What role does confidence play in winning new business? I’m not referring to swagger or arrogance (two qualities that may do more harm than good). I’m talking about stepping into a pitch situation with the confidence of an expert.
I want to offer you a perspective on pitching that is entirely different from the way most agencies treat new business. The premise is both simple and complex and I freely admit I won’t be able to do justice to all it has to offer. But I would like to focus on one of his key messages: Alphas win.
An agency that isn’t in control of its narrative places that control in the hands of the prospect, and that prospect doesn’t have the best interests of the agency in mind.
Earlier this month I was speaking to a group of agency owners and the topic of specialization came up, at least when it comes to business development. This elicited a comment from one of the agency owners in the audience. They had tried this specialist strategy and it didn’t work. In fact, it had the opposite effect — they couldn’t find enough new business opportunities to sustain the firm. What did I have to say to that?
To be sure, I see enormous benefits to specializing when it comes to new business, but it’s not without its risks, as this agency owner pointed out. This month, I offer some hedges against that risk.
When it comes to pitching for new business, agencies are so accommodating!
They put in late nights and give up holiday weekends. They divert their best teams from paying clients to do spec work. They put up with terrible briefs and minimal information.
Are they too willing to play on the client’s terms for the chance to compete for
I’ve identified four points in the pitch process where agencies should set their own terms, both for the sake of the future client relationship and their ability to pursue new business from other clients.
It’s January, a time to stride forth into the new year and activate the plans you've made to grow your ad agency – dust off that prospecting list, revive the agency’s blog, hire a biz dev whiz to steer the efforts.
How’s that going so far?
We're as quick to break resolutions as we are to make them. Psychologists call this “false hope syndrome,” which means our resolutions are unrealistic and out of alignment with our internal view of ourselves.
What's the secret to counteracting this natural tendency?
For a moment, put aside your ambitious plans for 2017 and take a critical look at your team (including yourself) and what it's best equipped to do. See if your agency matches one of these five types. It could unlock the secret to winning more new business this year.
Last January, I started off the year with some thoughts on what’s required to hook a big client. In case you don’t have time to re-read the post, I’ll cut to the chase: winning big takes the courage and commitment to think big.
But details matter too. Sometimes they matter a lot. In extreme cases, neglecting the details derails the pitch, turning your big ambitions into a lot of wasted energy and frustration.
So this January, I thought I’d start off 2016 with five stupid and avoidable reasons for any ad agency to lose a new business pitch.