Avoiding The New Business Hit And Run

Agency new business often comes in the form of an initial project, and that’s not a bad thing, but agencies don’t often think long-term about avoiding the new business hit and run.

What is this new business hit and run you speak of?

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

So why didn’t you get any more work (if in fact there is more work to get)?

1) You didn’t ask

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.

2) Before you actually got the work, you didn’t treat them like a client

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. It instills the perception in the future client’s mind that you’re an ongoing concern and not only focused on this one project.

3) The client labeled you

You do amazing digital work, 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.  Make sure, early on and ongoing, that you make it clear what you do, and all you can do.

4) There isn’t any more work-for now

You finished the project and haven’t heard anything else about another opportunity. Don’t assume you’re done, 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 as I mentioned above, 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 them are now, you’ve already done some work for them.

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

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.