Flash Report – July 19, 2004
This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers.
1. The Whole Truth & Nothing But the Truth
2. A Capabilities Presentation – When & Where
3. When You Get Polled @ agencyfinder.com
4. The Agency Tour – “A Simple How To”
5. Spam Filters That Work
THE WHOLE TRUTH & NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
Last week we had occasion to visit an agency’s web site. We do often when an agency registers to see if your data entry agrees with what is posted at your web site. In many cases, after we check out the site, we’re able to make suggestions for additional agency claims – and those additions will increase the agency’s chances of being found and subsequently invited. We’re happy when we can help that way.
On the flip side, it’s not unusual to find an agency claiming memberships that aren’t true. That agency last week claimed AAAA and BMA
membership, but neither was the case. Maybe it’s a “once-upon-a-time” thing, or blame it on the Webmaster. But that’s the kind of claim, particularly when found to be untrue, that sends clients ballistic.
Whatever the case, check and “fix.” Under Construction errors are no more palpable than a lie. As our recent survey revealed, clients (those searching for ad or pr firms) look to us to uncover and present the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
A CAPABILITIES PRESENTATION – WHEN & WHERE
When a client talks, don’t listen, at least if they invite you to come to “them” for your agency capabilities presentation. Going to them is an old concept and it’s hard for them to change. There’s the tendency for the client to think that it’s a great idea for you and a few other “suits” to fill a traveling case with agency goodies, the latest high- intensity video projector, some samples and case histories, and fly, drive or walk to their wood-laden client conference room. The “few of you” presenting to the “many of them” far away from home and familiar surroundings is always awkward and never tells the entire story. Next time you’re invited to do that, (excluding an agencyfinder.com invitation) turn the tables. Invite the prospect to come to you and agree to pick up the tab. Expenses are essentially a trade-off, since two or three of you traveling will run about the same as two or three of “them.” At that, you can stay seated, even working on their presentation while “they” do the traveling. At your place, you’ve got everything at hand when and as you need it – and beyond that, they’ll get to meet and greet the full variety in your organization. Since chemistry is such a vital component in the ultimate selection, you have the advantage of being able to introduce and test until you identify the best combination.
WHEN YOU GET POLLED @ AGENCYFINDER.COM
Most client searches are relatively simple. Simple and straight-forward enough that one pass will reveal appropriate agency candidates. But once in awhile, a client is asking for previous experience exceeding that found in your file in our database.
When that’s the case, we conduct a qualifying poll by e-mail of those agencies that make the first cut. That inquiry is generally identified by the subject line – Are You Qualified @ agencyfinder.com. In that message, we’ll give you an anonymous outline of the client search attributes; then we’ll
specify the additional experience requested. These are quick turn-around queries, and generally all we want is a YES or NO.
When you answer YES, your agency is among a smaller group that gets special consideration – and ideally an invitation. But be certain that here too, you tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Then be on the lookout for yours!
THE AGENCY TOUR – “A SIMPLE HOW TO”
The agency tour should be intrinsically intertwined with your agency capabilities presentation. Overcome the subliminal temptation to greet your prospect visitors with warm, but potentially phony smiles; don’t fill their faces with sticky breakfast goodies, or cram them unmercifully into your conference room for a boring, unrelenting 3-hour “dog-and-pony” show.
Instead – Yes, greet them warmly and do give them proper food and drink. But then, start with your exciting, choreographed agency tour. Exciting? That’s right. If you have a base- line, a theme, a thread, a “reason” to move from A to B to C to D, then everything will make sense, regardless of the layout of your offices. One floor, two floors, shared spaces don’t matter – if you begin your tour, for example, by explaining that your movement through the agency, and people you’ll meet, will be in accordance with how you produce “a magazine ad” at the agency. And during your tour, you’ll do just that with a previously prepared demo template.
Following that theme, each point on the tour makes sense. Each introduction and conversation has a chance to unfold naturally and connect to the topic at hand, not necessarily (but often appropriately) looking to discover where someone went to school, what hobbies, what family, etc. If it’s still appropriate and needed, the capabilities presentation at the end can be short, concise, and focused on only those things not covered during the tour.
A good tour must be honest, comfortable, revealing, and entertaining. When we’re managing the review, we coach clients to travel to you for the “Tour and Capabilities Presentation.” Since they’ll be doing that for each competing agency, don’t offer to pick up the tab – it’s not necessary. But by not making what would otherwise have been YOUR trip to them, what you save in expenses and out-of-office time more than covers your agencyfinder Certification and Annual Dues.
SPAM FILTERS THAT WORK
In the May Flash Report, I said “As you probably know, we’re dependent almost entirely on the
Internet to bring us our client leads, so we can’t allow spam filters or the like to screen for us. This Monday (5/24), I combed my way through 3,643 e-mails that accumulated over the weekend, starting late Friday until early Monday morning. You can count the legitimate messages on two hands, but each was worth the manual review. On weekdays, the count is typically over 1,000.”
Well, dubious that I’m inclined to be, I was delighted to discover that the medium-level spam filter in my incoming Earthlink e-mail has worked like a trooper! What was 1,400 inbound e-mails per weekday is now about 300. I checked faithfully during the first 2-3 weeks, and not once did I find an important, business or personal e-mail that got intercepted in error.
I would be leery of any inbound e-mail spam filter offer, but I’m thinking that if Earthlink works, so will those from other major brands. If you haven’t, try them.
Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward
to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.
Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO
Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060