With over 30 years’ experience at the sharp end of business development, we have witnessed absolute talent and frankly, downright nonsense when it comes to agencies trying to win new clients.
Here are just a few examples of what NOT to do:
1. Over-promise and under-deliver.
Sounds obvious but it’s actually quite difficult to put into practice. In these uncertain times it’s tempting to say YES, we can do that, without giving proper consideration to your resource and experience. Having the balls to walk away from a job is far better than not doing a great job. People will respect your honesty and come back to you when there’s something you CAN do.
2. Pointlessly pitch.
You know what this looks like. 11 other agencies, including their existing long-term agency of choice, you’ve not met them and have only been allowed a quick phone call to answer some superficial questions. You can take a good stab at what the outcome will be, but you still persevere and waste time and money on the off-chance that you might, if you’re lucky, come a ‘close second’. Don’t pitch unless you’ve met the company and all the key players and know what they’re really looking for. Much better to get under the radar, start the relationship with an initial project, do it well and then you’ll get invited to pitch, with a much better chance of winning.
3. Slag off your competition.
It’s not acceptable and it can make you appear a bit shifty and frankly, slightly desperate. However, it is acceptable to ask how their current agencies are doing in order to identify some opportunities/gaps – that is the purpose of a new business meeting after all. But always maintain your integrity; building trust and confidence in you as an individual as well as in your agency is a crucial factor in their decision making process.
4. Bore them to death with a PowerPoint presentation.
A first new business meeting is about the prospective client and what’s keeping them awake at night, so firing off a mainly irrelevant presentation is not going to get to the root of their challenges. Asking them meaningful questions is. By all means show them example case studies to demonstrate your skills in helping other, similar businesses with similar issues but only AFTER you’ve found out what those problems are
5. Try and do it all yourself!
As an agency owner, you are crucial in representing your business in all kinds of ways, developing existing client relationships, nurturing warm leads you’ve generated yourself through networking, creating authoritative content, speaking at events etc. What you shouldn’t do (and won’t have time to do effectively) is try and contact people you have no current relationship with – leave that in the hands of experts, either internally or outsourced.
If you want to know more about our new business activity, then take a look here.