Agency Origin Stories: How perception can derail your sales pitch.

Agency Origin Stories: How perception can derail your sales pitch.

Today's blog has a few golden nuggets that I've seen very few gurus address or even cover. However, it's one major thing I see many new agency owners doing that they don't realize is costing them sales. 

Here's the story...

Flashback many moons ago, I didn't have an office when I first got started, so I'm sitting at a table in Panera with a startup working them to get a new client. 

They had this cool concept of an online training system for working out. This was before the whole click funnels revolution, so back then it was pretty innovative course for the time, and I'm meeting with them to try and get them for marketing. 

One of their partners was late to get there, so we went ahead and got started with my pitch. They all seem really excited, and I felt really good about it. 

They are giving me every buying sign in the book and were literally telling me they want to move forward with me.

"This is exactly what we need."

"I think this is perfect for this."

It was going well. 

They asked me to take a quick break to wait for their partner to arrive and discuss rollout details together privately. They told me that when he got there, they would just recap really quick, and we should be all good to sign. 

I'm thinking, cool, I got this in the bag.



I decided to step outside and sit in the car for a few while I waited. 

Once their partner arrived and had a few minutes to settle with them, I headed back inside and it's like the energy had been sucked out of the room. Their whole demeaner had changed out of nowhere. I couldn't put my finger on it. 

These weren't the same people I had left just 20 minutes before.

The late partner took over the meeting and acted like he didn't want to listen to anything I said. He seemed frustrated. Cut me off and questioned everything from my strategy to credentials. The other partners who seemed sold before were distant too. 

It was like invasion of the body snatchers or something. 


It was really weird. 

Needless to say, It went from "signing right then," to a "We'll call you." 

For a few weeks I tried calling and never got through. I knew something happened but couldn't figure out what and they wouldn't give me the chance to find out.

I got ghosted.




I wouldn't discover what actually happened until about a year later. 

Flash forward a bit, I was working with a client, pretty large gym franchise, an offshoot of Gold's Gym. We had a 38 something location deal with them. We had signed them to do follow up marketing and help with their retention. 

We were basically doing DRs campaigns before they were all the rage. I was meeting with the marketing director about their campaign results. 

"I gave your name out to a friend of mine, but they actually already knew you. Not sure if it will lead to a client though, but I tried to refer you anyway!" The marketing director told me. 

The referral was that startup I had met with that ghosted me a year before. 

I told her the story and how it ended up and she laughed. "Yeah I know, I actually told her she was an idiot for not going with you."

I asked her if she knew what happened. What she told me changed how I pitched forever. 

I found out that the whole reason they didn't sign with me... was because of my freaking car. 

Not kidding. 

You see, back in those days, I was a broke startup myself and drove this beat up Toyota Camry.




The kind of beat up car that had power windows you push down yourself.

The kind of beat up that sounded loud like fast and the furious... but not because of an exhaust system... but rather because it didn't have a muffler on properly. 

It was rough.  

The partners had seen me go to my car and deemed that I couldn't be successful driving that. They thought that if I was going to make them successful I needed to be successful myself. 

He poisoned the well for the others... and they didn't sign. 

Although it sucked and was pretty silly, it taught me a powerful lesson: Little details matter.

Perception matters. 

All it took for me to lose that sale was for the customer to see a beat up car and boom... perception changes. It didn't matter how great my pitch was... the car was the determining factor. 

Perception matters in sales. 

What you wear. 

How your social media looks. 

What you drive. 

Your zoom background. 

Your confidence. 

The words you say and how you say it. 

Everything matters and it paints a perception to the people you are trying to sell. As materialistic and superficial as it is... people are watching you for information whether they realize it or not. 

The information they had available to them is what they use to make that decision. Those little details add up and paint a picture for them. 

It's amazing the difference in sales when I made a little money and started showing up to appointments in a 3 piece custom tailored suit, pulling up right in front of car dealerships driving a BMW.

My confidence skyrocketed. I'd walk in and just command presence.

The receptionist would treat me differently. 

Clients treated me differently. 

There was less negotiation. I got far more deals and sales were far easier to get. 

To be frank, I could care less about whether or not I drive a luxury car. Or what you personally drive. I'm a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy and I prefer a Jeep over a Merecedes.

I personally don't care about that kind of stuff. 

My point here is that some clients do take notice of little details you give them though. 

As silly as the car thing was with that client, they saw it, shaped their opinion and that stupid factor derailed me entirely.  

It's not just material either... 

I once had a client relationship go south because a client's wife saw a comment I made on social media agreeing with someone on a topic. That topic was a touchy subject they were very passionately against. 

A simple comment lead to the demise of a client. 




Perception matters. 

To be clear, I'm not saying go out and buy a three-piece suit and splurge on a luxury car to be successful as an agency owner.

Nor am I saying your shouldn't have opinions and walk on eggshells.

What I am saying is to do an audit of yourself and look at all the elements of perception clients CAN SEE and work to manufacture that presence. 

Little details shape perceptions. A client's perception can cast doubt or whether or not they like you. So, you want to CONTROL what those details are and what is seen. Make sure it's a perception that your clients want to see. 

You might be really political and lean one way. Do your clients have the same beliefs, morals etc? Just remember what you post is there to be seen. What you post can attract and polarize others. 

You are asking clients to invest in you to help them make more money.

If you show up to a meeting with a car that is squealing and smoking ... what kind of image does that create for your buyer? Does it tell give them the impression that you know how to make them money? Or does it cast doubt that you know what you are doing?

Ever notice how a lot of the gurus out there post images of travel, luxury and lifestyle design stuff? It's all very deliberate. There is a reason when they shoot videos behind them you see clickfunnels awards, luxury items, etc. 

Ever notice how grant cardone posts all kinds of social images with his plane? 

All on purpose. 

You may not be in the position to drive that luxury car just yet, but you can control whether or not a client sees what you drive in the first place.

What picture does your social media portray? If you were a prospect scrolling through your feed, would you want to buy from you based on what you see there? 

Does it instill trust? 

What perception does it create? 

What tone does your website / marketing convey? 

If you do appointments via ZOOM, what is in the background they can see? 

When you give a presentation does it sound confident or sound like you are flying by the seat of your pants? 

Record your presentations and watch them yourself for a great insight into what perceptions you create with your backgrounds, words, presentation etc. 

Remember, perception matters. 

- DB






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