Too Busy to Talk?


This was brought to my attention the other day and it made me smile.

How often have you, as an agency new business person, felt like this poor chap. There you are, with a really great offering and yet no-one will even give you the time of day. Why is that?

Well, the usual reason is one of the following:


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The best iPad Pitch

One of the best pitches I ever saw was done by a man who was great at speed drawing. He had a flipchart and a bunch of pens and off he went, drew the entire presentation as he was going along, adding in things he came up with on the spot and things that were suggested by those watching.

At then end he gave the marketing director the flipchart, great fun, very stimulating. But if you can’t do this or want something a bit more hi-tech, then take a look at this!

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A Well Written Letter

imagesNothing to do with agency new business, but a good example of business development at its very best.

I was dropping my son off at school this morning as he was off on a bushcraft course – three days camping by the sea in Dorset, canoeing, rock climbing, survival etc. Sounds great fun! I got talking to the headmaster about the company that was running the course and how he had found them.

He told me that several years ago they had written to him; a hand written, two page letter, describing what they did and how they thought they’d be the perfect fit for the school. They had done their research and knew the ethos of the school. They referred to this and how they could fit in because of their own ethos.

He was so impressed that they had gone to so much trouble he called them and the rest is history.

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Would you really ask that?

datingWhen agencies, speaking to clients on the telephone for the very first time start asking them questions like “are you reviewing your agency arrangements? or “are you happy with your agency?” or even “what are the issues you need addressing?” before having fixed the meeting date, they are making a big mistake.

Think of it like this. What you’re doing on this phone call is asking them for a date.

When asking a member of the opposite sex for a date, you want to find out whether they are …

1) Interested in you

2) Are the same persuasion as you sexually

Before asking someone for a date I NEVER used to ask them if they were in an unhappy relationship and considering an alternative ‘provider’. Did YOU? No, of course not.

So take it slowly. Ask them a simple question, the answer to which tells you if they are the decision maker and whether they have a budget.

As soon as you know the answer to both these is YES and the client is one you REALLY want to work with, arrange a date.

At that first date is the time for more in depth interrogation. Or, in the dating scenario, ‘wooing’. Wooing that may takes months of careful and thoughtful attention but never stalking, until maybe their current partner fails in some way and they turn to you for help.

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Just Look Me in the Eye Already

The Workplace Perils of Staring at Our Phones and Elsewhere; The Ideal Gaze Lasts 7 to 10 Seconds

You’re having a conversation with someone and suddenly his eyes drop to his smartphone or drift over your shoulder toward someone else.

It feels like this is happening more than ever—in meetings, at the dinner table, even at intimate cocktail parties—and there are signs that the decline of eye contact is a growing problem.

Adults make eye contact between 30% and 60% of the time in an average conversation, says the communications-analytics company Quantified Impressions. But the Austin, Texas, company says people should be making eye contact 60% to 70% of the time to create a sense of emotional connection, according to its analysis of 3,000 people speaking to individuals and groups.


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“Just one more thing …”

columboI just finished a training session about the Columbo moment …

Firstly, understand this. When speaking to a prospect and trying to get them to agree to meet with you, there is a battle of wills going on. In my opinion, if the person is the decision maker and they already use an agency like yours – they are worth meeting.

They, conversely, are busy and may not necessarily be reviewing so are wary of committing time.

If you start asking them qualification questions like “are you reviewing” or “are you happy with your incumbent” they will jump on these as a way to put you off meeting them. So don’t ask them. YET.

Get a meeting in the diary and the, just before you say goodbye …

“Just one more thing …  help me tailor the meeting towards your specific needs, could you tell me a little bit about what you are looking to achieve over the next six months or so?”

As the battle is already over you will get loads more information than had you asked before getting the date.

“Well, as you’re coming in anyway why don’t I send you the brief we gave to our agency a couple of months ago. I’d like to hear your thoughts on what YOU would do if it had been you.”

Now THAT’S an opportunity.

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Why do Agencies Concentrate so Much on Trying to be Different?

iveIn my role as advisor to brands on how to find agencies and agencies on how to find new clients, one thing has been nagging at me for a while now. Why is it that so many agencies spend so long trying to make themselves appear unique?

Think about it for a minute. If you’re a marketing director with £5m to spend are you really looking for a unique agency to give it too? I doubt it very much.

Clients are not looking for an agency that is completely different from the one they already have – they just want one that is BETTER than the one they already have.

So, when sitting down to write your agency proposition, stop trying so hard to make it different and concentrate on what it is about you that by its very nature proovesw that you are BETTER than the competition, not simply different from them.

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A Lesson For Us All

I have been having enormous problems with the service provided by one of our partners. The firm I really like, been using them for years. Know the directors well and really respect them. But the service went dramatically down hill after we had moved office due to our new location. It got so bad that I had no alternative but to find a new solution.

So I signed up with a new service provider who offered an alternative solution to the one provided by our existing partner.

I then told our existing supplier who only THEN told me that they could provide that solution as well! So lessons learned for me.

  1. Ask your existing partner if they have an alternative solution before switching suppliers if you are happy with them but not the service.

Lessons for my parter.

  1. Make sure your clients are aware of your full service offering
  2. If a service isn’t working, don’t keep on trying desperately to make it work, offer an alternative if you have one.


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Leo Burnett – Advertising Legend

This doesn’t really need any further clarification. A great man.

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How to Choose a New Business Agency

We’ve been around longer than most new business agencies or indeed prospective clients, so I think it is fair to say that when it comes to the problem of how to select a new business agency we’ve seen the good, the bad and the plain ugly!

So here we go – here’s our view on how best to go about it.

1 – Google “new business agency” – discount anyone not on the front page, you want someone who’s good at marketing themselves and if they can’t even figure out SEO then there’s no help for them. It’s not like there are thousands of us out there!

2 – Make a list of the hygiene factors you NEED. Is location important, do you want someone who works with other agencies like you or do you consider that a conflict.

3 – Choose an initial list of five, call them and speak to the MD, tell him or her about what you are looking for and take ten minutes or so to get a feel for them and what they are like.

4 – Whittle the list down to three and invite them in to take a thorough brief from you so that they can submit a proposal. Don’t ask them to bring the team they’d have working on your business in at this stage. If they already know then they’re choosing the team based upon who is available and not who would best fit the brief.

5 – Once you’ve seen the proposals, you’ll probably have already discounted one, have one favourite and one close second, so the nest step is to visit those latter two at their offices to meet the prospective team. Ask to meet them without the MD, see what happens. This will indicate the amount of trust the MD has in his or her team! Don’t grill them, just get a feel for them – would you be happy having them represent your brand.

6 – Take out a credit check on them – you want a partner that is financially stable.

7 – Ask to see their entire client list and then choose three clients at random and ask them if you can speak with those clients.

8 – Make your decision.


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