Over the course of the coming weeks, I’ll be posting summaries of the 17 Chapters presented in our latest Webinar “The Second Hardest Part About Prospecting: Closing the Deal”.
These 17 Chapters will be fleshed out and will be released this Winter in a new Agency New Business Handbook titled:
Put on that $%*! Sales Hat! The Hardest Part of Agency New Business.
The 17 Chapters talk about why you need to wear your sales hat at every step of the process, from pre-prospecting preparation to working opportunities to close.
The majority of the book (and the presentation) focus on elements that Agencies either often overlook, are too busy to consider, or are simply too lazy to pursue.
In this new economy of time crunched Marketers, smaller budgets, fragmented media, increased pressure on ROI, and more Agencies trying to win fewer (and seemingly smaller) pieces of agency new business, the need to operate more like a salesperson (at all stages of the new business development process) is critical.
Simply doing things the same way isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Chapter 4: It’s Not About You My Friend!
I was in a final pitch presentation for the Domain Chandon business – a search we were managing back in 2010. We had three agencies in the final pitch and each of the agencies were extremely strong.
One of the agencies (an agency out of San Francisco) started their presentation with a review of some great work they did for the Washington Lottery. Beautiful case study. Multiple platforms, great integration, very clever strategy. Really impressive.
Only problem was the campaign spend was $30M-$40M and Domain Chandon had $1.5M to spend.
End of the line for that agency.
No discussion as to why they were sharing the case study. No articulation of how the work for the Lottery related to the challenges of Domain. Again, beautiful work, but all about the agency and not about the client.
Don’t fall into the trap that most agencies fall prey to: Talking mostly about themselves and not about the marketer and their business. In our 2011-2012 survey on agency new business, 79% of marketers stated that they feel like agencies talk too much about themselves when they are in meetings with them – and not enough about their business.
Wanting, Not Needing
Marketers tell us that they expect more during initial meetings with marketing agencies. They want to know you care, are interested in them, and understand their business.
Think about it…if someone opens up a door for you, they’re doing it because they believe that you can offer them something that they aren’t getting now. But that said, they don’t want to be told this, they’d like to walk away feeling this.
If you went to a doctor and all they did was talk about their credentials and jumped into solving your problem without asking any smart questions, how would you feel about that doctor? Probably not all that great. If they start probing and discussing your situation and then bridge that back to their experience with similar situations, you’ll feel a hell of a lot better than when you walked in.
They don’t want to know how great you are. I mean of course they do…but they don’t want to be knocked over the head with it…or bored with it by being taken through a dry capabilities presentation to get the message.
“I Loved the Way They Were Thinking About the Account!”
Just like you like to talk and hear about yourself and your own business, the prospects are much more interested in themselves and the things they are doing…so let them do the talking…but you need to do the guiding.
Part of what marketers tell us they want (and no surprise here) is an agency that understands their business and their category. Having a conversation about somebody’s business and asking smart, strategic questions, puts the prospect in a better place about you.
Just had a client come back from an agency visit with an agency that is moving into the next round of a search. Client felt great about the meeting because “…they clearly came to the table asking smart questions and were well prepared for our conversation. I loved the way in which they are already thinking about the account”.
We suggest to our agency clients that they close the laptop. Take the crutch of the capabilities presentation away.
Think about what that prospect’s world is all about, what problems they might be facing, what issues they might like to work to resolve.
As we talked in previous chapters, formulate some questions that are smart and business/marketing focused that you can lead with when you meet with a prospect.
Honesty IS the Best Policy
Tell the prospect that you don’t want to present and do all the talking, because you know that’s what everyone else does.
We’ll talk about this a bit more in upcoming chapters, but part of the exercise as you prepare for this meeting is asking yourself where you want to end up, at the end. Where do you want the prospect to be and what do you want your next step to be?
You need to be thinking about how to make this meeting about the prospect and at the same time sell yourself. Frankly, that’s what you need to be doing during the entire new business development process.
Tale of the 14 Kansas City Look-Alikes
So remember, if all you do is walk in and talk about all the great things you do, you’re going to look like every other agency. I’ll never forget…the year I started the business (in 2005)…visiting Kansas City for a meeting among agencies that were all part of this network. I gave each of them a transparency (remember those!) and asked them to write their elevator pitch on the transparency.
14 of the 15 agencies all said the same thing: We’re strategic; Our clients love working with us; We are fun to be around; We are hard working….yada yada yada.
I bring this up only to highlight the fact that if all you do is deliver your elevator pitch and talk about all the great things you’ve done, you’ll look just like the 14 of 15 agencies.
Think about what your prospect wants. What they want to talk about. What’s important to them.
Remember, in the end…no matter what step of the new business development process…you always need to put on that $%*! Sales Hat!