Agency New Business: Treat Your Clients Like Prospects


How do your clients perceive you, in terms of your services?

Do you have certain clients who only take advantage of only one or two aspects of your business?

The answer to the second question is often yes, and you need to work to change that perception.

Easier said than done I realize, and there are often political and personal considerations involved as well.

Many of you reading are fully aware of this, but for others, it’s an afterthought.

Don’t let it be.

Clients love to put you in your box,

“We work with X agency and they do great digital for us.”

But that’s not all you do, and they use 3 other agencies for their other needs, when they could be using your firm.

Sometimes there’s no getting around that scenario, but if there’s even a slight possibility of getting more and varied business from your current clients, you need to treat them like prospects.

What do I mean specifically?

  1. Talk to them about it.

Wow, Lee, how long did it take you to come up with that gem?

Well, I know specific examples of agencies who haven’t take that first step.

Obviously, the timing has to be right, but a diplomatic, straightforward ask of your client is the first step.

And if the door to consideration is even slightly open at that point-move on to the next step.

2. Show them work in the other areas where they aren’t using you.

You can’t force it obviously and of course, you have to consider any conflicts, but I’m willing to bet there’s plenty of work, especially new work, you could get in front of them.

Particularly new work, because it gives you a reason to put it in from of them-a brief, laid back email that says “Hey X, appreciate our conversation a few weeks ago on our other services. We just released some new work/completed a new project for X, and  I wanted to show you a few of those examples we discussed.”

3. If you’re creating content in any form, don’t just put them on an email list, personally send it to them.

Since your content is based on the challenges you help clients face, or knowledge of your industry/industries (it is, right?), it’s an excellent way to show your clients you’re on top of the industry or trends.

4. Ask for that referral

You have those clients with multiple brand managers or team members that could also be a source of work for you.

Again, this can be tricky, but so many of you simply haven’t made that simple ask, “Allison, we love the work we’re doing with you, we’re also doing some solid work on the SEO front-would you be open to introducing us to X?”

OK, maybe not the most nuanced example above, but you get it-nothing will happen if you don’t ask.

And the key, like all of new business, is to consistently put work or content in front of them.

Respectfully and not too often, but enough to gently remind them-we’re here and we can do more amazing work for you.

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 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.