This is Part 5 of a 17 chapter eBook, “Agency New Business: Put On That Damn Sales Hat,” which you can download at no cost here.

The eBook covers everything from pre-prospecting preparation to working opportunities to close. 

The majority of the eBook focuses on elements that agencies either often overlook, are too busy to consider, or are simply too lazy to pursue.

The agency landscape is changing rapidly and daily, not only for agencies, but for clients: doing things the same way won’t cut it.

We released “Put On That Damn Sales Hat” as an overall agency new business primer for marketing services firms, so they can put on their sales hat with purpose and confidence.

That Damn Sales Hat


Chapter 5: I Only Know How To Do A Referral!

The world of networking and referrals are shrinking.

We see it year in and year out in our surveys of Agencies.

We also see it when our new agency clients come on board.

Certainly, networking and referral opportunities are fantastic because the table is set for you and it can be a more comfortable situation.

It can be crazy scary!

But the smart agency knows they can’t solely rely on referrals forever, and will then be faced with the daunting task of having to go into meetings somewhat “cold.”

This can be terrifying and overwhelming.

So what do you do?

Whether it’s face-to-face or on the phone, start with one of the smart questions you crafted about their category or their business.

Or maybe start with some insights you’ve picked up or talk some recent trends you’ve seen in the category and use this to start a smart conversation with your prospect.

As you hear that prospect talking, start offering perspective that convinces them that you understand their world and their challenges, all to help them build confidence.


Remember:  It’s NOT about direct selling.  Marketers don’t like being sold!!

As we’ve talked in past webinars, it’s about getting the prospects to mentally “Check the Boxes” as you offer responses to their commentary.

You want them to say things to themselves like:

  • They understand my category
  • They are strategic
  • They care about my business
  • They have smart ideas

You want them to walk away believing that you have it all together without having to hard-sell them.

You’re smart.  You know how to zig and zag!  You’ve done it your whole life!

And please…AVOID defaulting to things you’re most comfortable talking about (which aren’t aligned with your prospect’s needs).

Just RELAX…get to know the prospect, find out something personal about them.

Make a quality connection!

Again, it will be more enjoyable and fulfilling for you and the prospect.

It’s about subtly selling!

So at the end of the day, think about making it a conversation…but DO think about making the sale.

And think “Check the Boxes” as you work your way through your dialogue and move the conversation to a point where the prospect loves you and thinks YOU ARE IT!!!

Remember, in the end…no matter what step of the new business development process…you always need to put on that Damn Sales Hat!

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.