It goes to 11

I couldn’t resist the oft-used Spinal Tap reference to refer to ad agency new business, and the inspiration came from this Copyblogger post: How to Find Thousands More Prospects for Your Business.

While the post is directed more towards online product selling, it fits nicely into the agency new business world as well.

A summary of the post by Sonia Simone:

About 3 percent of your market is in active buying mode. The trouble is, you’re competing with thousands of hungry marketers for that 3%.

About 7 percent of any given market is receptive to the idea of buying, even if they aren’t actively looking. If you can pull them in, you’ve more than tripled the size of your potential buying pool, going from 3 percent to 10 percent.

Another 30-ish percent will buy one of these days, but it’s not on their radar right now. About 30 percent are mildly turned off on the idea of buying your product. And about 30 percent are highly turned off.

You can scoop up all of those potential buyers and keep them close until they’re ready for you.

So putting this (unscientifically) into the agency new business context, about 3 percent of your prospects are actively looking for an agency, about 7 percent are receptive to the idea of working with an agency, 30 percent will want to use your services one day and so on.

As Sonia points out in her post, there is a way to attract all these buyers.

Key here though, it’s not a quick fix and based off our daily conversation with agency leaders, that’s the biggest hurdle to overcome.

Time is most certainly the enemy but if you can pinpoint a methodology and a schedule, you can do it (and dare I say, turn it up to 11.)

Ad Agency New Business


Sonia pinpoints that methodology nicely:

It has to be marketing that doesn’t look like marketing. Advertising that’s too valuable to throw away. Communication that delivers a real and compelling benefit, with the sales message presented only after you’ve earned the right to sell.

It has to be marketing that’s delivered over time. Advertising that arrives on a predictable, regular schedule. Communication that’s repeated enough times to develop trust and rapport.

And the two best tools for that at the moment are probably a blog combined with an email autoresponder.

Your prospects typically aren’t ready when you make first contact so you’ve got to deliver content to them over time that shows you understand their industry and you’ve done your homework-there’s a reason you’re reaching out to them (and there had better be) and reasons why you think there could be a fit with your agency.

It takes effort and consistency. Start with a plan and stick with it. Nigel (from Spinal Tap, you knew that right?) would want it that way.


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 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.