How to – Business Development in Difficult Times

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – June 30, 2008

CONTENTS:

1. How to – Business Development in Difficult Times
2. An Observation – The First Few Weeks in the UK
3. The Challenge – Two Versions; Same Language
4. New Business Tip – Talk Baby Talk to Prospects
5. Quick – Name another Service Like AgencyFinder
6. Don’t Panic!

HOW TO – BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN DIFFICULT TIMES:
by Charles “Chuck” Meyst, Chairman & CEO

If you’ve been sitting in that new business chair for more than a few years, you know that agency business development is cyclic. There’s a sine wave to it; gigantic peaks coupled with bottomless valleys. In the last few months, talking with agencies around the US, and now in the UK, we hear the warning signs – the valleys are coming back. Here’s how to avoid letting your agency drop into a valley …

First, avoid simple inefficiencies. In good times, maybe you can afford to let an errant agency

“telephone-answerer” blow off a call from a prospect, but not now. So test your system. Ask a trusted friend to make a shill call as a prospect. Have them introduce themselves with this line: “We’re looking to hire an agency; who can I speak with at your firm about that?” See how polite, efficient, accommodating and helpful your “gate keepers” really are. Have your friend get names and take notes. If all goes well, they can reveal their assignment to the ultimate recipient, and that they scored well. If it didn’t go well, let your agency management address the transgressors … but get things fixed.

Second, prospects that telephone don’t generally know who to ask for. Adjust your voice-mail system to answer like this: “Thanks for calling AgencyWinner.com; we appreciate your call. If you’re looking for a new or replacement agency, dial 911. Only after doing so, then continue with the conventional “If you know the name or extension of the party you’re trying to reach, you can dial that now.” Have 911 programmed to reach out to a series of prepared and rehearsed “sales people.” (if the word sales offends you, sorry) And so on … Third, pay close attention and handle any inbound inquiry with kid gloves. Pay ten-times that much attention to an AgencyFinder introduction. In both cases, you’ve probably done very little in a pro-active sense to generate that call, but do not overlook the fact that this is someone you did not have to mail to, telephone or even stalk for them to reach out to you.

Fourth, review these three suggestions and above all, avoid falling into a valley. You don’t want to have to “turn on”, “crank up”, “dust-off” your long-abandoned, seldom-used outreach system and find yourself battling head-to-head with agencies that always claim they’re better than you – with their hands tied behind their back!

Make sense? If you have some no-brainers you’re willing to share, I’ll take them!

AN OBSERVATION – THE FIRST FEW WEEKS IN THE UK:
by Adam Whittaker, CEO AgencyFinder.eu

Well, the UK & European launch went smoothly and according to plan. We have enough agencies of

every discipline and location to make pretty much any client search come up with a sensible number of qualified prospective partners. For that we have you (our UK registered agencies) to thank. We launched to clients on 10th June so we have altered the renewal date for those who registered with us prior to that date accordingly.

Our launch to clients elicited twelve searches in the first ten days including clients looking for an advertising agency, PR firm, branding consultancy, market research and an integrated agency – so it has really brought home to us what we suspected. That AgencyFinder will serve clients looking for agencies of ANY type, not just those normally associated with intermediaries.

Why has AgencyFinder successfully attracted such a diverse range of searches? To a large extent, it’s our marketing. We are proactively reaching out to a database of c. 35,000 marketing budget holders across 12,000 organisations in the UK using email, direct and telephone channels. TIME TO SIGN YOUR WORK

Tough times call for new tactics.

You should do almost anything to increase your firm’s visibility. I wrote about this before, but now it’s time to do something about it: Sign your work!

Everywhere and anywhere you can, mark your client work with your agency imprint. Writers, photographers and illustrators do it; so can you! I’m told it’s practiced in some parts of Europe. To again share my thoughts, I’m repeating something we published on January 27, 2004:

What if your agency really practiced branding?

Real branding (let me repeat – Real Branding) may be a partial answer to what ails some agencies. Specifically, the downfall and demise of agencies like D’Arcy, Bates, Earle Palmer Brown, Hample/ Stefanides, HDC, BaylessCronin and some other twenty-two more U.S. ad agencies begs the question – how can agencies with great client rosters simply slip away, or be disassembled and distributed as piece-parts? How can their peers or an admiring public let that happen?

But what even suggests that peers or the public have any idea who does what and when? If the public did know, might it be less likely that a great Brand (agency) could simply be put to rest without cries of complaint and alarm? We kicked this topic around before – see our Special Edition Flash Report 10-24-2002. Based on feedback since, we’ve had conversations with agencies AND clients – to ask what might happen if agencies really did brand themselves. Imagine if your agency were to “sign & brand” every ad you produced. Translated – a small but visible agency mark, logo and credit line (or voiceover), similar to a photographer’s or illustrator’s credit line that states “Proudly produced by X Agency, Chicago, IL”. As best we’ve come to know, it’s not being done by anyone.

Agencies generally remark – “clients wouldn’t allow it”, or “clients wouldn’t pick up the tab”. Yet photographers and illustrators have been doing it for years, and not because they work without payment. Publishers pay and allow it; why can’t clients? Is it just a question of asking permission? On the pay-for-it issue, if there’s value, an agency should be happy to pay for their pro-rata portion, or reduce production costs accordingly. After all, that’s positive exposure and an investment in new business development. When we discussed this with clients, they weren’t put off as agencies thought they might be. Some were quick to see the merits. This could be a quid-pro-quo thing. Many consumers (and industry peers) are passionate about who does what work (for example, stay behind in the theatre to witness those who remain to study credits).

Consider an extreme analogy – imagine if an agency of some renown (a you-know-who) that wouldn’t normally, did work for a regional men’s fashion chain and marked or branded that work. What might “those in the know” think about the connection or the implied endorsement? If the consumer didn’t recognize the agency brand (regardless of size), a quick Internet search would be educational. And that grand agency brand might have complimented the client. Likewise, a great client brand could compliment an agency. When chatting this around, the topic of copyright also comes up. But we’ve touched on enough for now – it’s time to move on. However, your thoughts are welcome, AND, if you already do this, are you willing to tell us (and others) about it?
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FREE NEW BUSINESS COUNSEL – ALWAYS HAVE; ALWAYS WILL
by Charles G. Meyst, AgencyFinder Chairman

I’m not wanting to start an avalanche, but I do want to mention that we’ve always been willing to provide no-cost new business development advice and counsel to any “paid-up” Certified Agency if you are willing to call and ask. You may have to work to catch one of us, but it could make the difference for you. We can’t fit in back and forth email on that topic, but if you want to chat, it does work to send an email to alert us to the fact that you plan to call. Then give us 24 hours and ring us! ‘Nuff said?
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… AND FINALLY

We’re very excited about the changes we’ve made and the opportunities now facing AgencyFinder and the clients and agencies we serve. We’re always striving to do a better job and become an irreplaceable part of your new business process. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to make AgencyFinder ever better.

As we have since 1997, we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect. Then & Now – We Built it For You! an investment in new business development. When we discussed this with clients, they weren’t put off as agencies thought they might be. Some were quick to see the merits. This could be a quid-pro-quo thing. Many consumers (and industry peers) are passionate about who does what work (for example, stay behind in the theatre to witness those who remain to study credits).

Consider an extreme analogy – imagine if an agency of some renown (a you-know-who) that wouldn’t normally, did work for a regional men’s fashion chain and marked or branded that work. What might “those in the know” think about the connection or the implied endorsement? If the consumer didn’t recognize the agency brand (regardless of size), a quick Internet search would be educational. And that grand agency brand might have complimented the client. Likewise, a great client brand could compliment an agency. When chatting this around, the topic of copyright also comes up. But we’ve touched on enough for now – it’s time to move on. However, your thoughts are welcome, AND, if you already do this, are you willing to tell us (and others) about it?

FREE NEW BUSINESS COUNSEL – ALWAYS HAVE; ALWAYS WILL
by Charles G. Meyst, AgencyFinder Chairman

I’m not wanting to start an avalanche, but I do want to mention that we’ve always been willing to provide no-cost new business development advice and counsel to any “paid-up” Certified Agency if you are willing to call and ask. You may have to work to catch one of us, but it could make the difference for you. We can’t fit in back and forth email on that topic, but if you want to chat, it does work to send an email to alert us to the fact that you plan to call. Then give us 24 hours and ring us! ‘Nuff said?

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