I’m not afraid to admit that during tumultuous times, I harbored a secret fantasy. Like many stressed-out agency owners, I dreamed of a magical “new business person” who would join my team and, with barely a trace of oversight, begin to sell the agency night and day, acquiring profitable new clients.
But that mythical new business specialist is just that: a myth. Unfortunately for those of us wanting to stay in dreamland, this fantasy will only hurt a business.
Not the Merlin You’re Hoping For
The vast majority of new business specialists never pan out. Most agencies aren’t set up for that person to succeed, so he actually ends up costing an agency money.
The reality is, agency owners want that magical new business guy because they don’t want to do new business themselves. They think there’s some kind of secret to it that someone else possesses. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but the best person in your agency to drive new business is the owner.
Prospects want to talk to a business owner about business problems. You probably know that you have different conversations with them than anyone else on your staff. I’m not suggesting for a minute that you should do new business entirely by yourself, but you shouldn’t abdicate that control to someone else and walk away.
Fulfill Your Own Fantasy
The key to confidently stepping into the role of “new business guy” is simply improving those skills. Just like joining a gym for the first time, you may feel like an idiot at first. But as you develop your skills, you’ll grow more comfortable and successful.
These three tactics will help you improve your skills and ensure that new business consistently feeds your company.
1) Join a peer group.
Finding a great agency-owner peer group gave me a training opportunity that was both enjoyable and beneficial. When I joined, I jumped right in. I started to sharpen my business skills, and I learned what it meant to own and run an agency.
I traveled twice a year to dig deep with this group and learn from their insights and experiences. I shared my fears and shortcomings, and they allowed me to get better at my job by learning how they got better at theirs. They did the same thing, and we learned together how to run our agencies in a way that not only was more profitable, but also made owning and running a business more enjoyable.
2) Attend conferences, webinars, and workshops.
Many free and low-cost resources are available to help you sharpen your skills, so take advantage of them. In addition to attending or participating in events, read as many articles and blogs as you can. Just as the best concert pianists in the world never stop practicing, you should never stop actively working to grow your skills and knowledge.
If you’re looking for solid content to read on new business, check out:
(And, of course, I think my own company’s website is a great resource for improving your new business.)
3) Make new business a priority.
Don’t adopt the “feast or famine” new business mentality. New business needs to be a consistent priority. You’ll never feel like you have the time to pursue additional clients, but if you do it only when you feel desperate, you’ll experience the unsavory sensation of swinging like a pendulum.
Add new business to the agenda for board and senior management meetings so you’re not alone in this endeavor. Keep everyone on the same page, frequently discuss whether your strategy is working, and use your leadership team as a resource for new ideas.
Dreams may drive a lot of businesses, but they don’t single-handedly lead to success. If you’ve been fantasizing about a magical new team member, it’s time to come back to reality and focus on becoming that magical person yourself.
This article was written by Drew McLellan and first published on HubSpot.