Old brain

We had our New Business Directors (and me) sit through a day-long sales training session.

The purpose was partly to help them improve their effectiveness as they reach out on behalf of their marketing agency clients.

The other purpose was to further educate them on ways they can help their marketing agency clients move opportunities to close.

The focus of much of what we did and learned that day was centered on ways to wake up the “old reptilian” brain in the heads of these marketers.

While what you say is critically important, equally as important is how you communicate and deliver.

We went through a number of exercises on how to cut our messaging down to what mattered most and how to use certain biases that prospects naturally have, to our advantage.

Old brain

All of these things can and will not only benefit our own efforts to open doors and set meetings for our agency clients (we’re on track to set close to 1,300 meetings for our clients this year!), but they also benefit the efforts of our clients as they put on their sales hats to move prospects down the line to close.

So as you reach out to prospects to get your own meetings set or as you nurture your past meeting prospects in an attempt to get them to close, think about these 6 sales tips that can help you improve your chances of waking up your prospect’s “old brain” to connect with them emotionally.

  1. Me! Me! Me! Focused.  That’s them “me”, not “you” me.  Make it about them, not you.
  2. Simple, Easy to Grasp Ideas.  We like to say “use 1/2 the words” to tell them what you need to tell them.
  3. Beginning and End.  Speaking of “tell them”, tell them what you want them to walk away with, then finish with the same.
  4. Clear Contrast.  Find your “one thing” as a few of our clients call it.  Find it and stick to it.
  5. Use Images.  The “old brain” doesn’t hear your words.  And who has the time to read anyway (except our posts, of course!).
  6. And Emotion/Engagement/Excitement.  Create it by bridging their situation back to a great story about one of your clients…make them feel like they’re part of the story.

So yes, one could argue that these are relatively rudimentary, but reality is, there are few agencies doing this – at every step of the new business development process.

It needs to start the moment you first pick up that phone, should carry right into the proposal or RFI response, then land directly in their lap during the presentation.

If you follow these basic steps, you’ll find your engagement levels to be more numerous, the conversations more meaningful, and the likelihood of closing business higher than it has ever been before.


Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.