For those of you following these posts, this is a summary of chapter 6 of 17 chapters from our soon to be released 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 6: We Don’t Care How Nice They Are!
Building a nice relationship with your prospects is important, but too often we find that agencies walk into meetings and strike up great conversations and feel really good about the prospect they meet with, but end up with nothing to show for the conversation.
Of course we do care how nice they are…but the reality of it all is you need to get beyond the personal and you need to think about where you want the conversation to go.
I often use this example…so if you’ve heard it, forgive me.
We had a agency client who went into a meeting we set up for him. This client was a chicken farmer on the side. He’d often spend his weekends decompressing from the fast paced life of the agency world and retreat to his chicken farm.
Like all of the meetings we set for clients, we debriefed with him post his conversation…expecting to hear the good news of a next step. Instead we got: “Had a great conversation. Turns out he was a chicken farmer too! We really hit it off and shared some great stories about our chicken farming experience!”.
When asked if they talked business or what was discussed relative to how he could help him – or what the next steps were – there was nothing. Dead silence.
They agreed to stay in touch…that was it.
If you find yourself getting too deep into the personal side of a prospect’s life and your intent was to go in and find the opportunity here’s what you do:
- Don’t be afraid to change the subject to get them back on track
- But rather than turn the subject back on you
- Turn it to them by suggesting that one of your clients had a similar personal experience and then say
- “Reminds me…something they did relates to your business situation”
- Then follow with a question that will get them talking about their challenges
- Which hopefully will get you back on the right (business) track
Think about it this way:
You’re there to engage to engage.
You want to be engaging and interesting and develop a nice relationship.
But in the end, you’re there to engage your prospect in a business deal and you need to be thinking about how you’re going to do this from the start.