New Business

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 [...]

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, [...]

How to End the ‘Feast or Famine’ New Business Cycle

Making mistakes is completely normal and expected. However, the issue becomes more serious when the source of those mistakes is the agency's overarching strategy. If this is flawed, then the business is at risk. One of these common issues is what I call the “feast or famine” mentality. It happens when you hunt down as much new business as you can find, then get so busy servicing clients that you stop seeking new business. All resources go to urgent matters like hitting deadlines, and meanwhile, blog posts don't get written and your monthly newsletter becomes a quarterly one. As new business activity peters out, you start to realize that some clients aren’t happy or have left you completely. So you get the blog back on track, produce webinars, prioritize conferences, and go back the other way -- to the extreme. This back and forth between extremes simply isn’t stable for three reasons: Desperation leads to bad choices. When you’re in famine mode, you have to take whatever business you can get. You need money, so you take any client willing to work with you. Working with someone when it’s a bad fit never ends well. Bad experiences hurt your long game. When you try to make it work with clients who don’t naturally fit, they leave with a bad taste in their mouths. Too many bad encounters with your agency will scare clients away who may have been good fits. It makes your team miserable. Dramatic ebbs and flows in business are stressful on your staff. Not only does working with bad clients drag down morale, but the frequent famine times also make your company a risky place to work. If people think their jobs will be more secure elsewhere, [...]

How to Win More Agency New Business and Start Driving Business Growth with John Heenan

If there’s any one “system or process” that agencies really struggle to put into place and consistently execute on – it’s agency new business development. You know you need to do it. You know your business literally depends on it. And yet, you let client work and other fires steal your attention from this mission critical aspect of owning an agency. My podcast guest John Heenan and I had an amazing conversation about getting back on track and making sure that new business is no longer an afterthought. He has spent time on both sides of the aisle, on the client side with Sony, and Philips and Uniden and on the agency side as CMO and new business leader. He can show you how to find those great clients and make your process work much more efficiently and effectively so you can implement your agency new business plan both consistently and well. Let John and I help you flesh out an agency new business plan of attack that you can stick to with:   The experiences John had on the client side that led him to working on matching up agencies and clients Why cohesive culture throughout the agency matters for clients Why you must treat your agency as your #1 client Crafting the first impression that leads will have of your agency The importance of getting crystal clear on what your agency is selling Director of Delivery: an important role inside modern agencies to make sure agencies deliver to clients Why agency owners need to get out of the day-to-day and focus on new business What John does differently to help agencies with new business Why your agency needs to be rapidly changing John [...]

Do You Know Your Prospect’s Secret Process for Choosing an Agency?

All prospects have a unique approach when selecting an agency -- a “secret sauce” he or she uses to evaluate potential partners. Surprised by this? So were we. We just completed a study in which we talked to 500 CMOs and business owners about their decision-making processes when hiring and firing agencies. Not only did we learn more about what a secret sauce for agency selection is, but we also learned the personal recipes of 92% of respondents. And what we learned will dramatically change the way your agency pitches new clients. Why You Need to Know the Secret Sauce If you don’t know your prospect’s secret sauce, you put yourself at a disadvantage from the start. You don’t know what’s important to your prospect or what the client's hot buttons are, so you never know which wrong step will set off a land mine. Why invest time and effort into a pitch you have no chance of winning? It’s better to know a prospect’s secret sauce and decline the interview than to not know, spend weeks perfecting a pitch, and find out that you wasted valuable business hours. Knowing your prospect’s secret sauce allows you to tailor your message to her needs and avoid the strategies or subjects that will strike you off the list. You’re competing with several other agencies that can provide similar services, and to your prospect, you all look more or less the same. Understanding the secret sauce helps you differentiate your business through a deeper connection with your prospect and, in some cases, through preparation for an unusual vetting process. Discovering the Recipe Some prospects scour LinkedIn and other social networks for agency employees and examine their behavior. Some hunt down former clients [...]

Why New Business Development Should Never Leave The Top Of Your List

Raise your hand if you’ve used one of these excuses for why you haven’t gotten around to putting a strategy in place for business development: “We grow based on referrals.” “We’re going to hire somebody.” “We’re too busy with our current clients.” You wouldn’t be alone — many agencies make the same gigantic mistake of putting off planning for the future. They run from fire to fire, putting one out just as another is starting. It’s all too easy to delay the agency’s vision for moving forward until another less hectic day. Those excuses might seem justifiable in the moment, but if your agency is going to thrive — not merely survive — you’ve got to prioritize getting a plan in place. It’s a difficult task, but the ROI is huge. Don’t Wait for Disaster. An unavoidable reality of agency life is that it ebbs and flows. New clients sign on, old ones move on, and business continues as usual. But when you have a plan in place to consistently uncover new business opportunities, the ebbs won’t hit as hard. Too many agencies only consider a new business plan when their big, gorilla clients are unhappy or threaten to leave. By that point, it may be too late. It just takes one call from that valuable client to send an agency into a tailspin. You’re left scrambling to find a major replacement for the lost revenue. This is an especially dangerous tactic in the modern business world. It’s getting tougher to find great client prospects and get them signed quickly. The time period from the initial meeting to the moment the client signs the dotted line has stretched out considerably. That process cannot begin after [...]

The Best Lead Generation Channels for Agencies with Alex Berman

Agencies should get 70%+ of their new net revenue from referrals but that does not mean you shouldn’t have a concerted new business effort as well. When you count on referrals and referrals alone, you are beholden to accept whatever client walks in the door. They might be too small, too big, out of your industry expertise or a jerk. You need to be cultivating targeted leads and opportunities so you can be choosy on the referral side. My podcast guest Alex Berman believes that he and his team at Experiment27 have cracked the code for agency biz dev efforts. They’ve experimented with many different lead generation channels (cold calling/emailing, directories and sponsorships, agency partnerships, meet-ups and in-person events) to help put more wins in the agency’s new business column. Hear what Alex and his team are doing for their clients and explore if you think the tactics might work for you as well. The massive opportunity outbound marketing provides for agencies How to know if your marketing strategy is the right marketing strategy What to measure with your tracking software to make sure your leads are working The best lead generation channels for capturing leads Tailoring cold calls to the target Why cold emails need to be short and to the point Partnering with other agencies to take on overflow work/give away your overflow work How to capture leads at meetups/in-person events Making yourself memorable by connecting people How to do the follow-up right (it differs if you’ve actually met them or not) Why you need to set a KPI Alex Berman is the founder and SVP of Operations of a marketing and lead generation firm Experiment27. Alex is responsible for generating over $2.5 [...]

Why Your Agency New Business Plan Needs Consistency with Dave Currie

I know I sound like a broken record but I can’t emphasize enough how vital it is to your agency that business development activity is a daily occurrence. You’ve got to plant seeds while the business is strong and the clients are happy. The day your biggest client hints that they might be leaving is not the day to start your new business program. That’s how you stock your pipeline with prospects that can help you level up your agency. There are very new experts in our field who spend more time thinking about agency new business than my podcast guest Dave Currie. Dave Currie is the CEO of List Partners Inc., the home of: Winmo, Localead, and Catapult and we are on the same page when it comes to the best practices surrounding new business development. I will keep repeating it until you all keep doing it! Dave and I want to show you how to make a plan, use your resources, and then consistently implement that plan. Dig in and be proactive as you learn about: How the List has evolved over the years and what they do today to help agencies grow through their three brands Winmo, Localead, and Catapult The biggest mistake agencies make in their business development efforts: not having a plan List’s CMO tenure study How successful CMOs keep agency relationships longer than their less successful counterparts Why agency-client relationships moving away from AOR engagements is a great opportunity for agencies Separating marketing and sales and giving them their own plans Building sales plans for both growing business with existing customers and bringing in new customers How small agencies can win huge projects Why being the one to implement [...]

Dealstorming Methodology: The Combination of Deal-Making and Brainstorming & How to Use it to Grow Your Business with Tim Sanders

I know very few agency owners who love that the burden of sales sits squarely on their shoulders. Many of you don’t enjoy sales and would rather be back in the shop, creating or strategizing. Well, here’s some good news. You don’t and shouldn’t do it alone. My podcast guest and best-selling author (Love is the Killer App, Saving the World at Work and his new book Dealstorming) Tim Sanders believes that sales is a team sport which requires bringing together different perspectives from every corner of your agency and beyond. Tim has held the position of Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo! and is now the CEO of Deeper Media, an online advice-content company. As a veteran sales, marketing and HR leader, he has some unconventional ideas for these unconventional times. His take on the combination of brainstorming and deal-making or “Dealstorming” will challenge your thinking about how to get sales done and may be just what you need to land that next big client. Follow Tim’s thinking as he and I explore: Tim’s start in sales working for a radio station Dealstorming methodology: how Tim took dealmaking and brainstorming and put them together The difference between collaboration and cooperation How to strategically build your dealstorm team Turning your peer group into “competimates” that you can collaborate with to make each other stronger Why you absolutely need diverse perspectives in the room (and why you should have an external voice on your dealstorm team) The secrets to making your dealstorm meeting a magic meeting with results New business through rapid problem solving The hacker, the chef, and the artist: the three personas for solving different problems How leaders lead culture Tim Sanders is a veteran [...]

Why You Need to Be Working on New Business Development Every Day with Jake Jorgovan

My podcast guest Jake Jorgovan from Outbound Creative made a provocative statement.  He said: “Block out at least an hour a day, typically in the morning, as a way to put time in working on your own business before you dive into client work.” I can feel many of you twitching already. Not look at your email first thing in the morning? Not fill your mornings with meetings? Not jump like Pavlov’s dog to every ping, text or slack addition? It may seem radical but it is one of the many ways that Jake suggests to jumpstart your biz dev efforts. Jake believes that most agency owners hate new business because they’re not sure what to do and feel stuck. Let Jake and I take you through his simple, no-nonsense approach to growing your business through new business development with: Why you need to look at new business as an art form How to get started getting better at new business How to make the most of your time at conferences as it relates to new business How to effectively follow up with contacts you make at conferences How to stay top of mind with people who aren’t ready to buy now Why your prospect list can’t be too big and why you need to stay very personal with them Why strategic partnerships have gotten even more important as agencies become specialists Why you need to carve out at least an hour a day for working on new business (and why it’s a good idea to do it away from the office) Why you need to figure out what your actionable objectives are and then break them down How to get referrals that are exact [...]