Hank Blank - What Wins New Business?





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Published on Feb 2, 2015

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What Wins New Business?


The more you know the more often you will win.

Knowledge is not information. Knowledge is insight into client’s pains, knowledge about key decision makers, who controls the budget, what has failed in the past and other key nuggets that can control the outcome of the pitch.

The more you know the more it will show.

I know from my experience conducting agency searches for companies from Jenny Craig to Toyo Tires that slivers separate agencies in the end and knowledge can make the crucial difference that will get you the call that you want to receive.

Most agencies are very smart. The only area that most agencies aren’t smart about is how they market themselves.

When I conduct an agency review I know agencies will present a lot of information from syndicated research, their own research be it street interviews or online resources.

The problem is when you go see the next agency they often present similar information. Some is exactly the same and other information is a different shade of the same facts.

You see all agencies think they are different and some are. But in pitches agencies often arrive at the same conclusions with their observations about client issues. Client problems are pretty obvious to most agencies.

What is key is hitting some touch points based on personal knowledge that the other agencies don’t have.

You don’t get knowledge from syndicated research, you don’t get knowledge from focus groups, you don’t get knowledge from store visits because in the New Normal every agency will go beyond the norm and do the same sweat equity and sweat equity says that you have invested in the pitch. But what agency won’t for a great client these days?

Knowledge only comes from talking to people.

Perhaps somebody who reached out to your agency because they are on the client side and want to move to the agency side. They think agency life is cool and a friend told them about your shop. It is most likely a sign that they are unhappy where they are.

Think about that for a minute. A client side marketing person applies to your HR department and is interested in joining your agency.

Does your HR department ever share that resume with your New Business person?

Does your New Business person ever reach out to them as just as a person and say let’s do lunch or a latte. Would that be a good use of their time?

A lunch of listening would be best. No selling. Just helping.

Maybe they could be an employee and maybe not.

But the listening and a few questions about key decision makers, frustrations, and challenges they and their company are facing would be knowledge. Knowledge that you may not be able to use today but could be powerful tomorrow.

And isn’t knowledge power. Francis Bacon said that in 1597.


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