Seven Steps in the Agency New Business Development Process

Agencies know what it’s like to do new business development, but do they know how organizations think during their search for an agency? When a company decides it needs help, what does that process look like? And what can agencies do to earn new business? Agency owners don’t like to hear it, but business leaders don’t pay much attention to which agency is doing what, nor do they search for agency blogs to find a right fit. Instead, the people running those businesses think about the problems they face and wonder how an agency could help alleviate their burdens. Unfortunately, business leaders rarely have time to conduct a thorough search for a solution on their own. Higher-ups usually delegate the task to a mid-level manager who searches for an hour or two. Agencies have a limited window of time to get noticed and appeal to a prospect who’s typically a junior employee reporting to the ultimate decision maker. It’s not easy, but it’s achievable. Delegated searchers look for content, list placement, and prospect-friendly websites. People should be able to find your agency easily and decide for themselves whether you offer what they need. There are thousands of articles about how to attract that web traffic—but this isn’t one of them. Instead, let’s discuss what comes next: the first meeting. The First Meeting: Differentiation Whether you go with a formal presentation or an informal coffee meet-up, the truth is that all the business development process presentations look the same. Steve Boehler, a founding partner at Mercer Island Group, recently joined my podcast to talk about what businesses experience during the search for an agency. Steve told me: When we’re briefing the client to get them ready, we tell [...]

By |June 20th, 2018|

That Potential Client Is Judging You So Focus on Making a Good First Impression

No, thin-slicing isn't a phrase to describe the way you cut a loaf of bread; it's a term that denotes what we do upon first meeting people. According to Oregon State University professor Frank Bernieri, people make immediate judgments about others from observing only mere seconds -- aka a "thin slice of" -- their behavior. "From the evidence gleaned in not much more than a few glances, we decide whether we like another person, whether they're trying to flirt with us, whether they're friend or foe," Bernieri suggests in a Guardian article. Regardless of environment or circumstance, this very thin-slicing -- otherwise known as making a first impression -- can make or break your chances of coming across in a positive light, and it’s especially crucial when vetting new business. Case in point: Guard for the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry, opted against doing business with Nike in 2017 because during an in-person pitch, a Nike rep butchered Curry’s name. To make matters worse, the rep left a placeholder name -- Kevin Durant, Curry’s teammate -- in the published write-up. Because of this, the NBA player decided instead to partner with Under Armour. Say it with me: It’s all about first impressions. Screw it up once, and you’ve likely lost business for good. The scene is no different in the marketing industry. An owner prepares to nab a prospective client, but when it comes to awareness of his behavior and presence during the pitch, the owner can’t see the forest for the trees. Even if that’s not the case, the owner hesitates to identify areas of specialty for fear of leaving money on the table. The result? He comes across as he never intended: like a dime-a-dozen marketing sheep. While [...]

By |February 21st, 2018|

The Biggest Advantages of Out of Home Advertising with Betsy McLarney

If you’ve been in the business for more than a decade – you’ve done a fair amount of outdoor advertising at some point in your career.  But, when we say outdoor advertising, most of us think billboards. We’re very right but we are also very wrong. Today, that’s just a sliver of what outdoor (now called out of home) advertising can deliver for clients. Out of home advertising includes wallscapes, and visual messaging on commuter rails, subway, taxi tops, airport advertising, cinema ads, sporting arenas, grocery store ads, fitness clubs, and the list goes on and on. But out of home goes far beyond any sort of sign. Think of on site activation, boots on the ground people doing sampling and so much more. My guest Betsy McLarney, the President of EMC Outdoor, has had a bird’s eye view of the different changes in outdoor advertising over the years. Betsy is on the podcast to share with us some unique ways out of home advertising can be used to help us deliver our client’s core message. Join Betsy and I as we think of bigger and broader uses of out of home advertising by learning about: Out of Home (OOH) media: what is it? What are some advantages of out of home advertising? How digital outdoor advertising really makes the experience come alive for consumers Using OOH to hit consumers with messages on multiple touch points throughout their day It’s not just for B2C: how B2B can utilize OOH to enhance their campaigns Using street teams effectively to get your message out to live people Why OOH isn’t just for national brands and can be used effectively for even local campaigns Matching the budget to [...]

By |December 7th, 2017|

How to Increase B2B Sales with These B2B Sales Techniques with Ryan O’Donnell

The typical agency owner isn’t a natural salesperson. They don’t enjoy chasing after business but they love engaging a prospect once they walk in the door. The idea of cold calling in our business has always been dismissed as “never works” but what if there is a happy medium? My podcast guest Ryan O’Donnell joins me on the show with his message that sales is really all about automation and efficiency. Ryan explains that when you use automation in the right way, you lay the right foundation for sales, which inevitably gets you in front of the right people and gets you more opportunities to have the right conversations. Ryan and his team are behind two successful products, Sellhack and Replyify, which were built to help people drive sales into their organizations through automation. Join Ryan and I and start thinking a little differently about how you approach sales for your agency with: Why sales is all about automation and efficiency Using data to take the guesswork out of the prospect search Crafting compelling emails to prospects based on what you know about their competition (that you already work with) Figuring out how many prospects you need to capture every week at the top of your sales funnel in order to get the number of new leads you need at the bottom of the funnel SellHack’s algorithm for verifying the email address of a person who you might just know their name and company Replyify: a tool specifically devised for sending out cold email campaigns and building a sales process to contact prospects in other ways Strategies for crafting an email using B2B Sales Techniques that works for cold selling B2B products and services How [...]

By |November 30th, 2017|

How to Nurture Relationships & Build Your Network with David Fisher

  “I hate networking.” I can almost hear the collective moan from agency owners when the subject of networking comes up. Most of us think it’s either a waste of time or it makes us feel uncomfortable, like used car salesman uncomfortable.   But in today’s world, networking is a necessity. And not just any networking, it’s a new landscape of the hyper-connected selling where social media networking and old school sales and communication skills are the keys to building personal influence and creating human connections. My podcast guest is David JP Fisher or D-Fish to those who know and love him. He is a coach, speaker, author, and president of Rock Star Consulting where they love networking and all of the power, benefits and new business it can bring your way. His two most recent books, Networking in the 21st Century: Why Your Network Sucks and What to Do About It and Hyper Connected Selling: Winning More Business Through Personal Influence and Human Connection, are all about the power of networking. Join D-Fish and I as we ramp up your new business, one personal interaction at a time with: Why you can’t rely on referrals for new business Networking: why it’s relational -- not transactional How to build your network so it's stronger and serves your business better Why size matters in your network -- and why not every connection has to be a strong one Leveraging the social capital you create and making the ask at a time where you don’t come off as desperate How to build and nurture relationships Why young professionals really need to work on building their network The power of the one-on-one and taking the opportunity to build [...]

By |August 31st, 2017|

Sales Prospecting: How to Talk to Prospects & Win their Business with Robin Boehler

Prospects. Ever thought about dating them?  Sounds odd I know but my podcast guest Robin Boehler has developed a matchmaking skill between clients and agencies that is bar none. Robin is the co-founder of Mercer Island Group, a boutique marketing and management consultancy. Their analogy of the review process as a form of dating really helps agencies examine how they present themselves to prospective clients and then Robin and her team help them tweak that to differentiate themselves so they stand out from the crowd. Most people want to date the stand out, not the wallflower. Come learn from Robin and I how to stand out by: Getting the agency-client relationship right from the very beginning Why truly differentiating your agency is so crucial The importance of doing your research on a prospect before ever speaking to them and how to do it well Why you should never start out a pitch talking about your agency (and when is the right time to do so) Why networking is the best way to get the opportunity to have quality conversations with prospects Robin’s sales prospecting methodology How to spark curiosity in communication to prospects Robin’s strategy for reaching out to connections that you haven’t spoken to in a while Why you shouldn’t hold back a really smart question just because you don’t want a competing agency to hear it Why each conversation you have with a prospect is the only one that matters Why you must show true interest in a prospect’s business and then learn from what the prospect tells you Robin Boehler is a co-founder of Mercer Island Group, a boutique Marketing and Management Consultancy, a pre-eminent agency search consultant to clients and growth [...]

By |August 24th, 2017|

Podcasting 101: The Ultimate Podcasting How-To Guide with Rob Walch

2000 to 1. That’s the ratio of bloggers to podcasters. If you’re blogging and not podcasting, you should keep that ratio in mind.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a blogger from way back and I will always blog. But we should not ignore the competitive advantage that podcasting offers. Podcasting has become very mainstream now that technology makes it so easy to access, listen and share the content.  The ability to multitask (treadmill, dog walking, driving, train commuting, etc.) makes a podcast easier to consume than a blog or video. I’ve seen how agencies have leveraged a podcast to create a position of thought leadership which has led to some amazing new business opportunities. If you’re ready to start podcasting, are just dipping your toes in or have been doing it for a while, my guest Rob Walch is your go-to guy. He lives, eats and breathes podcasting. He’s been doing it for over 10 years and has consulted with Jack Welch, Governor Bill Richardson, Noah Shanok (Stitcher), Tim Ferriss and Dr. Mark Hyman just to name a few. He is the VP of Podcaster Relations for Libsyn (one of the largest podcast publishing tools) and has his own award-winning podcast, podCast411. We packed a lot into this one conversation and there’s something for everyone no matter where you are on your podcasting journey. Check out everything we covered: How Rob moved podcasting from his hobby to his career The biggest and most important trends in podcasting Why you should record a couple podcasts before you release your first one -- but not so many that you never release one Podcasting 101 The importance of having a way for your podcast listeners to contact you [...]

By |August 17th, 2017|

How to Utilize A/B Testing and Conversion Optimization to Drive Sales and Leads with Justin Christianson

“It doesn't really matter what you're selling because, at the end of the day, we're dealing with people.” But people can be tricky – why do they do what they do? Most of us have figured out that we do things for one of two reasons, to avoid pain or to gain pleasure and our customers are no different. So how can you use that information to drive leads and sales? According to my podcast guest Justin Christianson, it’s by utilizing split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization. Justin’s vast knowledge of split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization borders on the fanatical. So fanatical, he wrote a book about it, “Conversion Fanatic: How to double your customers, sales and profits with A/B testing”. Join Justin and I and see how split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization can get people to take the desired action that you want them to take by learning: How Conversion Fanatics was born Why you have to track and learn why people do what they do The basics of conversions Big mistakes people make when attempting to get people to convert How to start testing for conversions How to get your clients to actually do case studies Some of the most surprising things Justin has learned from conversion testing What makes an employee good for conversion work Why split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization are two very different things Why you must approach working with other agencies for a client with no ego VR and video: why these two technologies are only going to grow in the future How Justin stays on the cutting edge How to pick the clients that are right for your agency Justin Christianson is a 15-year digital [...]

By |August 10th, 2017|

How to Get Speaking Engagements that Fill Your Pipeline with Gene Hammett

One of the best ways to get on a prospect’s radar screen is for them to see you on stage at a trade conference or show. The implied endorsement of your thought leadership can open many business development doors. But how do you know which stage you should be on and how do you get there? How do you position yourself to become the choice, not a choice, when people are looking for speakers with your specific expertise? My podcast guest Gene Hammett uses his 20+ years of experience being on many stages (right and wrong) to walk you through how to find your profitable niche, translate that into new revenues, new leads, new business and make you the insider in the space you are shooting for so the right clients will come to you. Gene says, “Most people believe they should be getting paid to speak, but I believe that you can and should speak for free at the right stages. Be in the right place and the right clients will walk up to you after your speech and present you an opportunity. Of course, that assumes you've done your work and you really carry the moment and deliver something fresh and useful.” Join Gene and I as he lays out a great road map for becoming THE choice, and not A choice with: Why Gene became a coach after losing 3 million dollars The real reasons you should be speaking (it’s not a speaker’s fee) How to get speaking engagements that will fill your sales pipeline Why you shouldn’t shy away from the “breakout” sessions at conferences as a speaker The opportunity for diverse speakers Why being a generalist is dangerous for speakers [...]

By |July 27th, 2017|

The Dos and Don’ts of Agency New Business with Lisa Colantuono

"It all begins and ends on chemistry. Everything else in between is absolutely vital, there's no doubt about it, but it begins and ends on chemistry.” My podcast guest, Lisa Colantuono isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know. Chemistry is key to winning any new business opportunity. But how do you influence that chemistry? And how do you come out on the winning side?  Lisa and her team at AAR Partners have figured out a way to research and land those right fit clients so you can count on more new business with every search. Their prospecting tool will put a prospective sweet spot client on your doorstep every time.   Let Lisa and I walk you through what you need to know when it comes to figuring out your agency’s chemistry with: The simple mistakes agencies make in the new business search process Why complacency is a big problem for agencies The importance of continuing to court your current clients Why chemistry is so vital in an agency-client relationship The dos and don’ts of agency new business Prospecting smarter with Lisa’s Four T’s Building relationships by teaching Why you need to know what your agency is -- and isn’t -- good at What to do when executives change (both on client and agency sides) Finding project work for your agency (and growing that into a larger relationship) The danger of coming off as desperate to leads Why you need at least one person whose job is new business The importance of an integrated new business plan Not only does Lisa believe in enduring partnerships that matter, but she actively participates in creating them. Having consulted on and managed agency reviews including Lee Jeans, [...]

By |July 20th, 2017|