Blog Posts

A “killer” closing line for agency new business telephone outreach …

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts

Pro-active and professional agency new business telephone outreach is the proper combination of “art” and “science.” As to its purpose, telephone outreach is to initially contact a qualified prospect with the eventual expectation of getting a face-to-face meeting. Well, that’s not going to happen (generally) on your first contact. But if you are patient and methodical, if you have engaged in meaningful and helpful conversation that has demonstrated your firm’s sincerity, resourcefulness, interest and ability to contribute, you’ll be on good ground to execute the “killer” closing line …

Assuming you have had 3 or more good conversations and have peaked the prospect’s interest by sending relevant material and suggestions, having shown that your firm may well have the ability to improve their marketing position, you say … “prospect, we’ve had some good conversations and covered lots of ground, but now I’m wondering … (pause) does it make sense to get together and meet? (silence – say nothing until the prospect answers) Best answer – I suppose so (you help identify when, where and how) Alternate answer – Well, I’m not sure (again, help suggest why and when) Least desirable answer – I don’t think so (suggest a continuation of conversations and a chance to propose again!)

Use it; It works …

Agency Search – Qualities and questions to consider when searching for a PR agency (I say debatable)

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts

I continnue to see these reoccurring pieces of sage advice to novices, and overall most of the information makes sense. But we contend (as do I emphatically) that no great agency was ever found looking among a sea of losers! And that’s really the challenge. I’ll skip forward quickly, but this article started as such …

How to start the search process (I’m not lising them all)

• Create a list of three to six agencies that fit your criteria. After you set your goals, establish needs and listen to recommendations, hash out a short list of agencies that fit the criteria.

• Get bids. Prepare an overview of your criteria to send it to your list of chosen agencies so they can evaluate whether your requests are within their capabilities. Ask the agencies to also send you examples showing how they’ve solved similar problems that address the criteria.

I chose to reply as follows …

Overall, good article. But it seems each article like this makes the same suggestion made here: • Create a list of three to six agencies that fit your criteria. After you set your goals, establish needs and listen to recommendations, hash out a short list of agencies that fit the criteria.

With literally “thousands” of pr firms in the US, pray tell, how is someone with little experience ever going to be able to identify, yet alone find three to six qualified agencies? That’s the trick. And if and when the searcher can find something like 15 to take a hard look at, then maybe later they can boil them down to six.

The ability to find and then examine a sufficient quantity of qualified candidates is what we designed 17 years ago. Our process is linear and based on facts. Anyone can do it regardless of experience. Not to belabor the point, try it. The Demo is real – just doesn’t come to our attention.  Login here:

Dear Mr. Agency New Business Advisor, I have a Question …

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

A real question from a real agency …

Agency – When I pitch, the response I sometimes get is… …we just want a video or brochure. And what I may see is that their customer service model is FUBAR and needs to be fixed before some kind of creative should be done. Like what we do is a band-aid for their bad business practices.  Maybe I should not care, but I do. I see marketing as the total customer experience.

Advisor – In some ways, new business is like dating (remember?) You need to start slowly a little bit at a time. Having proved yourself, you are then welcome to go further … Same situation here. In any proposal, even if just for a video, make certain you note that the video in itself will only work effectively if all else is in order. Don’t accept (better to deny any responsibility for “performance”) if you have identified roadblocks.

At the same time, give them a proposal for what you believe is also needed and be specific. Make it conditional in that you’ll get the next work if they are satisfied with the first assignment (you need to identify the conditions). The agreement/contract part is all business (no creative hokey-pokey!) Make sense?

Agency Responds – (food for thought) Thanks. Very good input. I was an executive at a TV network and did a lot of entertainment industry marketing for networks and record labels when I left. A pitch there may last 3 minutes. They want to know you are competent and you can get fired if you don’t take the initiative to do it all right. You don’t wait around proving yourself; if you see a chink in the armor you take action. You don’t deny responsibility, you take action. I have found that is not the norm in most businesses, unless you are in a place like LA or NYC.

Most people choose pain over getting well. Statistics tell us people want to stay sick, believe it or not. If I have to change or die, most people choose death. – Same goes in business.

My business coach says, just hunt for those people that are authentically seeking real change or improvement at the level you/we provide; as appropriate for their situation. In other words, pre-qualify them to make sure they are ready for the change.

The flip side is that (in my eyes) the people I see making money at advertising take the work that comes in the door and if the client is screwed up, ignore it. Just take their money. A sucker is born every minute and when that company takes a dive, there is another sucker behind them to bill. Just keep doing really pretty creative and billing. – Silly me, I was on the other side of the table wanting something tangible for my money. I want to give them stellar results.  It is one of the reasons, we mostly pay for results based marketing.

Maybe I am wrong.

 

 

 

What’s Getting you New Business This Summer?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

When summer rolls around, most agencies used to resort to half-days on Friday and straggle in late on Mondays. That was true in them good olde days. But in this economy, with agencies running at full capacity with overworked staff, that custom isn’t as prevalent today.

But how about your agency? Are you running a lean week? Are you looking for prospects on the beach, at the river, at the cottage, at the lake? Or sitting near you at a Charlotte NASCAR event? Or are you (or someone assigned) plugging away on the phone, sending e-mails or mailing tchotchkes or rubber chickens with a clever letter?

What’s working for you?

In an Emergency (Like a New Client Invitation) how can we best reach you?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

Let’s talk about media agnostics … We work day and night here in Richmond with a client in Philadelphia, (for example) to help them identify, evaluate and then tell us who to invite as candidates to handle their amazing account. Over the years, we’ve perfected a process that begins with an e-mail alert to each intended agency – to the primary plus alternate new business contacts (as listed in your profile). That alert includes client name, location and URL. Our next step is to send the full RFD (Request for Dialogue) via fax.

Why fax? Because the invitation is a collection of documents originating from different sources and for us, it’s easiest to aggregate them and send via a plain-paper fax machine. Yes, we know some tell us “no one uses fax anymore” yet surprisingly, some in New York who say that have a fax address prominently posted at Contact Us on their own website.

So tell us; what’s the best way and when to contact you? We know you are often out of the office, in meetings or on the phone. We know you carry Smart Phones and check them wherever you are at whatever time you decide. But when new business is on deck, we need to reach you and you need to be reached – if new clients and new business are on your radar!

 

 

Garbage In; Garbage Out – Your profile is your lifeline to new business …

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

July 16th we called your attention to some important changes and additions to our database and your profile. It read:

Important Database Additions: We recently added some new Fields Served, then removed some as well. Same is true for Services Offered. Clients are now selecting from those, so if you haven’t claimed them, you’ll be overlooked. You are urged to check & update your profile. (see below)

Your data must be both current and complete. By example, we added “Cloud service vendors” to Fields Served and OOH (Out of Home) and Shopper marketing to Services Offered. These and others were also added to the client side (where the Client specifies what they want from their new agency). If a client includes any of these in the search criteria and you have the experience or offer the services (but you’ve failed to update your profile) you are automatically and absolutely eliminated as a candidate.

We’ll do our part, but please do yours and update!

 

Are they out of their minds!!! They’ve dropped their prices …

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

That’s what some said. But it’s true and we think it’s just good marketing. In a recent agency newsletter, we wrote: We’ve got some important news to share. We’re instituting our first substantial reductions and changes to our pricing model in years. Based on pre-testing, I think you’ll find what we’ve done quite appealing. Check it out …

Plans & Prices: A simple presentation of four (4) Plan options. Starting with the “Free” Iridium, then moving to Manager, Director and EVP Business. See which one makes sense for your firm.

Getting started on the Iridium Plan: Regardless of size or experience, everyone starts at Iridium. In our original pricing scheme of Gold, Silver and Platinum, Iridium (a white metal) was where everyone began. Iridium is important; for starters it’s Free! And it’s the building block of your profile and how you move up to the next plans.

Special Offer: Enroll at the Manager Plan and receive a Free Audit. Evaluate your chances in real terms. Our search engine takes your agency profile and exposes your data to all registered client searches that occurred in the last 12-months. That process produces a report that’s yours to keep. For every client search where you surface, you’re able to see each client category, budget and their location and its not guessing. Its a powerful tool and only AgencyFinder has it!

Plan ComparisonsEVP Business Plan is your best bet if you’ve got a new business budget. Let’s say you get a client invitation where their budget is $5MM. The Contender Fee plus the $500 Registration puts you at $5,500 for the year. Compare that to your EVP Business investment at $2,995 EVP saves you $2,505.

If however your firm is new, with only a few employees and little set aside for business development, select the Manager Plan – so you can walk before you run. You can get involved with what’s going on, but you only contend when it’s a perfect fit!

Little secret … If you’re invited at Iridium or Manager and want to contend, skip the Contender fees by paying the EVP Business $2,995

 

 

Detroit-area Federal Lawsuit Begs for Professional Publicity – Payment Offered or Pro-Bono

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

We just posted this in our PitchCast section, but for those of you looking for what might be a “Hot-Potato” assignment, we thought it deserved this special attention. Is this for you?

Retired land developer and builder wants to hire a public relations firm or individual that has contacts with local Detroit, Michigan Metropolitan Area media outlets such as television, newspapers, etc.

I want to have a professional person that can help me in a major Federal lawsuit get information published concerning corrupt city personnel in a small suburban city north of Detroit, MI that have confiscated the home of a WWII veteran who fought in the Pacific Theatre and yet the government, through corruption and retaliation has taken over this person’s property and given it to one of the richest golf clubs in the country to use as a retension pond for all of its storm water.

For contact information, write chuck@agencyfinder.com or call 804-346-1812 Please do so now …

Can you use ONE WORD to describe the biggest challenge facing Marketing today?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

I suspect you’ve seen this posting on LinkedIn; it’s been up now for more than a month. In the beginning it was fun as well as interesting to see what industry leaders had to say. But then it started getting old …

The respondents made it obvious why marketers were having problems. If our industry’s “finest” couldn’t even READ (as in – it says can you use ONE WORD (not two or a sentence you fools!), then what hope is there to reach the general public … And the postings go on and on; when will the pain ever end? Moderator – please hit the Kill Switch!  This suggests all our messages (even in the B2B environment) need to be directed to the LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR.

Any comments?

Tell it like it is Dorothy – as in “8 things you should never say to PR agency pros”

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Agency Search Tips, Blog Posts

Every public relations agency executive delights in hearing from prospective clients. One great thing about the business is that you never know which award-winning campaign, career-changing relationship, or high-profile engagement might be just around the corner.

A typical part of the chase is a series of calls or meetings with client prospects who can have widely varying degrees of familiarity with the agency process, or who may not be clear (or agree) on what they want or need. They can say odd, confusing, and even exasperating things; in fact, certain comments are red flags that an experienced public relations agency exec will detect in an instant.

Here’s a list of some of our favorites.

“We’re looking for someone to grow with us.” This is my No. 1 peeve from a prospective client.  It’s understandable if the budget isn’t large; in fact, it might be a smart move to conserve funds for later (and we are happy to steer you to an excellent freelancer or boutique agency if that’s the case.) But the invitation translates to, “We can’t afford to pay fair value for your work, and even if we hire you, you’ll never be able to make money with us.” Not so appealing.

“Here’s a proposal from another agency that wasn’t right for us because it was too big/expensive/outside of our category.” This hasn’t happened often, but it’s ethically dubious, to say the least, and confusing at best. (What do you really want?)

“We need our story to be in The New York Times/TechCrunch/’Ellen’ by the time we launch.” Well, as my former client used to say to her CEO when he started down this road: “There’s one way to guarantee that. It’s called advertising.”

“For this assignment, we’re not sure if we need a PR firm or a digital marketing agency.” Hmm, well, then, neither are we. They are very different disciplines with distinct goals, and they often work in tandem, but perhaps you should review your objectives and conduct some research into each. I’d rather spend my time developing the best possible PR recommendations based on solid information than explaining what PR is or does.

“We’re not looking for formal proposals. Just give us an idea of how you’d approach our business.” I’ve heard this quite a few times but have never really understood what it means.

“How much for a press release?” Argh.

“We need a viral video!” This one needs no explanation; most PR people I know have deleted the word “viral” from their vocabularies.

“We’re looking at 30 agencies and hope you’ll want to participate.” Um, maybe not.

This article was contributed by Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO and creative director of Crenshaw Communications in New York. She has been named one of the public relations industry’s 100 Most Powerful Women by PR Week.

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