One Forgotten Reason Competitors Hurt Your Chances For More Agency New Business

One of the battles for us as an outsourced business development firm is the onslaught of ineffective/uninformed sales emails marketing services firms get on a daily basis from telemarketers and bots, professing to be effective agency new business generators.

I’m not talking about our legitimate competition, I’m talking about the random lead gen firms typically promising the world.

For example, a few first lines from sales emails I’ve received over the past 6 weeks:

-I can’t give up until I hear from you. Either way we slice it, we should grab 20 minutes:

-Hey Lee, I just wanted you to know that my favorite animal is the orangutan. I think it’s such a cool looking creature. Anyways-

-Noticed you were an alum of University of Kentucky with such a great mascot name. Fighting cats make great sports team, like tigers and cougars. Out here on the west coast things can be different. For example, the mascot of U.C. Santa Cruz is the Banana Slug — (true story :) Not much of a fighting contest with that creature, right?

-I just saw you here online and was emailing you to see if you could handle 50 appointments with clients of your niche this month plus a guarantee that we will close the first client for you?

First mistake with all these: they should check their database.

We’re an outsourced business development firm ourselves, a quick site or LinkedIn check would show that.

But these companies are all about spray and pray primarily.

These ineffective (or terrible) emails make my job harder to break through to agencies about our services.

Agencies get emails like this every day, often several times a day, and I know this because they tell me they’re bombarded by lead gen firms at a manic pace.

And so my company, RSW, is constantly in danger of getting lumped in with these firms, or, just as egregious, outright ignored, because there’s so much junk entering their inbox every day.

Why should you care?

Because the same thing is happening to your agency right now.

There are a lot of agencies out there doing a mediocre job of new business, sending poorly written and/or forgettable emails to that prospect you’re pursuing.

And like my examples above, it makes your job, driving agency new business, harder, because that very solid and effective email you just sent gets lumped in with 2 or 3 crappy emails your competition sent over.

So-I leave you with thoughts on what to do to fight this, and ensure a more effective new business outreach:

  • Differentiate yourself with a strong point of difference and content that speaks to your prospect’s challenges
  • Take the time to craft concise, direct and specific emails, especially as a prospect shows interest
  • Don’t just use email-use every channel in concert with each other: email, phone, social (where it makes sense) and yes, snail mail.

And you could actually flip the script on this, and look at all this junk as a positive.

Let competitors get ignored, and keep reaching out with informed, value-driven reach-outs.

It will take 6 to 8 touches, but it will ultimately pay off.

How Fowling Will Help Up Your Agency New Business Game- 3 Takeaways Ep. 77

Ad agency friends-have you ever heard of fowling

Whether you have or not-it has many similarities with ad agency new business. 

And if you don’t know, I’ll tell you what it is

Welcome to “3 Takeaways”, your agency new business video series where we focus on one new business category and give you three takeaways to help improve your new business program

Are you familiar with Fowling? 

Created in Detroit apparently, Fowling is a game where you essentially throw a football into a set of bowling pins and try and knock them all down

Like bowling, but you’re using a football instead. 

You have two boards where each set of pins sits, 32 feet apart. So-Fowling.

So, we’re about to go Fowling as a company, a little outing.  And that’s apropos, because Fowling is a lot like agency new business.

You thought this was going to be an instructional fowling video didn’t you? 

Well, sort of, first, because it may sound easy-it is not.

I have seen women and men throw perfect spirals and hit nothing. 

So Lee, you’re thinking, how else is Fowling like agency new business?  Oh, I’ll tell you.

Here’s your first takeaway:

Patience is a virtue

OK, before you stop watching, this a building block of new business. 

But there’s some of you watching and you’re thinking, yeah, I know that, but you don’t live it. 

And you’re going to lose that big client, and suddenly need new business. 

Then you’re prospecting from a place of desperation. You don’t want to be there-check out episode 49 of 3 Takeaways for more on that. 

And you absolutely need patience for Fowling.

I’ve seen it get down to the last pin and take a long time to knock it down.

OK, your second takeaway:

Precision is key. 

It’s tough, but those footballs have zero play-it goes to one spot and then bounces away, typically. 

Same with new business-if all you’re doing is mass emails with zero homework, or intent, you may get a hit every now and then, but you’re wasting time in my opinion. 

Alright, and your third takeaway: 

You need to get creative.

In fowling, after the thirteenth time trying to hit those last two pins, maybe you try and throw it underhand. 

Not very graceful, but I’ve seen it work. 

Same with new business-there will be a time when you’ve used all your case studies, don’t have new content, you’ve used your site-in those cases, you have to get creative. 

Google is always your friend, you can always find some piece of news on the company or industry. 

Or maybe you send an old school letter. 

Whatever you do, you can’t wait for things to happen. 

So there you have it: fowling and new business.  Who knew? 

Thanks for watching 3 Takeaways.

How To Handle Toxic Rock Star Employees – 3 Takeaways Ep.76

This episode of 3 Takeaways is about handling toxic rockstar employees at your agency: what that looks like (especially when they’re a rockstar), and how to handle it post-pandemic.

Hey, welcome to “3 Takeaways”, your agency new business video series where we focus on one new business category and give you three takeaways to help improve your new business program.

Today’s episode is sponsored by the legendary indie record label IRS records, original home to REM and The Go-Gos, to name a few. (OK, not really a sponsor).

So we’re talking about toxic employees at your agency, and what that looks like post-pandemic.

From talking with all kinds of agencies, the pandemic, for a lot of firms, put those employees on the back burner.  

These problems didn’t go away, there was still Zoom and those employees were still there, but there were bigger, and other very real problems.

But here we are, mostly post-pandemic, and agencies are adopting all kinds of models: stay-at-home, in the office, hybrids, and have put a fair amount of planning in place.

And those toxic employees may have gotten a pass over the last year plus, especially if they did well, if they were rock stars. 

If they’re producing, sometimes you overlook a certain level of toxicity, especially if that employee knows how to walk right up to that line, but never quite cross it.

I had an agency describe this very situation recently, involving the employee who drove new business.

And with employees coming back, or staying home, whatever your model, you need to deal with that toxic employee now.  

Especially in this job market-you can’t afford to have one employee drive other good employees out, rock star or not.

So how to deal with that employee now, in your post-pandemic agency world?

Here’s your first takeaway:

Create or update your standards of behavior. 

It’s surprising how many agencies don’t have these in place, or maybe you haven’t updated the existing standards to reflect your agency post-pandemic.

Now is the time to do that, so an employee, and specifically that toxic employee, can never say he or she didn’t have clear guidelines.

Here’s your second takeaway:

Be specific and clear when it comes to performance. 

This goes beyond behavior, and towards expectations for each department, or individual.

What they’re doing well, and what needs to be improved. 

You have to avoid mixed signals, and document all of it.

And that way, all employees are clear on what to expect, and they see leadership making that clear.

And so with that toxic rockstar, it’s made clear to them, and possibly that will help their behavior, or help agency leadership document instances where the behavior continues.

And your third takeaway:

Make sure there is an outlet for employee feedback, and encourage employees to use it.

If that employee is truly toxic, you, as an agency principal, need to know and should want to know. 

And look, sometimes certain employees just don’t get along, that doesn’t mean one of them is toxic, but when it’s clear, you’re better off addressing it sooner than later.

And you can do all the cost/benefit you want when that toxic employee is a rock star, and it may be hard to replace them, but ultimately, is that the kind of culture you want existing at your agency?