Most people know that building and running a successful agency is about attracting clients and keeping them. But John Vuong, owner of a local SEO agency in Toronto called Local SEO Search, knows there’s more to the story. John shows us with his one big tip that it’s also about managing expectations—and that starts with choosing the right clients that are aligned with your agency’s goals and values.
Many agency owners are solely focused on attracting and retaining as many clients as possible in order to increase revenue. John, on the other hand, advocates for a more nuanced approach. Being picky about who you onboard will have long-term benefits for your agency. “Aligning ourselves with the right customers,” John says, “is so important in the onboarding process.”
So how does John determine who the right customers are? Well, it starts with a pre-onboarding meeting to get to know the client. John outlines his process like this: “We slow them down, we educate them, we ask very specific questions...understanding that and then walking them through and finding out if they're a good fit for us.”
But choosing the right clients is only half the battle—you also need to be able to let some clients go. “[Firing clients] sounds like the stupidest thing anyone would do.” John says, “But that's not really the case. Oftentimes if you have a client that is so draining, that is so misaligned with your values and where you want to take your company, it almost becomes imperative to get rid of that client.”
While revenue may temporarily suffer if you let a client go, in the long run, it “frees up your energy so that you can focus on the clients that want to see you succeed as well,” John says.
Having the right clients in your portfolio allows you to manage their expectations. If you take the time to get to know your clients before onboarding, you can be sure that “they have the same side of mindset goals and aspirations,” John says.
This means that you can under-promise on results, then proceed to over-deliver on them. With clients that understand what to expect and are on the same page as your business is, you can consistently exceed those expectations and create raving fans of your brand who, in turn, act as brand advocates to attract more like-minded clients.