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How to get hired: best practices to close a deal on Sortlist
How to get hired: best practices to close a deal on Sortlist

Our advices to start winning new clients.

Melania RANAIVOELISON avatar
Written by Melania RANAIVOELISON
Updated over a week ago

To improve your closing rate, you must understand how Sortlist works for businesses and what the process is from the first contact point until your meeting with the client.

We imagine that you would like to close all the opportunities you have applied to on Sortlist.

However, in order to reach that goal, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Why is the company using Sortlist?

  2. What was the customer experience of finding a provider prior to interacting with you?

    1. How did the company find Sortlist?

    2. What is the process followed on Sortlist?

    3. How to get the first meeting with a client?

    4. Always Be Closing

  3. What is the core added value of your firm?

  4. What is the company expecting from you as a provider?

  5. What can you do during the meeting to convince the company to work with you?

  6. How can you make sure that you have done a great follow-up and that you always close the deals?

Let's explore each one of those questions.

Why is the company using Sortlist?

Brand managers, CEOs and CMOs are using Sortlist to find a provider that matches both their budget and their industry knowledge. And they want to find it fast.

Furthermore, companies:

  • Cannot afford to spend months in searching for the best provider.

  • Do not have sufficient knowledge in-house to assess the quality of their future provider, the budget they need to invest in their project, and the criteria they must use for their research.

The digital industry is complex and continues to become much more complex with the disruption happening at all levels:

  • Devices,

  • Channels,

  • Socials,

  • Community empowerment,

  • Etc.

That is why companies use Sortlist to find a provider.

We want to enable all organizations to find the right partner for their project without any friction.

What is the customer experience of finding a provider prior to interacting with you?

Project owners looking for a provider use multiple channels to find the right partner:

  • Their network / mouth-to-ear,

  • The internet,

  • Social media,

  • The press,

  • Conferences and events,

  • Etc.

The search can be complex and these channels don't offer a guarantee of finding the right partner. That's why more and more companies are relying on Sortlist to guide them towards a provider that fits their needs and their culture.

How do companies find Sortlist? 

Companies find us mainly through organic search results and word-of-mouth but also thanks to our efforts in all of the previously mentioned channels.

What is the process followed on Sortlist? 

First, the project owner sends his/her request to our website by completing a dedicated form:

Once the company has completed the form, we then qualify it in order to create a complete briefing.

To do so, we add multiple information to it:

  • Email and phone number of the project holder,

  • The job position of the project holder,

  • The company's website,

  • The company's description,

  • The company's social media links,

  • The project's scope,

  • The client's budget,

  • The deadline,

  • The company's preferred type of agencies,

  • The client's availabilities to meet with agencies,

  • The client's contact preferences.

Once the briefing is completed, agencies with the highest relevancy score (i.e. the ones that match the most) will be selected and will receive the opportunity on their Sortlist dashboard.

The selected agencies receive a notification for each opportunity they receive:

The agencies can then decide to apply or decline the opportunity:

If the provider applies, it will then be able to contact the project owner in order to set up a meeting. Indeed, applying will allow the provider to:

  • Get access to the project owner's contact details.

  • Know the project owner's availabilities and directly book a meeting with him.

The goal for the provider, right after applying, is to set up a first meeting in order to get to know the client and make sure they are compatible.

How to get the first meeting with a client?

There are a couple of best practices to follow in order to get a first meeting with a client.

First, do not underestimate the first message you will send. You don't get a second chance to make a great first impression. Be sure to address any issues the customer raised in the briefing and respond to their specific needs. Pay attention to the small things: address the customer by his name, make sure not to make any spelling or grammar mistakes, etc.

Furthermore, make sure that your Sortlist profile is up to date and convincing. Customers are looking for experienced agencies. Your profile is where you show them that you're the right fit to get their job done. Demonstrate your expertise by showing your works, your skills and by adding reviews to your profile. Chances are high that the client will give a look at it before the meeting, so use it to make a great first impression.

However, even if you have a meeting with the project owner, nothing is finalized yet.

Always Be Closing

You will have to do A,B, & C:

A. Always present yourself and explain why you are the best provider for their project 

B. Be sure to follow-up with the project owner in order to get your meeting.

C. Close if you do not receive an answer within 24 hours; don't hesitate to directly call the client. 

If the project owner does not answer your first call, CALL BACK a second time.

Suggestion : If that doesn't work, write an e-mail saying you've been trying to reach him and list the few conversation points you want to discuss. The client will be better prepared and not feel over-run by a bunch of questions.

Only the persistent ones succeed! According to a Dartnell Corp study, this is what happens during the prospection phase:

  • 48% of sales reps give up after the 1st call

  • 24% give up after the 2nd call

  • 12% give up after the 3rd call

  • 6% give up after the 4th call

  • 10% give up after the 5th call

72% of sales reps give up before the 3rd call:

Persistence increases your chances to sign the project!

Many agencies have doubled or even tripled the number of clients by simply responding consistently to customer requests. For a majority of agencies on Sortlist, it takes from 1 to maximum 5 tries to get their first hire. You can succeed, too – by being persistent and experimenting to see what works. Write different types of messages, ignore requests that don't seem like a good fit, learn what works for you.

What is your core added value as a provider?

Make sure you know why your current clients want to work with you:

  • Why do they trust you?

  • Why do they like to work with you?

  • What interests them the most to be with you?

  • What differentiates you from other agencies?

  • Do you have a mission statement?

Answering to those questions will help you build up your confidence and know how to convince new clients more easily.

Read this article to discover how to position yourself and stand out from competitors.

What is the company expecting from you as a provider?

The company is expecting to meet a talented team that can do amazing professional work for its business. If you don't feel comfortable enough with the project briefing and the challenges the company is facing, don't accept the project.

Project owners expect that you will advise, guide, and support them from the beginning of your relationship to the end of it.

Some client have never had the opportunity to work with agencies. In this case, don't hesitate to take the time to explain how everything works with a provider as well as what you intend to bring to their company.

You can go over:

  • How many meetings you plan to hold with the client,

  • Explain why your current and previous clients love to work with you,

  • And what your true values are.

Furthermore, explain your current and previous procedure with your clients and why it works best. Share examples of a satisfied client. You can also do it by adding client reviews to your Sortlist profile.

Then, explain to the client what they can expect from you next.

Directly set up a meeting schedule with the client: when is he/she available? The earlier you start, the better you will be able to analyse his/her difficulties.

Project the client into this future collaboration with trust and confidence.

What can you do during the meeting to convince the company to work with you?

The art of closing the sale is all about the first meeting.

If you want to learn more, check out the following video. The quality of the video is bad, but the content in it is golden. 

" Some people feel that the art of closing starts at the end of the process, after whatever the process should be. Introduction, presentation, giving information, demonstration, the proposal you made. 

But in fact, the closing begins the moment you meet someone, when you start speaking verbally, explaining verbally. You must understand that when you speak, you are the product, you are the person that creates the trust between you and the leads.

Therefore, understand well that the client must accept you as the product they are buying ." 

The fact that you are the product can't be truer than in marketing. As a provider, you bring directly to the business your expertise, knowledge, and team to serve the client. It is the strength of your team that creates the added value the client is looking for. 

Tom Hopkins gives some useful tips to increase your chances of winning during your first meeting:

Always have your closing material ready

You must be prepared to close, and you'll need material to do it.

This material includes:

  • Your profile on Sortlist completed, with previous works, recommendations of previous clients and endorsements.

  • Your credential deck and presentation adapted to the briefing.

Make sure everything you use is clean, sharp looking and precise.

On Sortlist, the provider profile is the first touch point, so do not neglect it!

Know your figures and calculations.

When talking about prices, make sure that you feel comfortable and confident.

Close with casual confidence. It has to be smooth, don't change your behavior.

Don't alter your behavior when showing the pricing and making your proposal. The client will notice.

Use the "pause button" during the conversation.

Let the client think, and do not hesitate to take pauses from time to time. You will get more information out of your client by doing so.

Check in on how your future client is feeling

Give them time to think and ask them about how they feel about starting a collaboration.

How to make sure that you are doing a great follow-up in order to close the client? 

After the first meeting, the client may say that he/she needs some time to think things over. This could mean that he/she also intends to meet other agencies in order to gain different perspectives. It is crucial for you to stay on the ball. Write an e-mail a few hours after the meeting, thanking the client for their time.

Keep making follow-ups. Nothing is done until signed. 

PS: If after all this great work, there are still issues with the project owner, contact our Sortlist team.

We will be happy to help.

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