A 6 Step Recipe for a $10K/month Agency Retainer

A couple of days ago, I checked out Puma Creative's Rachel Coger's discussing her $120,000 Close Deck ($10K/month retainer) from the weekly Hubspot Partner Program Broadcast.  It was a brilliantly simple and effective presentation and inspired me to recap it as a 6 step recipe along with a few additional thoughts and recommendations.

Note that Rachel presents this as a closing deck. I'm recapping it as steps along the sales process, which will then be summarized in a closing deck as Rachel has done. 

1.  Establish the Oh-Shit Moment


The Herron above is clearly having an Oh Shit moment. If your prospects are going to have a change in action (such as engaging with your Agency) they need to have a change in thought. An 'Oh Shit' moment delivers this. 

Rachel delivers such a moment using one or two datapoints from the Hubspot Competitors report, the Hubspot Marketing Grader, or Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000 business. BTW, don't overload your prospects with data. Just a few pieces of well selected data is better than piling it on.  

If the Oh Shit moment is the tip of the iceberg, gathering GPCT will help you discover the iceberg underneath. Your prospects likely have compelling reasons to grow, weaknesses with their current options,  timing pressure, and consquences for failing. See the IMA Webinar and IMA Playbook (immediately underneath the webinar) from the Hubspot Advanced Sales Training series for help gathering GPCT. 

Document the Oh Shit. Send a recap letter after your initial meeting, recap those bullet points in subsequent meetings, and use the same points in your closing deck. The stonger and more often the case is made, the stronger your sales process will be.    

2. Set Measurable Marketing Goals

In her close deck, Rachel next turns to the number of visitors, leads, and customers that are required to meet the growth goals of the prospect.  

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This is where the Oh Shit moment meets planning. Rachel establishes specific inbound marketing targets tied to business goals, and begins discussing the level of effort required to reach them.  

A firm word of advice - Rachel is presenting this in her close deck, but do not build this out initially without the prospect sitting next to you. It is important to walk through it together, challenging inputs, outputs, and goals along the way. See the Prospecting Tools webinar of the Hubspot Advanced Sales Training series and the Grader tool underneath it for more help going through this exercise. 

3. Present a Plan

With an Oh Shit moment and marketing goals in hand, Rachel now presents a plan to meet those goals. 

Rachel summarizes activity level options into Fast, Faster, and Fastest. For help putting something similar together, see the Contract and Close webinar (and tools underneath) within the Hubspot Advanced Sales Training series. 

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In addition to presenting activity levels like those above, consider adding additional elements to make the plan even fuller - most notably, a content plan. If the activity plan is the bones, the content plan starts to add meat to those bones. 

A content plan might include target personas, sample starting content such as blog topics, and initial offer/campaign ideas. 

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For help putting together a content plan, check out IMR's Content Marketing Blueprint process.  You can also check out the Inbound Agency Selling Discovery Questionnaire for help coming up with inputs to develop your own plan.   

4. Make a Recommendation

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Rachel does not just offer 3 options. She recommends that to hit lead goals, the 'Fastest' option is best and uses data straight from the Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000 business report to illustrate her point.  

This is also the perfect opportunity to leverage the GPCT information you've gathered earlier in the process. For example "Mr. Prospect, you've said you wanted to grow 20% this year, that you weren't confident in your current marketing options, and that meeting this goal now would allow you to take a critical first mover advantage in your market. Given these factors, along with the blogging benchmarks we've just shared and our experience, we believe starting with the Fastest Option will give you the best chance of success".

5. Inspire Confidence 

Rachel gives a final reason to do business with her firm. By presenting a brief case study, she shows that her agency has done this before and with good results. Inbound marketing can feel new and risky to a prospect. Rachel gives confidence that Inbound can work.

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A common question I hear from Inbound Agencies, especially newer ones, is 'what if I don't have case studies." To lessen the perceived risk of Inbound Marketing, use Hubspot case studies. To answer the question of 'why your agency', simply answer the question. Maybe you have industry experience, maybe you have other successes that are relatable, maybe you are new to inbound and simply hungrier than the next agency. Whatever it is, you have already proven yourself professional and capable by taking them through this sales process. You don't need to oversell, just let them know why doing business with you is a wise move. 

6. Close it Up

Rachel doesn't cover the final close, but if you have done your job to this point, closing on the retainer is a straightforward proposition. Here is an example of a direct and inoffensive close. 

"Mr. Prospect, do you feel like we have a good understanding on your business goals and challenges?"....."Mr. Prospect, do you feel like the solutions we've discussed would help you to meet those goals"...."Mr. Prospect, would you like our help?"

Bottom Line

If you are looking to close a $120K ($10K/month) retainer, first get in front of the right prospects. Then use the 6 step recipe above to do it.  

Please check out Rachel's appearance that insprired this blog post.

Discovery Questionnaire


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