Business Development

How to Find Your Agency’s Next New Biz Pro

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

Guest Author – Mark Duval,  New Business Development for Advertising Agencies

How do you determine which candidates will perform for your agency based on a stack of paper? You can’t. High-quality hires are few and far between, and in recent years, the process of attracting and retaining a new business person has become almost a competitive sport.

Even The Duval Partnership is not immune to hiring challenges when it comes to high-performance new business professionals who are versed in the agency world. After bringing on some salespeople who did not ultimately perform to our standards, we knew we had to make some changes to our hiring process.

Over the past few years, we’ve been working with a sales recruiter to source our new business hires. The process has been rigorous and eye-opening. I want to share some of what I’ve learned with you.

Takeaway #1: Hire before you need someone.

Agencies often try to hire people when they needed them yesterday. This limits their candidate pool and forces them to pick the best of a smaller bunch rather than finding someone who is truly best for the role.

Takeaway #2: Use a multi-step interview process.

We have been using a 3-step interview process. Here’s an example of how it helped us filter candidates in a recent round of interviews. We started with resumes from 75 candidates, and thirty-five of those made it through our first round of elimination. After a quick initial vetting call, twenty candidates were invited to go through our interview process. Half of them made it through the first interview and assessment to the second round of interviews. Of those 10, four made it to the third interview.

The first interview is structured for us to ask them questions. The second one is an opportunity for them to ask us questions. And in the third interview, the candidates present us with their 30-60-90 day plan for success.

Ultimately, we ended up with four very strong, qualified candidates to choose from. In fact, they were so good that we decided to extend offers to two of them when we had initially only planned to make one hire.

Takeaway #3: Cast a wide net so you can more meaningfully assess sales abilities.

With a larger candidate pool, you can make more nuanced observations and comparisons about the best of that group. A larger group elevates the baseline and makes it more meaningful to be “the best” of the bunch.

When you have multiple qualified candidates, you can rank them by assessment scores and compare strengths and weaknesses between candidates. Additionally, you can cross-check candidates’ scores against the information provided in their interviews to verify capabilities alignment.

Takeaway #4: Prospect for candidates just like you do for new business.

Just as with agency new business outreach efforts, it pays to be proactive when sourcing salespeople. It’s not enough to wait for someone to respond and hope they will be a fit for your needs.

Additionally, it’s too easy for candidates today to use automated processes to send their resumes out for hundreds of open positions with a single click. If it’s not worth them taking the time to understand your business, they don’t really want to work with you — so why let them? Go out and find the people you’d like to work with and let them know what you have to offer.

Takeaway #5: Desperation invites poor results.

Just as hiring in a hurry for an immediate need won’t serve you well, the same is true when it comes to candidates who desperately need a job. The problem is that someone in that situation will say whatever they think you want to hear to get the job. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to trust what they are telling you and — if you hire them — are likely to end up with someone who is not a great fit for your business and the role. Get out of that cycle by hiring right-fit candidates before you desperately need them.

Sales interviewing tips:

  • Resumes are rife with misinformation and exaggerations. Use assessment tests to verify skills that have been self-reported. Evaluate candidates based on demonstrated results in a range you deem acceptable for the skills and capabilities necessary to succeed in the role. Don’t get attached to a candidate whose test results don’t support what they have told you.
  • When interviewing, push back on candidates’ claims. Ask for more information. Question strategies, approaches, and statements that seem too good to be true. Drill down on their sales math and the numbers and activity that have led to their success at each stage. It will quickly become apparent who knows their stuff and is representing themselves accurately.
  • Pay attention to the questions candidates ask of you and how they answer your questions. Are they asking questions that have already been answered — perhaps revealing that they aren’t a great listener? Do their questions reveal that they are a strategic thinker? Are they clear? Succinct? Do they talk around a question rather than answer it directly? In a prospect-facing role, these abilities factor into whether opportunities are won or lost.
  • Get them out of their comfort zone. You need to know how candidates will react in adverse, high-pressure situations. Will they get emotional? Defensive? Will they shut down? How do they react when they are put on the spot? Can they improvise and maintain their composure?
  • If you aren’t in sales, get some help when it’s time to hire a new business, sales, or business development person for your agency. Hire a sales trainer or reach out to someone you know in sales and ask if they can help craft the interview questions and assist in the vetting process.
  • Be wary of being “wowed.” It’s common for hiring decisions to be made based on first impressions or gut instinct. Don’t be so impressed by certain aspects of the candidate that you gloss over other details. These are notoriously bad reasons to hire someone (and can also be a red flag for affinity bias).
  • Beware the “magic Rolodex.” Agencies are always looking for that special individual with limitless contacts who can get them new business. But if they can’t perform, their connections are meaningless. And someone who can perform will compensate for any lack of connections. So be cautious about putting too much weight on who your candidate supposedly knows.
  • Don’t skip steps because you find a candidate you like. People who communicate well often find themselves in sales and business development positions — they interview well and make a great impression. Sometimes it is only after hiring that you’ll discover they’ve misrepresented their experience or abilities. Throughout our interview process, we eliminate some candidates who initially are standouts, while other candidates emerge as true superstars. Who we like at step one is always different from who we like at step three.

Interviewing questions for your next new business hire

What are some good questions to ask your agency’s next salesperson or business development person during the interview process? For your interview to be effective, make sure that you have identified the skills you are looking for, and develop a questioning strategy around those areas. These questions (which are modified from the Sandler Training we use) are broken down by some of the skill areas that are most critical for success in a sales role.

Attention to detail, planning and organization:

How do you go about getting the information you need to get started on a new project or to make important decisions?

How do you prioritize your projects and work responsibilities during the week?

Describe a project where you had to gather and analyze details before moving forward.

  • How did you determine which facts and information were most important?
  • How were you able to stay on track?

Describe the last time you prepared a sales call plan or agenda and what it included.

  • What format did you use?
  • How often do you write down your sales call agenda?
  • Do you pre-plan all of your sales calls?
  • How do you communicate your agenda to the prospect?

How did you prepare for this interview?

Prospecting abilities:

When prospecting, what is the greatest number of “no’s” you ever pushed through to eventually get to a “yes”? Tell me about that. How many “no’s” do you typically go through with a prospect before reaching a “yes”?

How do you determine which prospects are a waste of time and which are worth going back to repeatedly throughout the multiple rejections? How do you remain positive despite the high rates of rejection?

If two prospects give you a “yes,” one via cold calling and one in person, do they both carry the same weight and significance, or do you think there is a difference?

What would make you decide that a certain method or channel is not worth your time for prospecting?

Proactivity:

Tell me about the last time you had to make a quick decision to make something happen – something that is not normally your responsibility, but in this instance, you had to jump in.

  • Why did you have to make a quick decision?
  • How did your decision to jump in affect others?
  • Did you step on any toes in the process?
  • Looking back, did you make the right decision? Would you do anything differently?

Parting thoughts

Follow these tips to improve your outcomes next time you hire an agency new business person. Don’t forget to explore our eBook to learn more about hiring for new business.

Mark Duval is the Founder and President of The Duval Partnership, a full-service sales organization working exclusively with agencies. The Duval Partnership helps agencies acquire new business through the creation and implementation of customized, strategic sales solutions.

Leads for sale, leads for sale, but just what is a lead?

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

What’s your business title? CMO, CEO, CTO, Company President? As such you are bound to be the target of vendors that have “Leads for Sale.” Just what are these leads that seem so precious?

Spend a little time on social media and you’ll see an amazing variation of “leads for sale.” Presumably hundreds, thousands, even millions of prospect companies are anxious to hear from you, and to learn about your company products and services. But look online for a recent definition of leads and you’ll  find: A lead is an individual or organization that has expressed interest in buying what your business is selling. In short, a lead is a potential customer that has indicated they are interested in buying from you. In most cases, a lead “raises their hand” to show that they wish to be contacted by submitting their information directly to you. (compliments of G2)

Here are some historical definitions: a position of advantage in a contest; first place. “they were beaten 5-3 after twice being in the lead.” Or: To lead means to go in front, or to serve as the leader of a group.

Or this example in marketing slang: Party A sitting at a 2-top at McDonalds. Nearby at a 4-top are Parties B, talking loudly and mentioning their dissatisfactions with their current ad agency. Party A listens more closely to discover the name of Company, and after leaving, calls his friend Party C who owns a small local ad agency. Party A gives the identity of Company to Party C and suggests she call the company to solicit their business.  Party A gave Party C a “lead.”

Here’s recently received LinkedIn example;

William: Message. Let’s use LinkedIn to keep in touch more often

AF: Once you enroll your agency we communicate in that channel.

Hi AF (via LinkedIn), I hope you are doing good. I’m sending this note to introduce myself and our company . As a full-service user experience agency, we are able to deal with unforeseen project needs. Do you think it’s worth a quick 5 minute chat tomorrow or next week to find out if we can help you with this?

AF – Unfortunately you think we are an ad agency, we’re not. So your pitch has missed it’s mark.. But thanks for reaching out!

Every agency needs “leads” or better said “prospects” to engage in outreach marketing. Whether those “prospects” come from bulk email buys, tailored email buys, carefully curated LinkedIn contacts, carefully and meticulously purchased Winmo contacts – until they respond and (as it’s said) raise their hand, they are all just prospects. Don’t be confused! Finally, in our AgencyFinder world a lead with us is an actual “introduction,” delivered in our RFD (Request for Dialogue), a literal handshake and the beginning of a potential business relationship!

 

Just Say’n – WALKING IN HARMONY WITH GOD’S WORD

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

When we need to make a decision, the first question we should ask ourselves is: “Is my decision in harmony with God’s Word?” We have to decide what is going to be our authority in life. It boils down to this choice: God’s Word or the world.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

If we base our lives on popular opinion, we will always be out of date because it changes every day. What was “good” yesterday will be “bad” today, and what is “good” right now will be “bad” tomorrow. If we base our lives on popular culture or opinion polls, we will struggle because we build on a shifting foundation.

On the other hand, if we base our lives on God’s Word, the truth never changes. Truth is always true. If God says something was wrong ten thousand years ago, it was also wrong five hundred years ago, and it is still wrong today, and it will be wrong one thousand years from now.

It does not matter what the culture says or does or even what is popular at the time. If God says it is wrong, it is wrong. It always has been, and it always will be. If God says it is right, it will always be right. That is a solid foundation that has been shown over time.

God has set up the universe with specific laws, physical, moral, and spiritual. God built the universe around these laws because they are all for our benefit. When we cooperate with the principles in this universe, we succeed. If we reject, disobey, ignore, and rebel against God’s principles, we are the one who gets hurt.

We can be confident in our decisions. If God says it is good, then we do it. If God says no, then we do not do it. It is that simple.

Are you going to base your decisions today on what God says or what other people say?

Do you need Prayer? 

“Heavenly Father, when I read Your Word, I will base my life on Your Word alone.

Your Word gives specific instructions on what is right and wrong.

I know blessings in life are from You, and in that decision,

I will have peace. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

You Think That’s Scary? How About Finding and Landing a New Client for Your Ad Agency!

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

Consider Setup’s newly released study reporting “nearly one-third of U.S. brands may be contemplating switching up their ad agency in the next six months, while more than nine in 10 say chemistry is the most important factor in forging a new agency partnership. Their study sought insight from more than 300 marketers across major brands and agencies.” Of equal interest, more than 25 years ago, Sanders Consulting Group conducted a similar study but exclusively of major brands. There too 30% of polled clients expressed a willingness to consider a new agency if approached.

So there’s good news and bad. Good news if your agency has capacity and the desire for new clients. That being the case, get moving. Refresh relationships with traditional and on-line search consultants. Clean and update your profile here at AgencyFinder. Where you have directory listings, clean up that content. Ramp up your pro-active efforts. Keep your ears open. However, there’s bad news if any of your existing clients decide they want a new agency and start looking around. To stem the tide, pay close attention to existing clients. Deliver “First-Class” service and support. Learn and become adept on what they need to stay ahead of their own business development curve.

Take note – literally one-in-three advertisers could be potential candidates for movement, either in or out. So make your agency visible. Wave your hands; make some noise. Spend some money and now is a good time to make that investment at Manager Plan – not later when other agencies have already done what you need to do.

The aftermath of a 10-month adrenaline rush

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

Reflections by Good Fellow Drew McLellan of AMI

In March, you shot into action. You were unstoppable because you had no choice. Either you were fighting to save your agency or you were so slammed you were struggling to get the work out of the door.

You chased clients. You soothed employees and came up with all kinds of crazy ways to support them. You approached your bankers with dogged tenacity to get financial support. You clung to every penny and squeezed a nickel’s worth of value out of each one. You were ON.

Drew points the way

As things stabilized, you scrambled to delight the clients old and new, dealt with medical surprises, and fought to cross the 2020 finish line in the black.

Your adrenaline kept you fueled for those ten months. You were relentless in your efforts and it paid off. But you drained the battery dry.

You shifted into a lower gear throughout the holiday season and then, as January arrived, instead of being refreshed, focused, and fired up — you were the total opposite. I’ll bet you thought you’d come out of the holidays raring to go, with boatloads of energy and focus. But instead, those adrenal glands that have been working all three shifts for ten months, appear to be on strike.

See if you recognize any of these symptoms:

  • Fatigue, particularly when you first wake up, with episodic crashes throughout the day
  • Poor stress response
  • Challenges with regulating your moods
  • Brain fog/difficulty focusing for any length of time
  • Cravings for salty and sweet foods
  • A reliance on caffeine and other stimulants
  • Apathy or struggles to rise to the occasion

Many of you have described it as struggling to find your “mojo”. Since you don’t have the luxury of taking a month off or cruising to a remote island, you’ve got to identify some techniques to replenish your adrenal glands so they can give you the boost you need when you need it.

I don’t even play a doctor on TV so I’m not going to prescribe specifics beyond saying that several medical sites suggest upping our intake of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B5, B10, and B12
  • Magnesium

They also suggest adding more water, more sleep, and avoiding too much sugar and caffeine. Nothing earth-shattering — but all good ingredients for replenishment. I think the most important recommendation is recognizing that you need to re-fuel.

The sprint is over. I’m not saying everything is rosy but the crisis has passed and you have survived it.

We’re now in the marathon stage of working our way through a recession and getting back into our groove. Now is the time to slow your pace a little, fuel your body, and re-boot your adrenal glands.

I’m sharing all of this with you because many of you have been pretty frustrated that you can’t just “snap out of it.” I want you to see that you’re not alone in experiencing this and it’s not just in your head.

Stop beating yourself up and go give your adrenal glands a spa day!

Are you surprised at how 2020 is wrapping up?

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

To be honest, I’m not. I’m inspired by how 2020 is wrapping up, but I’m not all that surprised. I’ve watched you since the pandemic struck, and you’ve been remarkable.

Here’s what I’ve been witness to since early 2020.

  • You and your team reacted quickly when the lockdown hit
  • You made sure your team had everything they needed at home — extra monitors, better chairs, etc
  • You reached out to your clients with a very genuine desire to help and stayed by their side as they navigated the craziness of COVID
  • You started working double shifts to help clients, counsel your team, and face the financial truths
  • You made the difficult decision to crunch the numbers and watch them every week so you wouldn’t be caught off-guard
  • You started beating the streets — reaching out to former clients, the prospects in your pipeline, and anyone who responded to your outbound efforts
  • You chased down the PPP funds so you could ride out the storm
  • You created new offerings that would help your clients climb out of COVID’s grips
  • You found new ways to do old marketing tactics that worked in this weird moment in time
  • You made some difficult decisions and faced some hard goodbyes that broke your heart but protected your shop
  • You buckled down and created some truly helpful content that served your audience and attracted new people into your community
  • You hosted zoom cocktail hours, trivia contests, and karaoke debacles to keep up your team’s spirits
  • You landed some new clients and figured out how to onboard them even though you’d never met them
  • You kept up the crazy hours, working nights and weekends to keep everything running and your team calm
  • You guided your team back to the office in a safe and sane way (or this may still be on your to-do list for 2021) and reveled in the energy, collaboration, and joy of being back together
  • You brainstormed with clients to help them see the opportunities within the crisis and maximize them
  • You celebrated every win (big or small) with your team, and you’ve shouldered every loss in private, trying to keep everyone’s spirits up
  • You have clawed, crawled, and kicked your way back to profits, and now you are not only surviving in 2020, but you are thriving in it. For 90% of you, that means financially thriving. But even if you’re still working your way back money-wise, you’re thriving in other ways.
  • You have set yourself up for an amazing 2021

No wonder you’re tired, and no wonder I’m not surprised. You’ve been amazing.

Have you done it all perfectly? Probably not. But have you done it all with a full heart and the best of intentions? Have you run yourself ragged to take care of your clients, your team, and your family as 2020 is wrapping up?

The answer to all of those is a resounding yes. So you shouldn’t be surprised. You are right where you deserve to be because you earned it. With every late night and moment of worry. I hope you’re proud of yourself and what you’ve done. If you’ll permit me to say so, I’m incredibly impressed and proud of you.

All this as expressed and said by our good friend and association leader Drew McLellan at Agency Management Institute, AMI, check out Drew and his association!

 

 

What Did You Think of the Rubber Chicken?

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

What did you think of the rubber chicken? Today’s business development pros strongly suggest you avoid the cold call. Maybe that time is gone but maybe it’s time to bring it back. Folks are abandoning email like files on dead meat; the experts now advocate we annoy people in a new way. Let’s fill up their text message folders. People have considered text messages personal and sacred. But they do see business intrusion coming and they aren’t happy. But there’s good news for those working in the B2B world. Your intended recipients expect to be approached, one way or other. Enter direct mail and the call.

Your lead to leadsYour targeted B2B phone call will hit the target. It will always take more than one attempt, but your target finally answers. “Bernard Epson here”, and you say “Bernard, what did you think of the rubber chicken?” Rubber chicken you say! Yes you sent Bernard (or his female equivalent) a bright yellow rubber chicken. And he’s been waiting for your call. This call format is not for the faint of heart. It takes someone who can strike up a conversation and keep it going. The chicken (or anything else) is your conversation starter. What happens next is up to you but if you’re good, you had a warm conversation and an open door to call again.

Forrester: US Agencies Will Shed More Than 50,000 Jobs By 2021

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

by Alison Weissbrot

US agency sector will lay off about 52,000 jobs

The US agency sector will lay off about 52,000 jobs over the next two years as media spend declines 23%, Forrester predicts. Agencies are projected to cut 35,167 jobs in 2020 and 16,578 in 2021.

The global picture is even starker, with the big six agency holding companies poised to eliminate an additional 49,695 global positions by 2021.

“It’s a dismal forecast,” said Jay Pattisall, analyst at Forrester and author of the report. “Layoffs are inevitable and already underway.”

To date, all of the major holding companies have announced layoffs, furloughs and voluntary pay cuts. This activity will only continue as large swaths of the economy remain shut down and categories such as travel and retail are dark.

“This set of circumstances is unprecedented,” Pattisall said. “The contraction of spending is across the board, and agencies as a service provider take the biggest hit.”

Advertising agencies, which have struggled to adopt technology and are experiencing a long-term financial decline, will be the hardest hit by layoffs.

Advertising agencies already account for more than 50% of layoffs across the sector, and they are currently laying off 15% of staff on average, compared to 7% at digital and media agencies. Digital and media agencies offer more relevant services to clients looking to embrace digital transformation and communications.

“Economically, [advertising agencies] have been the most challenged in the United States,” Pattisall said. “Advertising has become a more programmatic and data-driven offering, and [advertising] agencies have been slower on the uptake of that technology.”

As agencies shed jobs, some will inevitably close, especially those that skew toward pressured categories or traditional services. Smaller agencies are more likely to close than larger ones with more resources or cash in the bank, but public companies are held to greater scrutiny for cost-cutting and creating shareholder value.

“The impact should be pretty even across the two,” Pattisall said. “But it’s likely that you see publicly owned companies taking action earlier because of the economic pressures.”

Silver lining?

As agencies are forced to reduce headcount, there’s “tremendous opportunity” to reshape their talent pool, Pattisall said. Agencies that embrace automation and hire talent with multidisciplinary expertise, as opposed to channel-specific knowledge, are better positioned.

“Ultimately, it will be less specialization and more of a multiskilled workforce that includes new systems and tools,” he said.

Agencies must also accept technology and automation as a fundamental part of their workflow. While digital and media agencies have been adopting automation, machine learning and AI for years, advertising agencies need to catch up.

Creative agencies, traditionally resistant to technology, have an opportunity to use automation to surface insights that inspire ideas, help teams collaborate and scale production. And media agencies can lean even further into AI and machine learning to inform audience segmentation, channel selection, budget allocation and measurement.

“I see all agency capabilities being assisted by automaton to one degree or another, from finance to HR, all the way through to strategy, creative and production,” Pattisall said.

Cuts to the agency workforce could inspire CMOs to bring more work in house, either to cut costs in the short term or as a result of agency talent drain. There will be more opportunities for brands to hire in-house talent or freelancers who have been laid off from agencies.

But eventually, companies will have to decide whether a long-term investment in an in-house team is worthwhile. And if it’s not, marketers have to play a role in reshaping agency structures and compensation models so they can survive in a new reality.

“CMOs that cut these corners may find themselves continuing to suffer from the impact of the shortening tenure inside the C-suite,” Pattisall said.

You’ve Got 30,000 Competitors – Did You Know That?

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

How in the world can you expect to stand out; how will anyone find you? If you’re an ad agency or any of its derivatives, you’ve been told for years there are 29,999 more agencies in the US competing with you, wanting to be found. So what’s the secret for breaking through the clutter to connect with ideal clients?

Follow this… Not too many years ago in the mid-nineties, most agencies were content to prospect within a limited-mile radius of their office. Biz Dev consisted of direct mail, modest early-stage email and telephone outreach. And most competitors were also within that radius, but certainly nothing like 30,000! From the client’s perspective, other than Yellow Pages and Redbook, there was a crying need for a place or service they could use to search and find perfect-fit agency candidates. In 1997, to answer that need we introduced AgencyFinder.com, one place clients could visit to find and explore a database of extensive agency data contributed by our many good-friend agencies themselves. Substantial Internet traffic found us and for quite some time the “world was our oyster.”

We delivered no-cost algorithm agency search coupled with HI (human intelligence) consultant-assisted guidance. That was good for the industry because agency websites were themselves at an infant stage. Maybe you don’t remember, but agency websites were often wanting! Then after quite a spell, AgencyFinder copycat directories began to surface. Disappointingly directories embraced the “Google Model” – the more an agency paid the more prominent their display. Not really fair to agency or client. Close but “no cigar” in what they delivered, but they chipped away at our traffic anyway. And agencies were beginning to learn.  SEO and SEM; keywords, social media – all to vector searching clients directly to their websites. And that’s where things are today. Slowly but without mercy, those 30,000 agencies each introduced websites all decked out in their best SEO, shouting “I’m here!” But what is here? Is it equivalent to searching a database of 4,500 prominent agencies committed to new business who drew upon more than 500 data fields, 7 essays, case histories and website access to factually and visibly define their firms, or is it the relatively shallow agency website data Google will use to find candidates? For local search Goggle is powerful, but most clients are well beyond locations as their primary stipulant.

So what to do… well, what goes around comes around. Direct mail is again shouting “look at me!” Agencies advise clients to target; so agencies should target as well. Email these days is destined to the giant junk mail folder in the Cloud. Clever DM can be a pleasant and compelling surprise. That coupled with professional telephone outreach to ask – “what did you think of what I sent?” can begin a meaningful business relationship. But don’t forget to check out or overlook AgencyFinder.com and those few like us that still offer the precision and free service that’s always been our forte’. If you’re an agency needing targeted client introductions Enroll Now. If you’re a client needing “perfect-fit” agencies, Search Now!

Why the World Doesn’t Need Another Generalist Firm

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

We’re going to kick this off with some tough love: The world does not need another generalist firm.

The reason why running your agency still feels so hard is you have not successfully positioned your firm. And let me tell you, avoiding The Difficult Business Decision is the single biggest problem when it comes to business development.

Specializing is scary. It feels risky. You don’t want to scare off leads — lord knows, they’re hard enough to come by!

Think about that for a second.

You call yourself a “full-service agency” because it makes you feel like you’re covering all the bases. Look no further, Mr. Client! There’s nothing we can’t do for you.

But if your client list is bloated with too many clients, paying too little but demanding way too much and, keeping you from actually attracting the ideal clients you so dearly need — you have a positioning problem.

Maybe it’s time to rethink risk.

Like a list of competitors as long as your arm — and that’s just your local market.

That is risky.

In this scenario, you have little or no power so you capitulate and write the Big Damned Expensive Proposal (and miss eating dinner with your family, again).

Your power comes from being seen as meaningfully different in the eyes of your ideal client.

To choose a focus for a market is to choose power. You are choosing to be strong.

The truth is, successful positioning is what separates the good WWP firms from the great.

They didn’t get there by failing to decide.

They got there by boldly staking their claim and building deep expertise in the service of their ideal clients.

They didn’t let an expensive consultant do the picking for them.

They didn’t delegate it to a writer or make it a branding-by-committee exercise.

They did the hard work of reframing their business around their bold decision (we’ll get to that later) … but first, they decided … to decide.

“I’m going to do X discipline for Y market.”

Stay tuned: we’re going to share the framework for making that Big Business Decision and all the things that flow from it that have served other WWP firms just like yours so well in a few days.

And just in case you’re thinking:

“I get it. I do. But we’re a creative firm … I’ll be bored with any one thing I choose in about 3 months flat. Then what?”

That’s a topic for our next email.

It’s one of the BIGGEST misconceptions — that your creativity will shrivel up and die. I promise you, it’s the opposite.

I’ll show you what your new and powerful world will look like in my next email.

We’ll look for it and get it posted!

This post compliments of Shannyn Lee, Director of Coaching at Win Without Pitching

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