Agency New Business: Put On That Damn Sales Hat (Chapter 6: We Don’t Care How Nice The Prospect Is!)

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This is Part 6 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 6: We Don’t Care How Nice The Prospect Is! 

Building a nice relationship with your prospects is important, but too often we find that agencies walk into meetings, 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.

Agency New Business

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, don’t be afraid to change the subject and get them back on track.

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 if possible, tie it back to their business situation.

Then follow with a question that will get them talking about their challenge, which hopefully will get you back on the right (business) track.

Think about it this way:

You’re there to engage.

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.

Remember to put on that damn sales hat the moment you walk in the door and make sure you don’t let the niceties of the engagement get in the way of your being able to establish the real reason you’re there:  TO MAKE THE SALE!!

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.