Generating new business is much like the dating game

by dan-s

“Botanophobic landscape gardener – seeks similar”. Ok so admittedly, not all of us are going to find our perfect match, but if you’re willing to get yourself out there, a happy relationship awaits.

What am I waffling on about? Let me explain. I’ve worked in sales since I was a fresh-faced 17-year-old lad – hard-nosed, relentless, soul destroying sales. But working as a New Business Manager for marketing agencies is a different kettle of fish all together.

I could probably best relate the process, and the feeling I get when my clients win new business to that of a “Love Advisor” (or whatever they call themselves in the dating game). The satisfaction they must feel when Eric the botanophobe calls to thank them profusely for finally finding him love.

My clients come to me with a list of qualification criteria, thankfully not quite as specific as Eric’s, but criteria that I will work very tightly with to source them the best opportunities to win new business.

The process is much the same as the dating game (in a way).

The Introduction (The Call):

So I have the criteria, let’s say retail brands, budget over £75k, based in the South East, and an agency user? Check! Now to start building the relationship. My job is to ensure they are the right kind of prospect, and by the end of my call have a healthy interest in my client, enough to meet and get acquainted.

Now maybe they are already in relationship but they like you enough to meet you don’t they?

The Big First Date (The New Business Meeting):

My place or yours? (well, usually their place). I have qualified this meeting enough for us to know that they fit my client’s criteria, and they have a genuine interest in the offer. Here’s where the client comes in to see if there is chemistry. What do you have in common? Now it’s not as simple as “No way! Your favourite colour is red!? Mine too! Garçon! Bill please!” It takes a little work. These prospects don’t jump into bed with just anyone you know.

At the end of the date, it would be great if you came away with a new business brief. If not don’t be shy, they have trusted in you, maybe told you their problems so be brave enough to ask them for a second date.

The Proposal (The Proposal!):

Let’s say it was love at first sight and things are moving fast. You have the brief, and you’re considering your proposal (It doesn’t need to take place at the top of the Eiffel Tower, their offices will do).

You swoop in suited and booted, romance them with your flashy presentation / proposal. They say yes! All of your hard work (and mine) has paid off! Let the relationship begin.

And all of this blossoming from a well-targeted, eloquently delivered new business cold call. Doesn’t it just make you want to weep with joy?