Going after new business puts you in a vulnerable position. There’s always a risk that you’ll be unable to persuade the other party to buy what you’re selling.
We don’t like feeling vulnerable or being rejected. In fact, it’s deeper than dislike. It’s straight-up fear. To avoid the fear, we might convince ourselves to stay in our safe place and keep doing whatever it is we’ve been doing (or not doing), no matter how unsatisfying or unproductive it is.
The devil you know…
Until a crisis shakes us out of complacency and forces us to act. And then we scramble to fix the crisis, dipping back into our network or lowering our price because we need a win.
What would change for your agency if you could take fear out of the equation?
Our complex marketing ecosystem has resulted in a Cheesecake Factory menu of specialist agencies filling every marketing niche imaginable.
As these specialist agencies seek new growth, they’re turning to other agencies.
For example, a social media agency (let’s call it the Selling Agency) might partner with a digital agency (the Customer Agency) to fill a gap in the Customer Agency’s services. The Customer Agency can offer its client what it needs, the Selling Agency gets exposure to more potential clients on the other agency’s roster, and both make money. Hooray!
But there’s a big downside. The Selling Agency will never have as much influence over the client relationship as the Customer Agency will.
That leads to all sorts of hazards. In this post, I’ll tell what those hazards are and give you strategies you can use throughout the sales cycle to hedge against them.
I’m often surprised by how many ad agency executives ignore their own network of contacts. Somehow, between servicing current clients and chasing after new prospects, these valuable contacts get taken for granted.
Your network is one of the best sources of new business you have, but it needs care and feeding. One way to do this is through a re-engagement campaign.
“But that’s an email marketing tactic,” you might be saying to yourself. And you’d right. But, as I explain in my recent guest post on HubSpot’s marketing blog, you can adapt it to generate new business leads quickly and efficiently. After all, it’s easier converting someone who knows and likes you into a prospect than it is building a whole new relationship.
It can easily take more than a dozen points of contact before a prospect says “yes.” That means you need a steady supply of content. If you’re like many of the ad agencies I work with, that can be a daunting thought at first. But you’re probably sitting on more prospecting-ready information than you realize and I have a tool to help you draw it out.
Still managing your prospects largely through Post-It notes? Relying too much on a white board (the one that your assistant just erased by mistake) to track your marketing activities?
Time for an upgrade! Check out my recommendations for five indispensable tools for agency new business. They also happen to be widely available, and most are easy to put in place so you can start using them right away.
In part one of my three-part series on blogging, I advocated for including a well-maintained blog as part of an integrated business development program, but it still left open the gapingly large question of what to write about. In this post, I’m hoping to alleviate some of that anxiety with a flexible editorial approach and a list of themes that can generate an endless number of topics.
What about your agency? Do you have a blog? Is it an invaluable marketing tool or the source of frustration? I'd love to hear your comments!
What's a "brand-centric consumer catalyst" anyway?
My last blog post tossed around the notion that it’s almost impossible for a full-service ad agency to have a completely unique selling proposition, so it's understandable that many agencies veer the other direction and try to be all things to all people. I think this stems from a fear of losing out on opportunities by being too specific, but in fact I’d wager that the opposite is true. The more you can articulate who you truly are, the more easily the right prospect will find you and the wrong prospects will avoid you.
Made Movement in Boulder, CO is a great example of an ad agency that's boldly put a stake in the ground. With clients like Seventh Generation and Church's Chicken, it seems to be paying off.
There's a lot to be learned from Made's approach -- check out my latest blog post.
A Unique Selling Proposition – we should all have one, right?
The truth is, an astounding number of advertising agencies don’t and there’s a very good reason for that. With approximately 20,000 agencies in the United States all pretty much offering the same set of services, the chances of landing on a completely unique selling proposition are slim. Unfortunately, many agencies go to the opposite extreme. Fearing missed opportunities, they get seduced by the idea of being all things to all prospects.
My latest blog post explores the notion of "unique" when it comes to positioning your ad agency and includes a few concrete steps to get you focused on what matters to your prospects.
The idea that storytelling is an important part of the sales process is nothing new (in fact, if you’d like to read more on the subject, I’ve included three good sources at the end of this post).
Successful advertising agencies tell stories all day everyday on behalf of their clients – great stories about brands that capture the imagination. Ironically, this skill often doesn’t get translated when the agency writes its own case studies. I’ve observed an almost contradictory tendency to say too much without ever really getting to the most important point. Here’s an example, paraphrased from countless case studies I’ve seen from my clients (names changes to protect the innocent):