We recently completed a series of internal sharing session with our New Business Directors. The purpose was to exchange best practices used when reaching out to marketers.
Our first in this series focused on email practices: Tips & Tricks #1
This second post will focus the things we do to help our clients close business.
Back in the day I wrote a post called The Second Hardest Part about Agency New Business and it focused on what is often the biggest challenge when operating in the business of finding new business: Moving the prospect down the line to close.
It’s tough getting meetings…but we know how to do it…in the hundreds every quarter.
But once the meeting happens, it takes effort to close. It takes nurturing and a bit of pushing and a lot of added value to keep that prospect on the line. Often times our clients get busy, so we find we have to help them push those past meeting prospects along.
I thought it might be helpful to you and your efforts to see some of the things that we discussed during this (what we call) “Snack ‘n Share”. Not every one of these is going to work well for your agency, but it might be useful to give a handful of them a try and see what sticks.
And there are many more where these came from.
In the weeks that follow, I’ll continue to share ideas and insights that can help you better your efforts.
- Begin with the end in mind. What should the next meeting look like?
- Come to the table in the first meeting with good smart questions to get the prospect talking about their situation. Use that insight to move the prospect to meeting #2 where you can outline your thinking. Then after they agree on your proposed direction, offer to price your thinking and move them to close.
- Never just send a proposal via email. Walk them through it via phone or webex.
- Shower them with added value in between meetings. Send them links to interesting articles or blog posts. Show them you’re thinking about them.
- People buy from people they like…so be yourself.
- Always ask for updates.
- Small wins = a big win. Take it and run with it. Our clients win project work all the time that they parlay into larger assignments.
- Be politely persistent…with emphasis on the persistent part of it. Remember, when you hang up the phone or leave that first meeting, there are 100’s of other agencies waiting in the wings to make the next call or set the next meeting.
So just remember:
- The agency world is getting more competitive. Fewer marketers, more big agencies going after business they never did before.
- Marketers are using project work more and more as a sampling mechanism to “try” agencies.
- You are not the marketer’s #1 priority. They may be yours…but you aren’t theirs.
- Stand out from the other agencies by bringing value to every step of the process…starting with the first time you or your New Business Director reaches out.
Author: 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.