Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – March 3, 2009
1. The world’s most famous new business cure for an ailing agency
2. Amber alert; Green alert – Not your usual match-making assignment
3. An agency guide to writing RFPs that actually work
4. What is your agency’s economic stimulus plan?
5. May we introduce you to Asgar?
6. AgencyFinder.eu London moves to new quarters
THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS NEW BUSINESS CURE FOR AN AILING AGENCY
Allow me to modestly declare that I hold a field-accredited PhD in business development and cut my teeth in agency new business at Sanders Consulting Group from 1990 – 1994 working from Richmond, Virginia.
Now I learn that we were plugging away in the midst of a recessionary period ourselves, but since the media had not yet pronounced it so, we were essentially oblivious to the fact. I do know (and we taught it as well) that you had to make your own new business, and that was true then and it’s still true now.
We practiced what we preached – we armed ourselves with computers, a database of agency prospects (eventually about 7,000), contact management software (ACT), send-me-something mailers, a headset and a whoopee cushion.
Then we started dialing for dollars … Nothing scripted, but I can assure you, the first few sentences were ingrained after a few calls. We were looking for agencies that needed new clients, wanted new clients, were prepared to work to earn new clients, and were willing (even in those times) to invest in themselves.
Some calls were painful. And some agency receptionists were their own worst enemies. Then again, some were absolute delights. Funny, but we could never predict who was coming next, but I can say that if we stopped because we were told no, or someone hung up on us, that was it for the day! So we learned to press on.
Sanders conducted some research back then, and we learned that at any given time, about 35% of the client universe was willing to talk to a new agency about a possible relationship. We assumed those figures applied to agencies as well (as clients), so we knew to press on. We also operated on the ten percent premise; that being that one out of ten in the database would find our offers interesting. So here’s the world’s best, most famous new business “cure” and probably no secret to you; you just wanted to be reminded. Pick up the phone and call prospects. Many will say no but somewhere between one and three may say yes. Remember, if you’ve had nine “No’s”, your next one is a Yes! Press On! Take control of this economy where you can.
That’s All Folks!
AMBER ALERT; GREEN ALERT – NOT YOUR USUAL MATCH-MAKING ASSIGNMENT
Feb 17, 2009. 6:34AM – Houston, TX We took a call from good neighbor Tony trying to find a pr firm to help Annabelle’s family get national publicity on this kidnapping. He sent this announcement:
“Authorities have issued an Amber Alert for a 5-year-old girl who was taken by her biological parents during a supervised visit at a Conroe restaurant. Conroe police say Annabelle Williams-Forlano was abducted about 8:40 p.m. Monday from the Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant on Interstate 45 near FM 242.
The girl was in the custody of an aunt and uncle, who brought her to the restaurant for a supervised visit with her parents, Angela Faith and Carl Forlano, police said. During the visit, Faith, 46, grabbed the girl and ran outside. She and Forlano fled with the child in a white pickup truck that did not have license plates, officers said. Witnesses were unsure about the make and model of the truck.
Police have not said why the parents lost custody of Annabelle, but they said the girl is believed to be in danger. Annabelle is 3 feet 4 inches tall, weighs about 35 pounds and has brown hair and eyes, police said. When last seen, she was wearing a pink shirt and jeans, a white Hannah Montana jacket and pink fringed boots. Anyone with information on her or her parents is asked to call Conroe police at 936-522-3200.”
We sent the following e-mail blast to our Houston agencies:
Tony XXXX from Houston called AgencyFinder this morning looking for a PR firm to get national publicity for that Amber Alert. They have plenty of press inside Texas but need to extend publicity beyond the state borders. If you and your Houston colleagues are willing and/or able to assist, please call Tony directly at 936-827-XXXX. oyce Berger with Arriba Public Relations Responded:
You threw an arrow in my heart. I have a five year old granddaughter – turning six tomorrow. We’re helping.
Green Alert – The Happy Ending
Joyce Berger sent us the following update: “Arriba completed a national press release last night … which we were holding until today at the request of the FBI. Had a great personal interview with Annabelle’s uncle (legal guardian) and decided to take him live. So we had an independent camera crew set up and ready to shoot an interview with him and his wife – to send out to API and the wires over the weekend.
However, the wonderful news is that the FBI found Annabelle somewhere on the outskirts of Ohio (reportedly OK physically). Kurk Nielsen (the uncle) has just left Houston to pick her up. Hopefully permanent happy ending.”
AN AGENCY GUIDE TO WRITING RFPS THAT ACTUALLY WORK
Thanks to Carey Jernigan, Vice President, re:group incorporated in Ann Arbor, Michigan for bringing this well-written White Paper to our attention. It’s meant to be shared with any client you know (or hear about) that has threatened to author the infamous RFP! We probably can never stop them from being written, but we should do what we can to encourage that they be workable, palatable documents. Check it out at: http://www.regroup.us/povpapers/index.html.
WHAT IS YOUR AGENCY’S ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLAN?
Tell us; tell us how they cry! It’s a fair question. You have to grow if your client spend is shrinking. So how are you positioned to grow revenue in spite of the current economy? What is your agency’s economic stimulus plan? Have you considered breaking into a new category or vertical market? Maybe it’s offering a new line of services like mobile or interactive. At AgencyFinder we’re looking for opportunities for your agency. We stepped out on a limb to investigate the Administration’s economic stimulus plan to spend $1 trillion dollars and went looking for agency opportunities. If we invited you in a review where your agency had relevant category experience and the client was primed to spend $1 trillion dollars in 2009, how long would it take your business development person to get on the horn and investigate? How long does it take to count to One?
To help us investigate this opportunity-laden land of the new Obama administration, we turned to an advocate of small to mid sized U.S. businesses, Mr. Cian Robinson. Cian specializes in government contracting. He works with firms that want to gain serious consideration from government agencies in need of his clients’ products and services.
What we found was interesting. It’s actually a little more complicated than filling out a form and calling your congressman for some introductions. If your agency wants consideration for any of the $1 trillion spend about to happen this fiscal year, you need to be on a G.S.A. schedule.
For those unfamiliar with the term G.S.A. schedule, G.S.A. stands for General Services Administration as in the U.S. Government’s indispensible resource for access to qualified government contractors. A “schedule” refers to the way the G.S.A. categorizes the different types of service and products the government contracts out and the list of contractors associated and approved to offer services and products in those categories. If you are not on a schedule approved by the G.S.A., you won’t see a dime of government spend.
So how do agencies benefit from this G.S.A. schedule? And what schedule(s) best fit an agency? How do you get your agency on schedule? Cian has the answers and I suspect you’ll find this eye-opening. The GSA provides an Advertising & Integrated Marketing Solutions (AIMS) schedule. It is for customers (e.g. government agencies) that need assistance educating the public. This may include developing an interactive recruitment plan for the U.S. Army, or something as simple as placing media buys in a region for the U.S. Census.
Contracts are awarded to advertising and marketing firms that can assist government agencies in accomplishing its goals. Under the AIMS Schedule (check this out), a multitude of services are available and are categorized into 5 groupings for ease of reference.
Each of the five schedules must be completed and then submitted to the GSA. After receipt, the GSA enters negotiations with your agency. This is the process where the agency negotiates a “rate card” per say for its products and services.
Once on schedule your agency is eligible to be contracted directly by the U.S. government agencies and their prime contractors with or without the benefit of an RFP process, depending on the need. You still need to market your agency as you would if you were entering into any other new category, but without getting on schedule, you’re not even in the game. Are you interested? Would you like to pursue a G.S.A. schedule? Or talk with a government contracting specialist to help you construct, negotiate, and navigate your way into getting on schedule and submitting for U.S. government contracts?
MAY WE INTRODUCE YOU TO ASGAR?
We can’t control who stops by to register at AgencyFinder, and we do get all kinds. In some cases, the phone and fax are bogus, but generally not so for the e-mail address.
When the phone bombs out (we telephone them all), Kaille sends this little diddy: “Thank you for your inquiry @ agencyfinder. We tried to give you a call but found the phone number you provided incorrect, so I thought I’d follow by email. Feel free to poke around at www.agencyfinder.com, but just to clarify, our service is offered at no cost and is also confidential, so we encourage you to take advantage.
Just let us know what you need and we’ll be glad to help. (yes, believe it or not, we are that kind and that helpful.) It’s that simple. If AgencyFinder isn’t the best avenue for you, we can lead you to some other resources. If you found what you needed, please let me know that as well.”
In one such recent incident, our registered client “Asgar” replied: “No way I’m returning to your site, I can’t seem to find the time to fill out elaborate surveys these days.”
I hope you feel as we do – the process of selecting a new marketing partner takes time, and at that, Asgar wouldn’t be a good catch!
AGENCYFINDER.EU LONDON MOVES TO NEW QUARTERS
Adam Whittaker, Sam Reardon Smith, Heather Bourne and crew have moved to fresh new quarters in the ever so achingly trendy Shepherds Bush; just down from the Beeb, across the Green from Westfield (the largest shopping mall in the UK) and over the road from The Shepherds Bush Empire, the best gig in the country by a mile. In Adam’s words, “if you fancy popping in for a chat there is ALWAYS something to do afterwards or before if you get here early. We’re 30 minutes from Shoreditch, 20 from the City and 10 from Soho and the West End.” Check it out! … AND FINALLY.
2009 has already demonstrated it’s going to challenge the very best at agencies of all shape and size. Like we said last month, the “business” of business development has never mattered so much to so many.
Our staff here in the US and our folks in London will continue to do all we can to turn up and turn out every viable new business opportunity we can find or that finds us. All of that in an effort to remain a vital part of your firm’s new business process. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to make this year a successful one for you.
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!
Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO
Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060