With the release of the new RSW/US infographic, Ups and Downs of Agency New Business, last week’s post told the story of a down: a “horror story” about a new business development prospect opportunity that went from hot to cold, seemingly at the click of the “Send” icon.


Thinking they were being efficient, the agency sent their prospect a copy of the presentation deck in advance of the introductory conference call.

The deck contained errors and quickly unraveled a major new business development opportunity.

In this follow-up post are tips for minimizing the “downs” in the “Ups and Downs of Agency New Business”.

Unfortunately, we hear of situations similar to the one in our related post more than we should.

How can you avoid “downs” like this, and stay in the direction heading “up”?

It’s a matter of treating your own firm like one of your clients.  Your new business development program deserves just as much focus and attention to detail.   Just as you:

  • critically review materials that you develop for your clients, critically review your own materials.
  • coach your clients to rehearse – and through rehearsals – for their big presentations and other events, rehearse your own presentation.

Scour the presentation itself, and practice delivering it.  To your dog or cat, if you HAVE to, but preferably to someone who can listen to you and watch the screen.

Practice giving the presentationto someone who can help point out something that might hit a prospect the wrong way.

Ideally, don’t even GIVE a presentation on your first call with a new prospect.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Marketers say that agencies talk too much about themselves in the first meeting and don’t spend enough time listening to them.

Marketers want agencies to listen closely to understand them and their organizations, to comprehend the NEEDS, rather than pitching —- pitching something that might not even have relevance.


Sure, the setting of the “Horror Story” post was an RFP process and there may have been a requirement to send a deck in advance of the first conversation.

This happens, but at the risk of being redundant…closely, attentively, critically review the material you send to prospects before you hit the send button.

do not send

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.