A few thoughts on agency new business via an interesting Forbes article by Eric Jackson titled The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives.

Three of the seven “habits”  distinguished themselves in their application to the agency world and agency new business.

Agency New Business

It’s Good to be the King

1. They see themselves and their companies as dominating their environment

I thought immediately of the “name’ agencies out there and past horror stories but it really doesn’t matter what size agency you are, any agency principal call fall prey to this.

Per the article:

They vastly overestimate the extent to which they actually control events and vastly underestimate the role of chance and circumstance in their success.

Words to remember-perhaps you feel this way in regards to the niche your agency resides/dominates in or in regards to your dominion over a particular geography.

Don’t build that wall of superiority around you, it may in fact crumble.


Face it, I Might As Well Be The Agency new Business Solomon

2. They think they have all the answers

Sure, this could be applied to any business, but I focused in on the end of the following quote from the article (bold is mine):

Leaders who are invariably crisp and decisive tend to settle issues so quickly they have no opportunity to grasp the ramifications. Worse, because these leaders need to feel they have all the answers, they aren’t open to learning new ones.

This is the Catch-22-you want the decisive leader but apparently not overly decisive.

We can argue over the right mix all day, but the important takeaway here is the constant ability to be open to new thinking.

The Agency business has moved and does move too quickly not to be open to changes and how your agency might benefit from them.


If it Ain’t Broke

3. They stubbornly rely on what worked for them in the past

Somewhat of a continuation from the previous point, but vitally important to moving your agency forward rather than the alternative.

Per the article (parentheses are mine):

Many CEOs (insert “agency principals” here) on their way to becoming spectacularly unsuccessful accelerate their company’s decline by reverting to what they regard as tried-and-true methods. In their desire to make the most of what they regard as their core strengths, they cling to a static business model.

Too many agencies have learned this the hard way, especially since 2008.

How are you going to grow, what new services will you offer prospects and clients, are you missing a competency that Marketers need?

I started the post with Elvis Costello and I’ll finish it out with the first few lines from the wonderful tune, Beyond Belief:

History repeats the old conceits

The glib replies the same defeats

Keep your finger on important issues

With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues

Related to Agency New Business:Elvis Costello Can Help-

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lee-smallPost by RSW/US Director Of Business Development Lee McKnight Jr


I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at lee@rswus.com. What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.