Which place should chatbots take in your business?
As a newcomer to this industry, you may ask yourself this very question. Should you add chatbots to your offering? Are they an upsell? Should you turn them into a completely new product range?
In this article, I want to focus on a specific approach to selling chatbots. The 'upsell' approach is one many of our partners are taking, and one that makes a lot of sense.
Let's lay out the idea, see why upselling chatbots is a great idea, and give you a few ideas on how to get involved.
An agency 'add-on'
It is hard to deny the impact the chatbot trend is having on the world at the moment. Everyone is talking about them. Everyone finds them exciting.
It's evident an agency would want to capitalise on that.
However, stepping into this world can be somewhat scary. You wouldn't want to completely throw your current offering to immerse your agency into the world of chatbots. That wouldn't be responsible.
Instead, most agencies that get in touch with us decide to use chatbots as an add-on. It is the perfect way to supplement to their offering and test the waters. They don't take anything apart nor completely change the direction they're heading in.
They decide to, all the sudden, tell their client:
Oh, by the way, we also do chatbots.
Why chatbots should become a must-have offer
Before we move on to the 'how', I want to touch on the why.
Why should chatbots be part of your offer? After all, you are a web design agency (or other), not a chatbot agency.
Through our experience in this industry, we notice the same pattern over and over again: most company leaders go to their trusted agency when something new comes out.
Think of Karl running his restaurant, all the sudden hearing about this 'chatbot thing'. We've noticed Karl doesn't run to Google to find out what it is. Karl doesn't even run to us. Karl runs to you.
Karl picks up the phone, call his digital agency and tries to find out what chatbots are (and if he should get one).
That's why having chatbots as part of your agency offering is becoming a must. You are getting more and more of these calls. If you haven't yet, they're coming -- trust me. At the very least, you want to have enough knowledge to be able to answer questions and direct your client to the right people. And, of course, earn some money in the process *wink*.
3 approaches to upselling chatbots
Right, now you are convinced this is something you should do. Fantastic.
In my experience, there are three great ways to start upselling chatbots.
1. Let them come to you
Boom, super easy. About 50% of the time, when we get a chatbot enquiry from a partner it is because their client reached out to them. Hence the need for you to be prepared, see point above.
The brief could be as easy as Karl reaching out and asking 'what is a chatbot and do I need one?'. In this scenario, the upsell is quite simple. Walk through this new technology with them and figure out if this is something they could actually use.
If there is a clear use case for it, you've got yourself a winner. No need to dig any deeper for now. Go to your favourite chatbot building company, present the project, and see what the next steps are.
2. Account renewals
If you already have a foot through the AI and chatbot door, this may be the best approach for you. Many of our partners use chatbots as a value-add when the time comes to renew a contract with a client.
Instead of going to their client with the same old approach, they try to add something new and exciting to the pitch.
3. Pitch pitch pitch
Finally, cold pitching.
Cold pitching using chatbots is, in my opinion, a fantastic move. We have all sorts of partners doing this, from digital agencies to law firms or insurance companies.
The goal here is to win a contract by adding this extra layer of greatness. Show that you've done your homework. Show you're aware of the market. Bring them this new and exciting project.
To do this, I strongly suggest you speak to your chatbot building partner during your preparation process. The worst thing you could do is build an amazing pitch, sign a contract, and only realise what you've pitched is impossible (whether technically or financially).
Don't be afraid to think big. Our partners come to us with as little as 'this is who I'm pitching to, what can I suggest?'. We work with them to figure out what would make sense and come up with wacky ideas.
Go through your first chatbot pitch
The ultimate first step here is going through your first pitch. There is a lot to learn about the chatbot industry. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language understanding; lots of complex concepts to familiarise yourself with.
Don't get bogged down on the technicalities. That's what your chatbot agency is there for. My advice? Don't pretend to be an expert. Go to your partner agency and get them to help.