be all ears

So, you’ve scheduled that new business meeting.  This is Part II in the series on “Now The Work Begins!”

Our recent post on fully preparing for that agency new business meeting your team worked so hard to schedule offered steps to take in advance, showing your prospect how interested and familiar you are with their business and industry.

This second post highlights strategies for the meeting itself.

These and subsequent follow-up steps, (coming in next week’s post) will keep you AT the table as the prospect considers their options.

Again, chances are you’re already covering many of these steps, but marketers tell us there’s room to increase the odds of success:

  • 73% of marketers say agencies talk too much about themselves in the first meeting.
    • Focus should be on the prospect’s business and pain points.
  • Over 92% of marketers indicate it’s important for agencies to come to meetings with smart questions, showing interest and understanding of the prospect’s business and industry.
    • Marketers aren’t seeing this level of preparation.

To get the most out of each new business opportunity for your agency,  give some thought to the meeting process.

Plan to incorporate some of these recommendations if you aren’t already doing them.

  • Start with quick housekeeping:
    • Introduce the prospect to the full team.
    • Confirm time allotted for the meeting.
    • Preview the agenda to set the stage.
    • Modify the agenda and pace for any needed adjustments in timing and discussion items.
  • Keep your laptops closed.
    • Listen to the prospect first.
    • Present relevant material as the conversation develops.
  • CONVERSE WITH (vs. present to) the prospect about how your firm’s experience and success relates to their situation.
    • Offer to walk through examples of experience relevant to the discussion.
    • Avoid the urge to present everything in your portfolio.
  • 48% of business closure occurs within two-to-three months of the first meeting, so plan for another one:
    • Conclude the meeting with a recap of key points and next steps.
    • Work to set the date for a follow-up meeting.

After the meeting, reconvene your team to discuss next steps.

Chances are you know what steps to take, but we’ll be back next week with some post-meeting process steps.

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.