It puts the power of choosing how you spend your time and efforts with your business back in your hands.
It gives you the power to be selective with who you work with while being more profitable than ever.
It is a proven system for identifying and attracting ideal clients to your agency.
It's a proprietary process adapted by Peter James from several pioneers in the lead generation industry. But to call it lead generation is a misnomer.
You don't need leads. Leads are just potential buyers who may or may not be qualified. And qualified usually just means they can afford your fees.
What you need are ideal clients. These are buyers who not only can afford your fees but who recognize and need your specific expertise. They treat you as a skilled surgeon, not a hired day laborer chosen for the lowest rate.
ICA has four components: positioning, prospecting, scheduling, and nurturing.
We work with you to hone your claim of expertise. In order to be treated like a surgeon and not a day laborer you have to claim a high level of expertise.
This claim of expertise must be very specific. There are far too many "general surgeons" out there to compete with. Your best chance of increasing wealth is to specialize in two ways.
First, you must narrow down the market or industry you work within. This means you are most familiar, most experienced, most adept at working with companies in this narrow market. It doesn't mean you won't accept clients outside of this, but you must let them know it's not your primary area of expertise.
Second, you must narrow down the type of work you do in this market. This means you are or strive to be the most skilled at solving a specific problem or creating a specific solution. It doesn't mean you won't accept clients who need a different solution, but you must let them know it's not your primary skill.
Once we hone this claim, or if you've already done this yourself, then we create a messaging campaign that concisely, compellingly attracts the buyers within your niche who need your specific skill.
This campaign is composed of a series of LinkedIn messages and emails that build on each other. We use proven templates for each message that both get to the point and also allow prospects to warm up to recognizing your expertise.
You can think of it as an improved hybrid of content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing. But it's different from the sum of those three kinds of marketing in that it's extremely targeted and doesn't rely on your target having to find you or click your ad or sign up for your newsletter.
It's efficient and it gives you complete control over who sees your messaging. Where most outbound cold-email tactics rely on a spray-and-pray numbers game, this approach is like a Navy Seal sniper with laser-point accuracy.
Now that we know your position in the market, we can go out and find the potential buyers who will most likely value that position. Our system is designed to find the exact decision maker within a company by waterfalling down to them from the top or from a peer. It bypases influencers who can only say "no" and gets you talking to a real buyer with sufficient motive and power to say "yes."
This is perhaps the most time consuming part of ICA. It requires research and careful data mining. But it's absolutely crucial to get this part right. Finding the right person in the right company makes all the difference. Imagine if a Navy Seal sniper was sent on a mission to take out a specific enemy leader but didn't take the time to figure out what building he's in or what he looks like. The only way to get the target at that point is to return to spray-and-pray bombing! That's why most outbound lead generation is so noisy and irrelevant.
Once we build a list of the right people at the right companies then we enter them into an automated CRM so we can track their progress and response to the messaging campaign.
Now we're getting responses. On average, 2 out of 14 companies we've reached out to are ready to talk about a possible fit.
This is where I recommend handing off to the agency owner or a senior in-house team member at your agency.
An important thing to note here is that the first call with an outbound prospect is very different than qualifying an inbound prospect. It's less about qualifying and more about relationship building and establishing expertise.
But we still want to try to kill it early as a way to build trust and not waste anyone's time. For example, saying, "Given the size of your company, I'm not sure you even need us. What made you interested in talking with us?" Which puts the burden of proof on them to show that they do in fact need your specialized expertise. It's much better than having to answer the inevitable question of "How are you any different from our current agency partners?"
To be clear, we will not be closing the deal. That responsibility should stay with the agency principal. But we will work together on navigating closing discussions and pushing back on the typical sales process.
For meetings that don't immediately progress toward a specific project we have a nurturing system called TOM/90. The TOM (top of mind) newsletter repurposes thought leadership content that you already have and delivers it to "nurturing" prospects every 2 weeks to keep your agency in front of them regularly.
The "90" in TOM/90 refers to a direct check-in with every "nurturing" prospect every 90 days. We simply ask if they foresee any projects where a collaboration makes sense. One of the biggest reasons opportunities are lost are because agencies don't consistently follow up and stay in front of their warm relationships so that they end up going cold. TOM/90 works great at keeping them warm without losing poise or being annoying.
And after all this, you now have new clients who can afford your fees AND who see you as a highly skilled and specialized expert. Agency life will still be challenging. But it will be the dignified challenge of surgically solving a problem.
We specialize in ICA for creative agencies with less than $5mm in annual revenue. We understand artist-driven businesses and the unique challenges faced by artists who find they've become business owners.
We list our packages below. If you feel you've saturated your market and are trying to break into a new market, then Option 1 is typically best for you. If however, you have a strong portfolio and credibility in a large but competitive market then Options 2 or 3 would be best for you.
We'll follow our own advice here and try to kill the relationship early (if it was going to die anyway). Here are the cost and terms of our service, you can decide which investment makes the most sense.
Our service is covered by a two month quality satisfaction guarantee. If you're not happy with the quality of our work within two months, We'll refund the full base amount paid and you can leave the contract. Otherwise, each option is a 12 month contract. Base payment is due at the beginning of each contractual month (on the day of the month that we began working).
On average, expect 6-12 months to get into a steady flow of new business opportunities, with an overall goal of 2-4 new clients from the first year's activity. Initially, your only cost will be the base. Upon a closed deal, commission can be paid in concert with how you bill your new client.