Avoiding The New Business Hit and Run-3 Takeaways Episode 13

What is the new business hit and run?

Well, I can’t take credit for the term, one of our clients threw that out in a conversation. The hit and run is one project and you’re done.

Good that you got the project, but your team busted their butts on it with the hopes that it would lead to more work, that is, land and expand, and possibly an AOR relationship down the line.

Sometimes it was all about the one project-you knew that going in.  But that’s atypical, and often agencies can do more to ensure continued business.

So, here are some reasons why the new business hit and run happens, and your first takeaway:

You didn’t ask for more business.

It might seem self-evident, but it happens.

Some agencies use hope as a strategy and assume that the solid work they did on the first project will inherently lead to more. Don’t make that assumption.

Diplomatically, make it clear that you want to continue the relationship, in fact, make a case for it.  Treat them like they’re still a prospect.

Your Second takeaway: You didn’t treat them like a client.

And I’m talking from the first meeting.

Ultimately you got the work, so you did something right, but just getting the work isn’t always enough.

In the first meeting you have with them, show you’ve done your homework and show them what it’s like to work with you, before you actually start any work.

For example, we just had a client in the Northwest go into a first meeting with a prospect, and as part of that meeting, they put together a simple, but effective one-page infographic that showed they understood the business and showed how proactive they are, as though that prospect was already a client.

I’m not talking full-fledged spec work, but something that presents a glimpse into what it’s like to work with you and that you understand their business.  It doesn’t guarantee you’ll avoid the hit and run, but it will leave them feeling vested in you and the team early on.

And your final takeaway, why the new business hit and run happens:  The client labeled you

You do amazing digital work, for example, and that’s what you did for this project.

And that’s how the client sees you-as an amazing digital agency.

But you also have solid traditional chops and production skills, for example.

Make sure, early on and ongoing, that you make it clear what you do, and all you can do. I realize that’s easier said than done, but making it clear early on, without shoving it in their face, is an effective first step.

And here’s your bonus takeaway: Don’t just assume you’re done after the first project. 

Timing really is everything.  Just because there’s nothing at the moment, doesn’t mean there won’t ever be again.

You have to stick with them, and treat them like a prospect.

Send them updates on new work, new blog posts or new case studies and tie it into their ongoing challenges-you know what some of those challenges are now because you’ve already done that project. It does take patience, though.

Sometimes the hit and run is unavoidable, but don’t leave it to the whims of fate, be proactive in pursuing more work.

Here’s your mantra: Prospecting doesn’t stop after you get the first piece of work.

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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.