Late and over budget

Lots of marketing agencies haven’t had a proper, sustained new business effort in place, relying (as many do) on referrals and waiting for the phone to ring. Selling what an agency does is very different from responding to a referral or an incoming enquiry. Part of our briefing day is designed to uncover the things about our client that are interesting to a “cold” prospect. Remember, that’s a prospect who receives too many terrible sales calls to put up with one that sounds like all the others.

As well as finding the little compelling nuggets that make a cold approach work better, there are some things that you should avoid saying or writing if you want to really interest someone:

On budget, on time
As opposed to…? Hollow promises, the opposite of which are unthinkable don’t have any impact. Your prospect wasn’t thinking, “this all sounds great, but I imagine you deliver it late and over budget”. And if they were, they’re not likely to be reassured by this flippant soundbite. Your clients know whether you deliver on budget, on time when you deliver on budget, on time. Until then, don’t join the chorus of agencies who say it.

We’ve worked for (insert biggest client here)
Nobody cares who the biggest client you’ve worked for is. Ours is Dentsu (well, one of their agencies). Do you feel differently about us? Did it make us a better new business agency? Tell the world about the best results you got for a client. Back when I worked for a big, lumbering new business agency, our entire spiel on the phone was to jabber on, talking about the biggest clients our clients had. It was only when I started looking for the most compelling examples of my clients’ results that better win ratios emerged. Talk about your best results, ideally from the point of view of your client.

We really get under the skin of our clients’ brands….
….unlike our competitors, who, just prior to starting work on their clients’ marketing activity have their memory wiped, a la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind and just make stuff up. Everyone claims to “really soak up what our clients’ brands are about”, to “immerse ourselves in our clients’ values”. There’s literally nobody saying, “we take on a client and try to find a member of our team that knows nothing about them or their ilk, then we set them loose with their marketing budget in a shabby carrier bag”. I’m being glib for effect or course but you get the idea. As before, talk about results – talk about what your clients have once they’ve worked with you.

There are more, all of which we studiously avoid. In summary though, tell the world what they can get from you. If a client works with you for 12 months, what will they have in month 13 that they didn’t have in month 1? That, after all, is what they’re buying.