This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for AgencyFinder Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate to opt-in registered member agencies using e-mail. The contents of this Flash Report is the opinion of the writer and is not meant to be an infallible source of fact.
CONTENTS – Your Business Development Tools for 2020 Success – Lots to Digest
- Catch an Unsuspecting Worm
- If Your Website Has a Team Tab You Should Be There
- Agency New Business Secrets Every Rainmaker Should Know
- How to Generate Valuable Leads in Today’s Media Explosion
- Cold Calling Works! But Ice Cold Calling Doesn’t!
- Three Remarkable Alternatives to Spec Creative
- Who is Going to Answer That Phone?
- What Can We Do For You?
- Upgrade Your Plan
CATCH AN UNSUSPECTING WORM
You’ve certainly heard it said – the Early Bird gets one. Everyone (clients and agencies) spend much of January planning what they will do starting February and that planning creeps into February. There’s still time – beat the crowd and pounce on unsuspecting advertisers with your focused and assertive outreach. Use e-mail, social, video, USPS and even telephone. In your phone outreach, don’t be dainty. When connected to the proper authority, suggest politely but boldly – “I thought you might be interested in a second opinion! Would it make sense for us to meet?”
IF YOUR WEBSITE HAS A TEAM TAB YOU SHOULD BE THERE
Most agency websites, in recognition of the fact that chemistry is a critical element in agency selection, see the wisdom in an agency “Team” tab. There you’ll find the smiling faces (photo or illustration) of the key players – at least that’s how they are presented. For a first-time visitor, they may care about your management, but if they want to reach out to hire an agency, they want the new business contact. If that’s you and you aren’t posted yet, show this to your boss and ask it be done. It needs your photo and a pleasing bio!
AGENCY NEW BUSINESS SECRETS EVERY RAINMAKER SHOULD KNOW
Every agency new business consultant has them; virtually anyone who’s taken a crack at agency new business development will claim to have some. There aren’t many real secrets, but there are some simple tips worth noting and worth doing.
In the “outreach” category, you need a computer, telephone with headset, and contact management software (ACT, Salesforce, etc.) That platform will give you a place to create prospect and client databases, plus it allows you to “auto-dial” anyone in the database and record your discussion notes “on-the-fly.” It’s absolutely THE most efficient way to manage business relationships. Anything less is cheating yourself and your agency.
In the prospect “first meeting location” category, if you were never in the audience for our presentation, you need to experience “The Agency Tour as a New Business Tool.” That presentation by our sister-company Sales Marketing Institute, Ltd. was being made to select agency gatherings back when AgencyFinder was born and still is. Telephone me and I’ll walk you through it.
In all your dealings with a prospect – know your agency, know your people, know what your agency has done and for whom, know what your agency can do and how, be punctual, be honest, be forthright, be sincerely enthusiastic, be inspirational. Don’t be “all that”, don’t be a bore, don’t hog the floor, don’t steal thunder from others.
Ask until you understand; then ask again. Restate what the prospect said, and look for confirmation. Don’t offer solutions until you’ve heard the problem. Don’t speculate (in their business category), but do speculate using fictitious examples to demonstrate how you think and how your agency does things. Be careful what you say about anyone to anyone. Assume that any two people of the opposite sex, today even same sex that work together, are much closer than it appears. Deal or no deal! Marketing, advertising and public relations are passionate processes. Find and pick passionate marketing partners; then have fun!
HOW TO GENERATE VALUABLE LEADS IN TODAY’S MEDIA EXPLOSION
When new business is your agency assignment, you’re faced with an awesome array of media and method choices to connect with prospects. You can choose between push and pull. Push using targeted email complete with drip marketing, or Pull with your agency website as content king. There’s merit to both but I suggest it’s time to look back at what was working pre-media explosion.
Back in the day, when promoting agency business development training, we practiced what we preached – we armed ourselves with computers, a database of agency prospects, contact management software (ACT), send-me-something mailers, a headset and a whoopee cushion.
First we mailed manageable groups of teasing dimensional mailers. Then we started dialing for dollars. Nothing scripted, but I can assure you, the first few sentences were ingrained after a few calls; anything to start a pleasant, meaningful conversation. Then a simple question – what do you think of what I sent? We were looking for agencies that needed new clients, were prepared to work to earn new clients, and were willing (even back then) 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. Our earlier research had revealed about 35% of the client or advertiser universe was willing to talk to a new agency about a possible relationship. We assumed those figures applied to agencies as well, so we knew to press on. We also operated on the ten percent premise; 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” (updated for today’s many media alternatives) and probably no secret to you; you just needed to be reminded. Create and mail something (clever/topical dimensional mail via USPS), then 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 in this sea of options.
COLD CALLING WORKS! BUT ICE COLD CALLING DOESN’T
There’s been a significant sea-change to acknowledge and accept what now works in pro-active new business development. As we mentioned in “Secrets”, it wasn’t long ago that hundreds if not thousands of “Rainmakers” (how many recall that expression?) were busy sending clever dimensional direct mail packages. The content of those mailers posed a relevant question on a related topic with mention that the sender would call the week following. Those adept callers were gifted in the art of extemporaneous conversation and able to carry on to a follow-up conversation and ultimately to the powerful closing line – “Would it make sense for us to get together and meet?” This as we taught it to agencies from Seattle to New York to London, that’s a COLD CALL and it works!
Cold Calls work, day in and day out. Problem is, most agency folks either haven’t been trained properly or don’t have the personality to pull it off. Solution? Train people with the right personality. In contrast, without using the mailers, pull up your prospect list and dial the phone. Called party answers and you struggle to get traction. What do you say? THAT’S an ICE-COLD CALL – and few if any can pull that off. And be advised, those who suggest Cold Calling doesn’t work possibly want to make calls for you (big bucks at that), or they have some fancy e-mail program to sell. If you need help and some suggestions on that topic, let me know.
THREE REMARKABLE ALTERNATIVES TO SPEC CREATIVE
Here at AgencyFinder, we advise advertisers not to request or encourage “spec creative” in their final presentations. Yet one ad agency’s “spec creative” is another ad agency’s “demonstration.” But in general, spec creative to most means a sample ad or ad campaign that purports to represent an agency’s best thoughts for delivering “positive needle-movement” for the client conducting an advertising agency search and review. In the next breath, there seems to be agreement that a client deserves to see, in one way, shape or form, that an agency “gets it!” by demonstrating they will be able to deliver those positive results if hired and compensated to do so. Here are some alternatives we suggest:
- The Backward Glance – have the client reflect back (1-2 years) to a specific situation that occurred with their brand (marketing challenge) where they have evidence of actual results. In their Presentation Brief they would outline that situation in its entirety, then assign contending agencies the task of presenting specific solutions, including “spec creative” if they wish. Then compare and contrast those proposals to what actually did happen.
- The Dissimilar Business – have the client create a brief for a fictitious business situation (but familiar to the client) clearly removed and distinct from the client’s actual business. Let the contenders propose to this make-believe situation (with spec if they desire) but doing it this way, the client can witness the problem-solving skills of each agency without triggering agency concern that this creative might be “stolen” without compensation!
- The Complete Surprise – client gives contending agency folks (no advance notice other than the fact they can bring as many and whoever they wish) a “surprise” on-site assignment. 2 hours (with client present and witnessing) to prepare; then 30 minutes to present. No tools other than flip charts and markers.
In numbers 1 & 2 above, and with advance notice, each agency is asked to prepare a “Presentation Invoice” with details to show time, rates and totals for the presentation as if the agency were already on-board. That gets presented following the formal presentation. This topic is considerably more involved than this short discussion allows, but if you’d like to chat or help us expand on this, give me a call or drop me an email.
WHO IS GOING TO ANSWER THAT PHONE
I know of agencies paying $4,000 to $5,000 monthly to have third-parties working elsewhere make outreach calls trying to find someone, almost anyone who will agree to a meeting with the agency brass. On a score from 1 to 10, I rate those meetings at a 2. But who knows, once in a while it’s possible to strike Gold, so if the numbers work, why not? Now let’s take a look at that practice. Contractors make the outreach call. That can be an expensive call. Let’s assume the Contract caller connects and has a good chat and asks for a call-back. Contractor has a process. Having implied he/she works for and at the agency, the number that was left goes to voicemail only, answered only in the contractor’s name and voice. That’s another story.
Now let’s say the prospect is in a hurry, so rather than waiting for a return call, they find and call the main number on the agency website. Now it begins – the looping “Who is going to answer that phone!” Agencies nowadays have voicemail to cover the desk, so we get the – “Thanks for calling AgencyOne. If you know the extension of the party you’re calling, enter it now. For an agency directory, press 1. For this and that, press this or that. For New Business Press 4.” You’re routed to the Marketing Department. “No one can take your call. Please leave a message.” But if someone does answer and they ask for the Contractor, it’s likely they could hear “sorry, sHe doesn’t work here!”
WHAT CAN WE DO FOR YOU?
Regardless of your registration level, you’re welcome to ask for our help and advice. If you have questions on agency business development, email us; we’ll respond or give you a call. Make sense? Email to with subject line – Need NB assistance.
UPGRADE YOUR PLAN
If your firm isn’t already at one of the paid levels, I can’t imagine anyone from your agency enrolling here, building your profile and then NOT wanting invitations from clients looking to hire. Our free Iridium plan is essentially a business card listing, so if you want to engage a client prospect with your due-diligence call and interview, you need a paid registration. Smaller agencies generally select our Manager Plan; larger firms seem to prefer the EVP plan. For complete details start reading HERE; then finish HERE. Questions? Just ask!
Thanks for taking time to look this over; 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!