Hank Blank - How Agencies Can Get More New Business





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Published on Feb 5, 2013

Visit my blog at http://hankblank.wordpress.com

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I think I have a unique perspective on New Business Development because I have walked both sides of the street. I have been a successful new business hunter and have conducted agency searches for companies such as Jenny Craig, Raley's Supermarkets and Jacuzzi North America.

Here are some thoughts on how your advertising, public relations or digital firm can get more new business based on some observations during a couple of recent reviews.

First, it is time for agencies to stop schmoozing. Every time I do an agency review I get a call from my new best friend. "Hi Hank. I just wanted to tell you that I now work at the agency you just contacted. I have been meaning to call you." Sure. I have not heard from them in years and don't remember them. I may have met them once briefly. Only contacting people when you want something from them is not relationship building. It is disingenuous and makes me think they are an empty suit.

Stop saying your agency is different because you have an integrated marketing approach. I first heard the term integrated marketing when I was 28 years old and that was more than a couple of years ago. Try holistic, ecosystem, core, native, or anything else a little more au courant. Integrated marketing often translates to we want to maximize our revenue by doing as many things as possible for you.

Make yourself easier to connect with. I have blogged in the past on Why Agencies Don't Want to Connect. This is the age of smart phones but many New Business people and Senior Management at agencies live in the past. Few have salutations and even fewer have their cell phone number hyperlinked in their salutations or the agency's website. Not even the agency name. I have multiple agencies to deal with and I will always respond first to the ones that are easiest to deal with. If I see your email response on my iPhone make it is easier for me to call you. Not everybody gets to come to the party.

If your contact info on your site is info@your agency or fill out a form you are so out of touch I don't even want to try.

The other thing that agency need to do is stop making mistakes. Yes simple mistakes that shoot you in the foot. Proof your presentations. Every copy you send out. I can't tell you how many presentations I have seen with one copy upside down, missed collated pages, and other mistakes. I am not joking. Happens on numerous occasions. Just think you have spent hours on your initial submission but you didn't spend 30 minutes reviewing your work. The client happens to get the messed up copy and turns and says to me, "What does that tell you if they don't check their work?" Then they put the presentation to the side.

I received a call on the Saturday from the agency President no less who told me that he was reviewing their presentation and found a couple of typos and wanted to see if it was OK if he sent out two fresh copies that same day. On Saturday. It arrived in the late afternoon. The agency was in LA and I live in the OC, sixty miles away. What did that tell me? Well in the email that I forwarded to the client I said that it told me that the Principal of the agency would be involved in their business and would be accessible on the weekends and had high standards.

It is not what you say in New Business, it is how you act.

Stop trying to buy me. On occasion I have actually received e mails telling me that if I would connect them with my clients they would make sure they would take care of me. How sweet. What does that tell me about their value system? No wonder clients don't trust agencies. Would you trust that the billing from such an agency would be accurate? Sorry I am not that easy.

In the end New Business takes smart work but it also takes the simple basics of blocking and tackling.

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