Ideal Target Customer

eBook: Finding Your Niche

Download The Self-Running Implementation Book

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/follow on Apple, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much.

My Top 17 Productivity Tools & Apps

do more

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again to do a round-up of my favourite tools and it’s been quite a change for me!

I am a big believer in using software tools and apps to help us become more efficient. Simply, by automating as many of those recurring mundane tasks as possible, to allow us to be more organised and productive.

To that and I tell my clients they need to do one of the four Ds:

and I’ve added a fifth element to this:

So in this blog, I want to share with you some of the tools that I have experimented with and spotlight the ones that have made an impact for me.  This is all about becoming more efficient and automating tasks rather than getting distracted by shiny new objects. Trust me, for everyone one tool I mention here, I tried at least 5 others! That lead me to want to share my experience and advice with you. I wasted loads of time trying tools that promised a lot and delivered little and I don't want you to make the same mistake!

Listed below are the key categories I think every business needs to look at and then the tools I have personally used.

Stuck for time?

Download this blog as a PDF short cheatsheet to read & share it at your leisure

All-in-One Integrated Tools

But before I jump into a review of my favourite tools I want to share the big change that I made this year.

I decided to try and consolidate a plethora of tools I use (many of which are listed below) to run my business, with as few tools as possible. That meant consolidating my email automation, my online content delivery, video hosting and many others, into ideally one platform.  Let me explain the rationale behind this:


This was my primary driver in that I became frustrated at getting the various tools I used to communicate with each other.  I often ended up using Zapier (and yet another cost) to try ‘tape together’ one tool feeding into another.  This was frustrating and never quite did what I needed it to do. 

Also using a set of disparate tools meant I had less analytical data to act upon. For example, if someone watched 20% video then do ACTION A but if they watched 100% of the video then do ACTION B.  With a set of disparate tools, this kind of analysis and behaviour is not easily possible.


A secondary driver was cost.  When you add up the cost of all of the annual subscriptions of about 10 different tools I use, it amounted to several thousand pounds a year.  So was there a more cost-effective way of getting the functionality I needed in fewer tools?

Based on these 2 drivers, I started exploring the options and it came down to 3 platforms:

  • Kartra ($1 for a 14-day trial and then from $99/month)
  • Kajabi (free 14-day trial and then from $119/month currently)
  • Builderall ($1 for a 30-day trial and then from $99.90/month)



Kartra Home Page

$1 for a 14-day trial and then from $99/month

In the end, I chose Kartra, it seemed robust, could do most of what I needed it to do and was cost-effective.

Now, I don’t want to do a full review of Kartra in this blog because there are plenty on the Internet already but let me tell you the tools I was able to consolidate and stop paying an annual fee for once I moved to Kartra:

  • ConvertKit (email marketing)
  • Teachable (online courses)
  • Calendly (scheduling)
  • Thrive Architect (website design)
  • Vimeo (video hosting)

So collectively these add up to more than my monthly fee for Kartra.  But, more importantly, because I am using the same tools on one integrated platform, each tool talks with each other in a seamless way. This makes my customer's experience a smoother one, and provides me with more analytical data.

Now before we move on, I need to give an honourable mention to GroovePages.  This is a product created by one of the founders of Kartra and is something that I have invested in, in the hope that I may be able to move everything from Kartra to GroovePages in the future (because it adds even more functionality such as live broadcasts and webinars). However, it is still in beta development so I don’t feel it is reliable enough yet to move my whole business on to this platform.  If you are interested in exploring it, whilst it’s still in beta, you can get FREE lifetime access to it.

OK so that is my rationale for consolidating a number of tools into one platform. The list below outlines individual tools and they may well be better suited to your specific business needs. I have put them into categories to help with reading.

OK on with the other tools.

Broadcasting tools

As well as recording content for my online courses, I have been running webinars and live broadcasts.  So here are the tools that have helped me get more slick, speedy and professional.




FREE for a personal plan or from £119.90/year for teams & business plans

This doesn’t need much of an introduction since I’m sure most readers will know about Zoom.  I use it for my private coaching clients and also for my group coaching calls as part of The Self-Running Agency Programme (screen from last week's call below):

The Self-Running Agency



FREE up to 100 x 5 min videos

I still love Loom because it saves me so much time.

On a daily basis, I have clients asking me questions or asking me to review documents (I never want my clients to be stuck so encourage this).  Before using Loom I would spend ages crafting an email response.

Now I simply open their email or document, turn on Loom and review their document in real-time on camera and send them the Loom video in response. I estimate this is making me around 50% more efficient when it comes to responding to the client's emails.

Now let me tell you a secret here: often when I get prospects emailing me, rather than sending them an email back I will use Loom to shoot a short video which is personalised to them.  This is a great way of impressing them and building empathy that you can't achieve through a one-dimensional email.




FREE for up to 5 attendees or from £9.60/month for larger groups

I talked about LiveWebinar last year and I'm still using this for the time being for marketing webinars that I run.  However, I will be moving to GroovePages when they launch their webinar technology.

I also want to give an honourable mention - a great tool if you do Facebook lives.



Vimeo (and YouTube)


As I've mentioned, I have moved my video hosting to Kartra but I'm still currently using Vimeo until my licence runs out. It is still a great platform!

I use Vimeo for short promotional videos that I may not want in the public domain. The advantage Vimeo has (over YouTube) is how you can control what the user sees and embed calls to actions etc. Vimeo also offers higher quality video.  

It enables you to remove all their branding and offers more features and customisation opportunities (such as password protection and analytics).

Design and layout tools

We all need to make sure our output is professional yet we don't want to be spending tons of money using designers all the time.  

Here are a few of my favourite tools to solve this problem.




FREE for single-use or from £107.88/year for multiple users & additional functionality

This is great for creating social media images, eBook covers and other graphics. It is really simple to use and saves me a ton of time, especially if I start with one of their predesigned templates or image sizes. 

This year I switched to a paid version of Canva. It adds additional functionality such as resizing, removing backgrounds and animation. 




I use a lifetime Pro version (no reoccurring fees) that costs £90

If you create a lot of PDFs and e-books then this is a really useful tool (although you can also use Canva to perhaps more easily create some of this content).

Another useful function is that you could take a blog post and import the contents and automatically create an e-book from it.

Web development



If you have a WordPress website then this is my favourite tool to use to easily create engaging websites using lots of beautifully designed templates (however if you've read this far you will know that I have moved from WordPress from my website to Kartra).

It's a WYSIWYG builder that sits on top of WordPress and makes it super easy to create new landing pages.  It's easy to connect to your email marketing system and do other clever things such as A/B headline testing, creating demand and scarcity by using countdown timers, writing quizzes and so much more.

This is one of the more affordable tools in this category. I am a ThriveThemes member and I pay about £175 a year for all the tools and support and all upgrades. This is a fraction of the cost compared with other website building software.

External communications



I am still a fan of ConvertKit even though I have now moved my email marketing to Kartra.

I have used a range of email marketing automation tools over the years including MailChimp, MadMimi and ActiveCampaign but in the end, settled upon ConvertKit because its functionality met with my needs.  It is also more cost-effective and it’s easy to set up automations, (think sales funnels).  It plays well with other systems such as ThriveArchitect, Teachable and so on.



Free to try, then $99 / year

I am all about time-saving. In fact whilst this blog is about my favourite tools, it's all about using timesaving and efficiency tools and none are better than saving you time than LinkedHelper.

LinkedHelper is an app that enables you to automate some aspects of LinkedIn engagement (think of it as a sales funnel for LinkedIn).

So for example, you can send personalised connection requests to a targeted audience or you can send more detailed personalised messages to 1st connections.  I typically use it to find new ideal connections and also to let my audience know when I have some interesting things happening such as this blog being published or a new webinar.

Talking of LinkedIn, I also upgraded to Sales Navigator because I can drill down my search in more detail and create lists and 'tag' contacts.

Now a word of caution here: LinkedIn doesn't like these automation tools so use it carefully and don't use it to spam your contacts!

When you find a contact in LinkedIn but there is no email or phone number in that contact's profile then RocketReach is the tool to use.  

It is free and will find someone's email address if that is at all possible.

Select from dozens of search criteria to narrow your search, and then lookup personal emails, professional emails and direct-dial phone numbers for your matches.





Here is a tip if you're a Mac user: if you press the function key twice it brings up the microphone and you can dictate voice to text (this is how I'm writing this blog).  

This massively speeds up my content creation.  But don't worry, if you're not a Mac user you can also click on the dictation microphone in Word or Google Docs etc.

This has two big advantages:

  1. Firstly, it speeds up the creation of content because it's much faster to dictate than it is to type.
  2. Secondly, it also ensures that I capture my tone of voice in my written content. This is important because I want my users to have a consistent experience whether they are reading something, listening to my podcast or meeting me in person.  Voice to text ensures that I maintain that consistency.





FREE for 1 month, then from £10 / month

I started using Xero, which is an online finance app, some years ago to streamline my bookkeeping.


The thing I like about Xero is it speaks to you in plain non-accounting terms and it connects to your bank account making reconciliation very simple.

It also connects directly with my accountants, which means they can rescue me when I make a mistake and submitting my end of year accounts is much simpler than it used to be.




FREE 14-day trial then £120 / year

Receipt bank is a sister tool that works well with Xero.

I don't know about you, but in the past I have been terrible at submitting all my receipts. ReceiptBank removes this issue by making it very easy to simply take a photograph of a receipt, which it then digitises.  

You can then submit these receipts directly to Xero -  making the process very straightforward.  This one saves me a ton of time and a ton of money!

Planning and organisation tools


Google Drive

FREE for 15GB storage, from £1.59/month for more

I love Google Drive and have slowly moved all my client work from my drive to Google.

This has the huge advantage of easily being able to share docs.  You can quickly invite others to view, download, and collaborate on all the files you want–no email attachment needed. It ensures that both you and your clients are collaborating on the same version of the document. 

You can keep photos, stories, designs, drawings, recordings, videos, and more. You can access these docs anywhere, so wherever you go, your files follow.

It also protects you against a hard disk drive dying (which happened to me this year) and losing all your data.


I am a big proponent of getting super organised and if you have read any of my previous content, you’ll know that I am a fan of "morning and evening rituals" (thanks to Michael Hyatt’s Free to Focus book).

In the process of trying to be super organised, I've tried several tools to help me manage my to-do lists.  Last year I  started using another tool (with a stupid name but a good product) called Amazing Marvin. 

I had a free trial and now have upgraded to an annual license. Amazing Marvin is a task and to-do list manager.  It integrates with my calendar and enables me to create daily and weekly to-do list.  I can cross tasks off as I get them completed (and you know the importance of seeing items ticked off and crossed out as you complete them).  

I appreciate everyone has their way of managing their time but give this tool a go!




Free to use Chrome extension

This one was a game-changer for me.

I don't know if you're like me but during the day I open way too many web browser windows and tabs.  I then struggle to find what I'm looking for so I end up opening yet another tab!

Well thankfully I have found a solution to this and now I am much more in control and have way fewer tabs opened.

And that's all thanks to this chrome browser extension called Toby (another rather stupid name!).  

This enables me to create a frequently used library of tabs and put them into various categories.  Now when I open my chrome browser the first thing I see is the library of tabs.

As I said this is a game-changer for me.

In Summary

My Top 5 Favourite Apps

  • Kartra
  • Loom
  • Voice to Text Dictation
  • Canva
  • Linked Helper

In Conclusion

I spent (wasted!) a lot of time researching and playing with tools and apps and I have shared with you my top 17 best productivity and time-saving tools - so you don't have to waste time searching the web and trialling 100s of tools to find the ones that work for you.  

If you have any of your favourites that I did not mention, I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and please share this article with your colleagues.


Download the Productivity Tools eBook

A quick cheat sheet of my top 17 productivity tools. 

Make sure you check both boxes below otherwise I won't be able to send you the eBook!

5 tips to improve your website

5 tips to improve website

Welcome to today’s episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast.

It drives me crazy that so many websites fail to truly serve their audience, so much so that I decided to record a episode of the podcast on this topic.

I recently posted on LinkedIn about this and it generated lots of opinion including some conflicting viewpoints to my own which I always love and show that this is an important topic.

If you follow my podcast or regularly read these emails you will know I am a big fan of making your website the “centre of your marketing and business development universe” and that means all of the various biz dev activities, such as email marketing and social media, should drive traffic to your website and then when the reader gets there, it should be really clear about the action you want them to take next. It also means making your website more than just 'brochureware'.

Yet most websites fail to do this.....

Instead, so many marketing agencies pay little attention to their website but rather make it look the same as their competition following the same old designs. For example, they start off by saying how great THEY are & what THEY can do for YOU! 

This is a typical website header (taken from a random agency website I found on Google):

'We’re a creative design consultancy. For fifteen years we’ve been creating and redefining brands, helping our clients stand out and be more successful'

Let's explore what is wrong with this:

1.  Your website should very quickly demonstrate who it is aimed at & show that you understand your audience so that it motivates the viewer to want to read on. So talking about what you do at this stage, is completely wrong! And this headline gives no clue as to who they help.

2.  If your website is full of 'We' then you need to change your language to make it about YOUR CUSTOMER, not YOU (at least at first).

3.  The “above the fold real estate” of your website is super valuable & you want to make it clear what you want your reader to do next. That usually means adding in a button to download something of value (e.g. an eBook, a top tips sheet or a tool) in return for their email address.

Bear in mind in this part of your website you want to show your customer that you really understand their pain points and then show how you can solve them. So for me, I might say on my website “Is your agency taking one step forward and one step back?” or “Are you frustrated that you can’t win a consistent flow of ideal clients?” or “Do you wish your staff would step up?” I know these are some of the key pain points and if a viewer were reading these and they fit my ideal target customer profile, then they would be inspired to read on because they would feel the website was talking directly to them! 

4.  Using a "subscribe to my mailing list/newsletter" or "contact us" link is a waste of time because people who don't know you will rarely jump to this stage of the sales process (and without being a mind-reader, I bet you get few enquiries/leads this way). 

Remember you need to build KNOW-LIKE-TRUST before someone will buy from you.

5.  Be clear what you want your website to be: If it’s just ‘brochureware’ then you're missing out on a great opportunity to use it as a lead generator.

As I said, there seems to be comfort in conformity, in that if you look like every other agency then it’s easy, safe and you are not rocking the boat.

But surely it would be better to buck the trend & look different, and that starts by showing your ideal target customer you really understand them and their pains (that your product or service can solve).

Useful links:

Download The Self-Running Implementation Book

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/follow on Apple, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much.


Business development strategies (part 1) – Interview with Brad Smith

Brad Smith

In a challenging world, word of mouth and referrals may be drying up as we do less face to face meetings so in this episode of the podcast I interview Brad Smith from Succeed.Digital and we talk all things business development.

Time stamp

2:26 Who is Succeed.Digital?

3:10 What are the biggest changes you have seen in the agency landscape in 2020?

Two types of agency: 

-      Those who went into lockdown mode and tried to hold out and their business has fallen off a cliff!

-      Those who used this opportunity to look at new ways at doing thing from their sector, type of work and service to clients

6.20 Word of mouth & referrals has dried up

There is no better way of winning new business by referrals because they are ‘warm leads’ so you should have a referral programme in place. However, this cannot be the only form of business development

8.00 Inconsistent consistency – you cannot base your business dev strategy solely on referrals. It should form a maximum 25% of your new business strategy

10.15 You have no control of when referrals come in or the quality of the referral or if they fit into your niche

12.00 New business strategies need to focus beyond the next 3 months. Sales need to focus on the next 12 months and use multiple channels.  . Most agencies are short term quarterly focused.

16:00 Introducing new services when you need more sales

Understanding your customer needs and researching and validating new ideas before you launch

18:00 5 questions to ask clients to build stronger relationships with your clients

N – Now:

“What is the most valuable service we provide you now?”

E – Enjoy:

“What do you really like/enjoy about working with us?”

A – Alter:

“What would you most like to alter about the way we work we with?”

D – Decide:

Decide: “What made you decide to choose us?”

S – Stay:

“ What would make you stay with us over the next 2 - 3 years and beyond?”

23:40 At what stage would you have these conversations with a client?

 24:40 Don’t assume you know what your clients want!

25:57 What 2-3 tips would you advise someone to do it they need new clients now?

29:50 Know me, Like me, Trust me, Help me

32:30 Outbound sales and marketing strategies

Useful links:

You can contact Brad at [email protected]

Validation guide for launching a new product or service

Download The Self-Running Implementation Book

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/follow on Apple, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much.


Why you should not rely on referrals to get new business

Welcome to today’s episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast.

If you get most of your business from existing clients and referrals then this podcast episode is an important one to listen to.

When I meet a new client or prospect and I ask them how they get their new business they will often tell me rather proudly that they get all of their business from referrals and existing clients and they have no other major business development strategy then they’re in for a bumpy ride. 

In this episode I explore what is wrong with solely relying on this strategy for your business development and why, even if it’s working for you now it probably won’t work for you at some point in the future. So, before you hit a deep famine period you need to put in a more proactive business development strategy that will provide you with a constant stream of ideal target clients.


1.00 Do you get all your business from referrals and existing clients?

1.28 If so you are in for a bumpy ride!

1.51 What is wrong with this strategy?

2.27 You have no control as to when referrals come in, the frequency and their quality

3.17 Making your network your sales team

3.50 What do you do if you need new business NOW?

5.15 The concepts of a sales funnel

6.13 How NOT to use LinkedIn to build business!

7.00 How to sell a bottle of water

7.54 Nurturing your audience through the KNOW-LIKE-TRUST journey

8.27 Many agencies are poor at the middle part of the sales funnel

8.45 The importance of providing value to your audience

9.50 Why providing value 80% of the time and 20% selling is the right balance

10.25 The importance of building your mailing list

10.54 The 3 stages of converting a prospect to a customer

11.29 Why cold outreach doesn’t work

11.50 The importance of your website to generate leads

12.52 How I make this work on my website

13.18 What should you be giving away as ‘gated content’

13.55 The importance of building your mailing list – get started today!

14.25 How to come up with email content ideas (see link below)  

15.00 A simple marketing strategy

16.11 Your customers are ready to buy when they are ready to buy not when you want them to!

16.47 Do a few things really well and consistently – keep monitoring, measuring and refining

18:20 You need to start TODAY!

Useful links:

Blog on email marketing (you can also download the Content Twister I mention in the podcast here).

Grab a copy of my book (which in itself will provide a ton of value) and see how my email nurturing sequences works.

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/follow on AppleSpotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much,


Winning New Business In A Challenging Climate


The world is in turmoil. That’s a hell of a statement to begin an article with but after everything that’s happened this year, you can’t doubt its truth. With a pandemic (yay COVID-19), race relation issues, wildfires, Brexit (sorry to mention that!) and an economy that is tanking faster than you can say “Where’s all my business gone?” the world has become an increasingly challenging place for everyone.

The workplace is no different and if you work in the marketing agency sector, you may find yourself faced with a variety of challenges that necessitate adaptation and transformation or risk finding your business heading the way of the dodo.


But I’ve always believed that even in the most challenging of economic environments, it is still possible to win over customers and keep revenue flowing. We might have to work harder and, more importantly, smarter than we would normally but business doesn’t stop even if the world seemingly has. Over the years I’ve managed to fight through some of the most difficult times and come out the other side both wiser and relatively unscathed (I started my agency in a recession and started my coaching practice during the financial crisis of 2007!).

Here are a few tips so you can do the same:

The importance of building a mailing list

The importance of building a mailing list cannot be underestimated. Here is a really important point to ponder:

With a mailing list, you own the details of the people who are interested in what you do. Many marketers ignore keeping their own list in favour of social media. But the problem with social media is that in essence, it is ‘rented space’. You are only ‘borrowing’ the information of the people you come into contact with and at any moment it can be taken away. To highlight this let me tell you a quick story:

email list mailing list

Recently a story came to my attention of someone who had managed to accrue 10,000 followers on Instagram and was using this for most of their new business generation. 10,000 followers is a huge pool of potential clients and a great way to generate revenue. Unfortunately, this person got their Instagram account hacked and as a result, Instagram cancelled their account.

Overnight they lost not only 10,000 followers but 10,000 potential clients and their main source of revenue. If your main audience is based on social media, you need to actively move them to your mailing list to not only protect yourself in the event of a catastrophe such as in the story but to allow you to directly contact leads in any way you see fit.

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You are your company’s best salesperson

Here’s a question, “Who knows your business better than anybody else?” Let’s follow that question up with, “Who do you think is the best salesperson for your company?” The answer to both questions for many businesses is most likely YOU!

You built your business from the ground up and understand everything there is to know about it. As a result, you are the person best placed to explain it to others and extol its many benefits and virtues. Who else has as much passion for what you do as you? You can hire dozens of sales professionals to help sell your marketing business but at the end of the day, they will never be as good as you at selling your company.

Qualify leads to save time, effort, and money

Every business needs a way to make money. To make money you need conversions or sales. To get conversions you need leads. That’s how simple running a business is. Marketing is no different. The problem is, leads are not always easy to come by and when they do arrive, you may find that many end up in a frustrating dead end. That’s why you need to qualify your leads properly to prevent wasting time, effort, and more importantly, money. In a difficult climate like the one we currently find ourselves in, it is even more vital that we focus our energy on those avenues that will actually generate revenue for us and not the many blind alleys we come across.


How do you qualify leads?

To understand how you can qualify leads you need to understand what lead generation is in the first place. Simply put, lead generation is the act of gathering information, such as names, addresses and email addresses, of people or companies that could benefit your business and, hopefully, generate sales. The goal of lead generation is to attract users to you, whether that means getting them to call you, talk to you in person, or visit your website and download something in return for their email address. But not all leads have the same value, and some may bring nothing but wasted time and effort to your business.

Knowing which of the many leads you come across to focus on and which should be left alone can be incredibly difficult. That’s why you need to find the right qualifying strategy to stop you chasing up blind alleys. Here are a few tips to get started.

Find a way to score your leads based on quality

Lead scoring is a great way to figure out which leads mean more to your business. Giving a value to each lead based on the information you have and how likely they are to convert allows you to focus on your best leads first before moving on to lower scoring ones later. How you score the leads will differ by business but will generally be based on the information collected. For instance, if a client has previously purchased marketing services from you or has shown an interest in a marketing field you specialise in, then they may score higher for you. You might score someone higher who has repeatedly interacted with your brand by filling in forms, making comments, or sharing and liking your content. Engagement with what you do is a great indicator that a client is interested in your services.

Get the right balance of information from your leads

The more information you have about a potential client, the easier it is for you to qualify them as a lead. If all you have is an email and a business name, you have no indication of how likely they are to buy into your services. But getting the right amount of information is not easy and there is a fine balance between getting what you need and overloading the customer with demands. Too many questions will turn away potential clients before they get anywhere near giving you their information. Make sure the questions you ask are pertinent to what you need while being as succinct as possible. This will allow you to figure out if the potential customer is worthy of your time or whether it would be better to prioritise efforts elsewhere. Once you have this information you can also assess the quality of your lead based on how much they interact with the email sequences that you will add them into once they have given you their email address.


Use a prescribed lead qualifying strategy

There are several different strategies for qualifying leads correctly, each with their own merits. Here are a few to try out for yourself:

CHAMP (Challenge, Authority, Money, Priority)

Champ is a way of looking at a client’s needs first and foremost and seeing if you have the right tools to help them, before moving on to asking, do they have the means and motivation to work with you? Here is a breakdown of the strategy:


What are the challenges, needs, and pains of the client? How can you help them, and do you have the skills they need?


Is the lead authorised to purchase your services? If they aren’t, can you find someone who is? If not, is the lead worth pursuing?


Does the potential customer have the money to buy from you? If there is any doubt in this area, move on to the next lead.


How urgently does the client need your services? If they are desperate and enough ‘pain’, they are more likely to buy. But you also need to ask yourself if you have the means to fulfil the order in the time frame they’ve set.

FAINT (Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, Timing)

The Faint lead qualifying technique prioritises money (that is, can the customer afford your services?) first and foremost before looking at the other aspects of qualification. Here is a breakdown of the technique:


Does the potential client have the necessary funds to purchase your services. If not, then don’t waste your time.  


Is the lead authorised to purchase your services? If they do not, can you find someone who is? If not, is the lead worth pursuing?


How interested is the lead in working with you? Do they seem keen or are they standoffish?  


Can you meet the potential customer's needs and have you the tools to deliver wat they want?


How quickly will the customer commit and if they do have you the resources to do the work they need?

Your customer is ready to buy when they are ready to buy

An important point to remind ourselves is that your customer is ready to buy when they are ready to buy not when you want them to buy! 

Now, of course, you want to create a sense of urgency for your clients to try and get them over the conversion line but based on the fact that it should be their timescales, not yours, emphasises the importance of building your mailing list and having regular communications to nurture them so you are still front of mind when they are finally in enough pain and ready to buy.

In conclusion

When times are tough like they are right now, money can still be made and new clients found but to do so you will have to work extra hard as well as extra smart to find it. If you maintain a healthy mailing list, sell your business yourself, and qualify leads effectively, nothing can stop you from being successful. Not even COVID.

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Virtualising Your Agency – Interview with Jim James

Virtual Agency

Welcome to today’s episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast.

I was really excited to have a chance to sit down and talk with Jim James from EastWest PR and learn all about how he runs an agency that is based in the UK yet serves clients in Asia we discuss how to set up the systems and processes how to recruit and manage staff when they are dispersed around the world.

Now I always tell my clients that it is very difficult to build an agency using freelance staff because it’s like building a business on quicksand however Jim shares a very different perspective to this and outlines exactly what he has done to build his agency using freelance and contract staff.

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2.10 Why did you move around from the UK to Singapore and China?

3.25  In the current environment we can work remotely but if you are working internationally how do you build relationships and overcome cultural differences?

5.05 How do you build relationships with journalists when you are based in a different country? 

8.50 The fundamental difference between Western media and Asian media

9.52 What does virtualisation of agencies and moving to the ‘UBER model’ mean?

14.09 The importance of building a platform to work with remote team members

14.54 The importance of the relationship between the owner and the external consultant and how you work out the financial splits

17.05 The advantages of adopting the UBER model in an agency

17.25 The flip side of how I advise my agency clients ‘that it’s difficult to build an agency with freelancers’

18.10 How do you find enough good freelancers that can deliver to the quality levels you and your client’s expect?

20.51 The importance of finding consultants with credibility and experience

22.19 The importance of having processes that are constantly and consistently used

24.00 Matching consultant’s contracts to client’s contracts

 24.46 Jim believes it’s easier to find freelancers than it is to find high quality in-house staff

25.36 If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be? This answer is one I haven’t had before!!

26.43 Where can people find out more about you?

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You can subscribe/follow on Apple, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much,


Getting off the Client Service Hamster Wheel Of Doom!


Do you want to avoid CSHWOD in your agency? 

It’s my new favourite term!

Many agencies tell me that they just don't have enough hours in the day because they are so run ragged, serving the demands of their clients, and they fear if they say NO they will lose the client. They end up stuck on the Client Service Hamster Wheel Of Doom (CSHWOD!). Let’s dig into this and explore some solutions.


02:09 Consider that when you say YES you are saying NO to something else

03.05 The first steps to changing this

3.15 Two kinds of change you need to make

4.06 Getting clear about your scope of work

4.37 Getting clear about service levels

6.13 Ring-fencing time to work ON your agency

7.32 Get stronger boundaries with clients and staff

9.33 Working with ideal target customers

10.23 Allocating time every week to work on your agency and support your team

12.05 Having respectful relationships with clients

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Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/ follow on iTunes, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much,


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