How important is an icebreaker in new business?

by rob

In the world of marketing and creative agencies, it would be a fair assumption to say that a decent sized client account will likely have a significant price tag attached to it.

Typically, we would expect most clients of the agencies we work with to spend anywhere between £30K-£150K a year each.

And whilst the companies and brands that appoint a new agency will have extensive marketing budgets, nobody likes to throw their money away or risk it on a bad investment. Therefore, the decision maker at these companies who decides to appoint a new agency (whether that is a Brand Manager, Marketing Director or in some cases the CEO) will want the reassurance that the agency they appoint will do a good job for them.

This is where we go back to the old adage that “people buy from people.”

Having trust in the person you are buying from is the first crucial step in the customer journey and this begins the first time you speak to a prospective client – the initial icebreaker that will entice somebody to engage with you.

If you get this right, it is likely that the next steps in your journey will be so much smoother. Speaking to a prospect about your agency’s experience, success stories, skill set and what you can offer them is way easier if they have already warmed to you than not.

When using a good business development agency, that initial icebreaker should, in theory, be even easier for you. After all, your account manager at the new business agency would have already spoken at length to the prospect. They will have ascertained their needs and challenges, as well as an insight into their personality (there’s more about that here if you’re interested). You will be prepared with all this information before you’ve even met them and that will be a big advantage.

Aside from the obvious introductions and a brief chat about the weather, which as we all know is compulsory in this country, finding some common ground with a prospect is a great icebreaker and a quick way to build trust and empathy. Sources like LinkedIn may provide useful information here – previous jobs, universities, etc may well throw up something you have in common.

And don’t forget, asking open-ended questions (how, what, why, etc) will encourage the prospect to go into a certain level of detail which in turn allows you to engage them and build a good rapport.

By it’s very nature, an icebreaker will be one of the first impressions a prospect has of you – so putting that initial effort in can go a long way.