I can throw out all the reasons your new business efforts aren’t effective: no consistency, no plan, no one owns the effort, to name a few.

These are all valid reasons and I don’t mean to diminish their importance with a quick list, but recently, I’ve seen several patterns reoccur across multiple firms I’ve spoken with. Their new business efforts are stalled and once you step back and take a big-picture look, you begin to see why.  Here a few reasons:

  1. You’re Not Creating Any Context

I swear, if I get one more cold LinkedIn sell, I will lose it.  Similarly, if your only approach is to go for the throat in your first email, you’ll never get in the door.

What you’re trying to get is attention, right?  Sending yet another cold email only adds to your prospects’ full to bursting inbox.

You have to create context around your prospecting.

Look at your efforts as a campaign.  A campaign that can be repeated with small changes over time.

The key is creating awareness first and selling later; however, by later, I mean the whole campaign over the course of a month.

You create context by first reaching out and speaking the prospect’s language, conveying your understanding of their vertical.

You must do this with multiple touches, using multiple mediums.  In the first week, start things off by mailing something-a simple letter or a simple collateral piece.  It’s such an uncluttered medium-you need to take advantage of it.

And follow with a call. In the next week, Link in and follow several days later with an email.  This is where you start to sprinkle in a case study.

By the third week, you may not have broken through, but you’ve created that context, and therefore permission. The key of course is in the messaging.  (See #3 below).

But about that permission.

2. You Misunderstand The Concept Of Permission

I mentioned above the right way to go about getting your prospect’s permission.

Agencies sometimes take this far too literally though, and rather than building prospecting tiers by layering targeted, meaningful messages, they literally reach out the first time and do the “aw shucks” or “hey, I’m in your corner” type of messaging.

I am not a fan of any of the following prospecting language:

“Your time is valuable, so I’ll cut right to the chase”

“I know you’re busy, so. . . .”

“(Insert prospect’s industry here) is more complex/harder than ever. . .”

I’ve talked before about cutting to the chase.

If you’ve created that context I mentioned above, you can prospect with confidence and not worry about filler like “I know you’re busy.”  Of course they’re busy-you’re wasting your time and your prospect’s when you write that.

3. Your Prospects Don’t See Value in A Conversation

As mentioned in #1 above, if your messaging doesn’t speak to the business challenges you help solve, you’ll never get past square one.

First, you have to speak to your prospects and not at them.

If your initial outreach reads or sounds like brochure copy, or like an ad for your firm, it will never resonate.

Instead, mention a real-world challenge you helped a client solve. Don’t get overly familiar, but do treat it as though you’re talking to the prospect on a professional, but natural level. Use clear, concise language and state your specific expertise, a few examples of your work, and the intent of your reach out. (An initial conversation).

Onwards and upwards!

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Lee McKnight Jr
VP of Sales
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.