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What I find in my world of helping marketing services firms, acting as their outsourced lead generation/business development firm, is that there is usually a lot of enthusiasm, energy, and excitement leading up to and coming directly out of a prospect meeting we set up for them.

Then it’s a bit like how a car dramatically loses its value as soon as it leaves the lot.

Agency Principals get distracted with other things (like managing existing business, putting out fires, dealing with personnel issues) and they don’t stay with the prospect well enough to see it through to closure and success.

Unless a proposal is a specifically discussed next step, closing the sale takes almost as much effort as opening the door.

Prospect Meeting

You have to stay on the radar, you have to show the prospect that you’re there to help and add value to their world. Because if you don’t, they, just like you, will get distracted, put off moving on the things they talked to you about, and the “mojo” will start moving too slow.

Five key steps you should take following your initial meeting with your prospect that can help better your chances of winning a piece of business:

Re-Connect ASAP
Immediately after the meeting, follow-up (either you or your new business manager) to thank them and see if any questions remain unanswered.

Be There
Find reasons to stay in front of your prospect because if you don’t, someone else will. You never know when the prospect is going to be ready to make the move to start the project or move on some other project..or better yet, be ready to make that agency change.

Add Value
Simply being there isn’t enough. You need good reason to connect.  Set up a google news tracker on the prospect (the person and the company). When you come across news, drop them a line with a “congrats” or a “hey, I was thinking”.  It will show you care.

Don’t Give Up
I’ve seen agency Principals “dog it” until the cows come home and oftentimes it is key to their winning more business. I’ve seen more agency Principals get discouraged when someone doesn’t call them back in a few days (or sometimes as long as a few weeks) after a call in after the initial meeting. The prospect’s world gets just as busy (if not busier) than your world. So understand that you’re not their number one priority.

Keep Yourself Seeming Fresh
When you’re in conversation with prospects following meetings or exchanging emails about some value-add you’ve pushed their way, use that time to talk about the new things going on at your agency to keep the prospect excited, energized, and motivated to want to eventually work with you.

So the bottom line is recognize that closing business isn’t a short-term adventure.

Opportunities are never ready-made. They take hard work, creative thinking, and breakthrough, value-added persistence to make prospects take and keep notice of your compelling value and points of difference.

So if you’re going to put the energy in upfront to get the meeting (or hire a group like ours to find the opportunities for you), put the same amount of energy into the back-end to win the prize as you put into the front end to open up the door!

Mark Sneider
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.