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Why Advertising Agencies Really Fail The First Prospect Meeting

From our experience with advertising agencies, few agency principals instinctively know how to navigate the second hurdle (the first prospect meeting)  to winning new business-today on 3 Takeaways, I’m talking about that second hurdle and how to navigate it-stick around.

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. 

First, a shout-out to RSW new business director Liz Lindley, who supplied most of the content for this episode. 

Alright, I won’t keep you in suspense-the second new business hurdle is the first prospect meeting (I know, I already told you above, work with me). 

Many agencies fail miserably at it, and I’m not just talking about meetings you get from outbound prospecting, this can extend to first meetings from referrals as well.

Mastering that introductory meeting isn’t rocket science, but many agency principals fall into the same trap. 

I’ll lay out a brief scenario to explain:

You’ve overcome the first hurdle – scheduling a meeting with that dream client.

You enter the meeting excited to share your industry experience, lots of slides, case studies, client stories, your capabilities.

You share your story and it’s a good one!

You did a great job presenting your agency capes in the best light.

So, why didn’t the relationship move forward to a second meeting and ultimately a win?

Most first-meeting failures are caused by one simple reason, and it’s your first takeaway:

You talked too much about YOU.

Or if you want a formal takeaway-Don’t make it all about you.

And that leads right into your second takeaway-

The entire goal of your first prospect meeting is getting that second meeting.

It’s rare you’re signing the contract or starting the work after your first meeting.

By asking smart questions and doing a little research before the call, your prospect will walk away with the mindset of: I like them. They’re smart, understand my business and I want to learn more. 

Many agency principals believe the introductory meeting is their “one chance to tell prospects how great we are.” 

They have a trepidation that keeps them from planning ahead. 

If you dump everything into their lap at one time during the initial conversation, it’s tough for prospects to distinguish your value and continue the conversation. 

OK let’s go back to the scenario I laid out.

You didn’t get the second meeting, because the prospect walked away without an understanding of your value-because you didn’t listen to their challenges or understand their priorities. 

Without those insights, you can’t really tell a relevant story based on your prospect’s needs, only your assumptions and accolades. 

Agencies have to show they’re playing at a higher level to be invited to the table, and it starts with how you manage the first meeting. 

And that’s a good segway into your third takeaway-

Let your competitors fire up their slide decks.

Let them use up all their time listing their capabilities and walking through case studies that may not apply, while you follow a simple agenda and land the second meeting. 

And in episode 80, I’ll lay out that simple agenda, so stay tuned for that. 

Thanks for watching 3 Takeaways-lots of new business content our site at rswus.com, just hit the resources drop down.