Agency New Business: Prospects Go Dark, Don’t Let Your Agency Do The Same

Originally featured in the BOLO Digital Conference Blog as Agency New Business: Prospects Go Dark, Don’t Let Your Agency Do The Same

As an agency-focused new business development/lead generation firm that helps clients win new business, we had some amazing conversations with agency principals at BOLO 2012 and were asked throughout the conference where we thought agencies could most improve.

One big challenge for agencies when it comes to new business is the prospect that goes dark.

Always tough, and agencies tend to get worried or even desperate when it’s been a few days or weeks.

Key there is to not to get anxious (easy for me to say I know) and when you do reach back out, find something of value to further the conversation so it’s not just a generic check-in.

Something interesting about going dark that’s not often talked about:

Amazingly, agencies do the same to prospects, usually without meaning to, but excellent opportunities are lost that way.

Agency New Business

We found this out quickly in the early days of our business.

In the course of obtaining qualified meetings for clients and weekly follow up after those meetings, we asked how things were progressing and where they stood with those prospects.

Alarmingly, many of the answers were along the lines of, “just haven’t had time to get back” or “yes, thanks, need to do that.”

For the same reasons agency clients were coming on board in the first place (lack of time for a consistent process because clients have to come first) we realized we often needed to take the reins (where it made sense) after those first meetings.

And you can’t let the fact that you’re slammed cause a promising prospect to fall through the cracks. It most often happens with those prospects who have a need, but it’s several weeks or months away.

Before that first meeting ends, respectfully ask for a second, as well as a timeline if possible. Immediately afterwards, set calendar reminders for yourself and take a few minutes to craft a meaningful email or make a phone call.

Have brief commentary ready for a current industry trend or how you recently solved a problem for a client.

Don’t pester them, but stay consistent in your reach-outs and the prospect will see what working with you looks like, making them feel better and better about you before you’ve stated working together.


As Vice President of Sales at RSW/US, Lee drives sales efforts to bring ad agencies and marketing services firms on board with RSW, creates content around successful new business tactics and takes part in RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. You can find him on LinkedIn ( or Twitter (@leemcknightjr).