Agency New Business Warning – No Lifeguard On Duty

I’ve recently started doing Zumba, the Latin-inspired, aerobic dancing workout, in an attempt to improve my health.

OK, I am really doing it because I’m going to the beach this summer and I don’t want to find myself on the cover of People for having the worst beach body in the US.

So I’ve set a goal of how much weight I’d like to lose between now and July.

Many of you might feel the same way about new business development.

You need to bring on five new clients, generating at least $100,000 in billings by July.  No pressure.

So armed with a list of 500 companies with whom you would love to work, a database and a quadruple-shot Venti latte, you start pounding away at the phone.

You feel motivated, confident and inspired. You imagine yourself at next year’s Ad Club award dinner, accepting the award for most successful agency.

Accolades and billings abound.

I’d love to tell you this is exactly what will happen for you.

But as I sit here with my leg propped up, a cold pack resting on my shin, I am going to blow my life guard whistle and using my stern voice tell you to stop running around the pool.


No Running Around The Pool!

You see, last week, I felt great about my Zumba routine.

I was losing weight and people were noticing it. I bought new jeans a size smaller.

My confidence was at its highest.

So I pushed it.

Instead of doing my normal 5.5 hours of Zumba, I did eight hours.

Imagine going to work for a full day of just doing Zumba. That’s what I did, on top of doing my real job.

Did I lose an extra twenty pounds? No.

Did I go down another jeans size? No. Am I ready for my Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover? Not even close.

I wound up losing two measly pounds and gained a painful case of shin splints.

Now I’m falling behind on Zumba because I have to take a few days off to nurse my leg back to health.

I’ve seen the same thing happen to many sales people.

They start out the gate strong and aggressive only to wind up quitting or in the hospital.


Slow and Steady

As one of my colleagues tells me about my weight loss, I will tell you about new business development, “Slow and steady wins the race.”

I’m not losing any weight sitting with my leg propped up.  And chances are you won’t gain any new clients if you burn out after a few weeks of prospecting.

It takes an average of seven “touches” before a prospect remembers who you are and what your agency does. 

If you contact a prospect once a week, that’s about two months before they even know who you are.

If you burn out after the first month, what have you accomplished?

Burnout is a huge challenge in a sales force.

I’ve worked for a few companies that mandate that you take at least five consecutive vacations days off.  They do this because it will improve your productivity.

Everyone needs down time to recover, relax and come back re-charged.

There are many resources you can turn to for assistance with time management and stress reduction.

Here is a great article that discusses the effects of stress in the workplace.

Additionally, I am going to share with you a great piece of advice I learned from one of my colleagues and mentors, who was also one of our top sales performers.


Under Pressure

Look at all of this pressure you feel and identify where it’s coming from.

Many times, it’s internal pressure that you’re putting on yourself.

Will I ever look like an SI swimsuit model? Probably not. This is pressure I’m putting on myself.

Chances are most people at the beach will be more concerned about how they look than how I look.

Of course keeping your agency alive is more important than how good you look at the beach in a swimsuit.

But the lesson is still the same, control what you can control, pace yourself and be in this new business development race for the long haul, not just the quick turnaround.

Ask yourself, if I don’t land five new clients, but can nail down three with two prospects who will probably come on board at year’s end, is that OK?

If your agency will close its doors in July without those five, than quite honestly, you should’ve been worrying about new business development a few years ago.

There is no lifeguard on duty in the office. You have to save yourself.

So before you wind up with shin splints, get a latte, enjoy an hour or two in the spring weather and pace yourself.

Then get back on the phone and start prospecting when you’re in a better frame of mind.