The most-used description we hear for agencies and their new business process (or lack of one) is the story of the cobbler’s children.
(If you’re not familiar, read here.)
Essentially the cobbler (maker of shoes) is so busy making shoes for his customers/clients, that his own children are walking around with no shoes themselves.
Similarly, agencies are working so hard for their clients, they don’t make time for the new business process.
But given that’s a proverb from hundreds of years ago, I was struck with inspiration for an update to describe how often agencies ignore the process of new business.
And we all see it every day:
Agencies ignore new business like someone texting and walking, or simply engrossed in their phone screen-ignoring what’s in front of them.
So taking this analogy one step further:
The focus on your phone is essentially like the focus on your clients
Constantly looking at it, head down, (servicing clients), to the exclusion of new business.
Once you finally look up, the far-too-often ignored new business process becomes the collective realization that you should have had an achievable new business strategy in place all along.
(Before that big client left, or budgets got slashed or referrals started to become more sporadic.)
Before I come across as too harsh, clients do have to come first, of course.
I could never begrudge agencies that fact (you gotta eat after all), but there really is never an excuse for the lack of a new business strategy.
An achievable strategy, that won’t overwhelm you.
Need a few more reasons? How about some cold, hard new business stats?
From a few of our recent and past agency new business survey reports:
Less than 3% of agencies report closing business during a first meeting.
It’s hard enough just getting that first meeting, and 97% of the time, the new business process doesn’t stop there.
Leading to my next stat:
Agencies say 48% of business closes within 2-3 months of the first meeting.
We know too many examples of agencies handling new business internally claiming a meeting went nowhere, when in fact the agency performed little-to-no follow–up.
And to put a capper on this point, our last stat for this post:
53% of marketers say agency follow-up after meetings is not aggressive enough.
So, as I say goodbye to the cobbler’s children, I’ll flesh out and finish my new, updated analogy: your phone is important, you rely on it and need it, but you also have to be aware of your surroundings.
Lift up your head and pay attention to your new business process, lest you get blindsided by a glaring lack of new business.