What I admire about surfers is their tenacity. Rain, shine, cold or scorching hot — they are out here every day, practicing their craft. That’s how agency owners need to approach sales.
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Hey, everybody! Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. This week, I am coming to you from Pacific Beach, California. What you probably can’t see behind me is that the ocean is filled with surfers. They’re getting ready to go out and practice their craft. For many of them, before they go to their day job. And what’s fascinating is, they’re here everyday. So they are wet suited up everyday, whether it’s raining, whether it’s beautiful, whether it’s hot, whether it’s cold, but they are here to practice their craft every single day. And then, many of them come back after work, at the end of the day, to do it all again. But there is no sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. They are here because they want to get better and because they love it. When I think about agencies and I think about agency owners, one of the challenges for most agencies is deal flow or sales funnel or filling the pipeline, whatever you want to call it. And one of the reasons why that’s so challenging is because we don’t do it everyday. So most agency owners are natural born sales people. Most agency owners don’t love sales. And so, in many agencies, the pattern for biz dev is what I call feast or famine. So what that looks like is, you don’t do a lot of new business. Maybe your monthly newsletter goes out every quarter. Maybe you go to a networking event or something like that. But it’s very haphazard until you get a warning sign.So, until a client fires you, or until you get sort of the spidey sense that one of your big clients is about to walk or something else happens, then all of a sudden, or worst case scenario, you don’t have any clue at all, and you get fired. Then all of a sudden, everybody is on point and you are scrambling to get biz dev. So you’re doing everything you can. You’re calling former clients. You are going to trade shows. You are sending out mailings. You’re doing whatever you think it takes to get a prospect in the door and to win the new business. So, basically, when you are at famine stage, in terms of AGI, you go into overdrive. And then what happens is, sooner or later, and usually it’s never as fast as you want, and sometimes you have to make adjustments but sooner or later, you land a new client. And then you spend all of your time on boarding that new client, which means that all your biz dev efforts dry up and you are back to the famine methodology of biz dev, which is we don’t do very much, we don’t do it in a consistent way and we certainly are not doing it everyday. And I am here to tell you that that doesn’t work. So, it works for a while, if you’re super small. So, if you’re less than ten people and you are still working your Rolodex of people you know in the industry, former clients, might be local folks, then it works for a while. But once you get passed the 10, 12, 15 FTE stage, now you’ve got to go out and sell to strangers. Now, you have to get people who don’t know you to hire you and the agency. And that takes consistency and that takes time. And what it really takes is having a plan. So, if I were to ask you, “What is your plan?” “What are you doing, agency owner?” And by the way, whether you have a new business person or not, new business is still the agency owner’s number one priority. What are you doing today to put somebody in the sales funnel or to move them through the sales funnel? What’s on your to-do list that you know you’re going to do today? And what’s on your to-do list, for that same question, tomorrow? And what about next Wednesday? And how about the Thursday after that? If you can’t answer all of those questions, you do not have a biz dev sales plan. And, it also, by the way, having a plan that you work and that you have documented actually is successful if you ever want to sell your agency is a huge factor in the multiplier you’re going to get for your agency. But, we’ll talk about that another day. But, what I want to talk to you about today is this idea of everyday you’ve got to have sales activity. You, the agency owner, have to have sales activity. Might not be just you, might be other people on your team, but you have to have sales activity. You’re going to put on the wetsuit and you got to get out into the water every single day. And, if you are not doing that, and if you don’t have a plan to do that, then understand that you’re going to keep riding this wave of feast and famine. And oftentimes, what that means is, you’re going to have to, on occasion, do lay-offs or other cut backs because you can’t get people through the sales funnel fast enough. You’ve got to be working that sales funnel every single day so that there is always activity and people are always dropping down, getting close to the “Yes, I’m ready to sign a contract or authorization,” or whatever you call it. But that doesn’t happen magically and as you know, it doesn’t happen as quickly as you want it to. If you are saying, “You know what? We are the feast and famine agency. We scramble around, we do a few things but we’re not very consistent.” Or, “We have a plan but we don’t actually work it,” you are not alone. In fact, you are one of most agencies, which is why we have developed a workshop called Build and Nurture Your Sales Funnel. It’s in January of 2020. It is down in Orlando, Florida. And at the end of the video, I’m going to give you a URL so you can go read more about it. But, whether you come to the workshop or not, what I am telling you is your number one job as an agency owner is to put on that wetsuit and get in the water every single day. And you’ve got to know what you’re going to do in advance otherwise the day takes over and you don’t have time. So this has got to be your priority and it’s not a once-in-a-while, it’s every single day, rain or shine, hot or cold, shark warning or not, get in the water and practice your craft. Okay? Talk to you next week.