By Category: New Business Lead Generation

Know Your Outreach Numbers to Win Ad Agency New Business »

Key to daily objectives
Published on April 25, 2012

client referralReaching out to prospects you don't know - whether through cold calling, referrals, or networking - is a numbers game. Once you know your numbers, you can plan your weekly outreach so you meet your new business objectives.

Here's what I mean: A sales trainer I'm familiar with does the following every day:

  • Calls 15 companies he's never called before.
  • Has a conversation with 7 of them (approximately 50%).
  • Out of the 7, gets a meeting with 1  - 15% conversion from conversation to appointment (1/7); and, 3% conversion from unknown company to meeting (1/30).

If he does this every day, he knows he'll set, on average, 1 meeting every day, for a total of 5 new meetings every week. He'll also have at least 3 second or third meetings per week - carryovers from meetings in prior weeks. Of the 8 meetings each week, he expects to close one sale per week. Over the course of the year, he'll close 50 new accounts. 

While his business is more transactional than a typical ad agency's, there are two key takeaways:

  1. He knows how many calls to make every day.
  2. He plans his daily schedule to give himself time to meet his daily objectives.

What's your approach?

Many new business people shy away from cold calls. From my experience, they only work for those who aren't afraid of them. If you don't like making cold calls or don't believe in them, try another approach.

Let's say that you prefer to network with friends and colleagues, and people you meet at conferences; or, that you only pursue new business if it's from a client referral. It's still a numbers game. I recommend that you analyze the funnel that led to a few of your recent new client wins to determine:

  • How many total people did you reach out to initially?
  • How many good conversations resulted?
  • How many meetings did you set?
  • How many proposals did you issue that resulted in your wins?

Once you know your numbers, you'll be able to do the math to determine your daily targets: how many people you need to network with, or how many clients you need to approach for referrals in order to reach your new client targets.

Have I explained this well? If not, please email me - I'll be happy to walk you through your numbers so you can set daily targets that will make you successful.


New Business Prospecting Without the Cocktail Umbrella »

It takes hard work
Published on July 21, 2010

drink with umbrellaMany of us start feeling sluggish during the heat of the Summer. Prospecting for new business can feel pretty unappealing, and as the clock moves towards 5:00 pm, it's pretty easy to start thinking about taking a swim or sipping a well-chilled cocktail (perhaps one with an umbrella).

Unfortunately, working less on ad agency new business will not yield more new clients. Nor will it get help you become a more effective new business person.

As Malcom Gladwell discusses in Outliers:

...the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.

He cites numerous examples of what it takes to rise to the top of your profession. Here are a few:

  • 10,000 hours to be a great musician, chess or hockey player (and I would argue just about anything else).
  • Working night and day to build a business.
  • Having parents who lead by example and set the expectation for you to work hard and not settle for mediocrity.
  • Being born during a group of years that position you take advantage of technological breakthroughs.

We are lucky today: there are opportunities to excel all around us. In your new business life, it takes hard work - and time. If you put in the hours, continually educate yourself, experiment, and keep striving for higher levels of performance, you'll achieve your goals.

So, resist the little cocktail umbrella, at least today. Instead, do a little more research, make a few more calls. Add a few more hours towards the 10,000 you need to become a new business expert.


36 “No"s Can Still Make a Right for Ad Agency New Business »

Consultative selling at its best
Published on June 17, 2010

prospectorI was told a story a few month ago about a salesman and his son. They're not involved with ad agency new business, but their story and the lessons learned are 100% applicable to a successful hunter.

Howard Weisnberg is a master salesman of the old school - he believes sales is a numbers game. His approach is simple: make as many calls as possible while offering solutions in a consultative way to creatively get to the buyers' needs and budget. He often surprises his customers with packages and prices they never thought of. His deals range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars; on average he sells $50,000-$80,000 per month. His profit margin is the highest in the company's history.

Both of Howard's sons are gifted salesman. Last year his son, Adam, took a job selling B2B training courses that average about $1,500 each. At his company, all new hires are given "proving leads". Each of these leads has already been called 30-40 times by past new hires.

Adam closed three deals in his first week.

Okay, let's consider what's going on here:

  • You have a talented father who passed on his skills to his son.
  • You have a company that knows there is value in "old, dead leads" and recognizes that good sales people will find it.
  • You have a son who is clearly able to find a buyer's need where others were not.

New Business lessons:

  • Does your agency have a group of prospects that you consistently work over the long-term?
  • Do you abandon efforts after the first rejection?
  • Are you consistently working to improve your sales skills - to practice identifying needs and establishing value?

As Guy Kawasaki (former Apples exec and founder and managing director of Garage Technology Ventures) said in a NYT interview some months ago:

Success in business comes from a willingness to grind it out...



Brian Goodall on Getting Your Ad Agency Noticed »

> 50% is falling in love
Published on June 15, 2010

brian goodall

Ad agency search consultant Brian Goodall, of Jones Lundin Beals, keeps it simple when he talks about how to get your agency noticed by corporate marketers. In fact, he boils it down to a couple of bullet points.


  • Marketers have to fall in love with you. Cause this to happen and you're more than 50% of the way to a win. Most call this "chemistry". You influence it by how you act, the people you bring to meetings, how each person interacts with the marketing team, as well as all the little things that take place from the marketer's first contact with your agency right up until they award you their business.
  • New business = Show business. You have to present well and dazzle your audience. It's really simple, he says: "leave your boring presenters at home."
  • The Big Idea trumps everything. It's a requirement to get far in a review. But, it's not sufficient: a big idea and lousy chemistry doesn't equal a win.

The question that so many small and mid-size agencies (i.e. those with less than 100 employees) have is this: We're a regional agency trying be national. How do we do it?

Brian's response:

There's no substitute for doing work that gets noticed...and...if they don't come to you, go to them.

He mentioned three regional agencies that do a great job of getting noticed in a crowded market:

  1. The Via Group (Portland, ME). In 2008 they held a "salon series" in NYC, to which they attracted Fortune 100 CMOs, and the media.
  2. Lindsay, Stone & Briggs (Madison, WI). For the last 20 years they've held a "Brandworks University", most recently last month.
  3. Erwin-Penland Advertising (Greenville, SC). They hold a conference for movers and shakers. [Note: I wasn't able to confirm if this is an ongoing event, or something that EP held in the past.]

These three agencies are very successful at these initiatives, he feels, in large part because they make it all about the clients and not about themselves.

If you're a regional agency it may take extra effort to put yourself on the map, but as we all know, some pretty well-known shops have done it from such places as Miami, Austin, Richmond, and Portland (OR).


Client Perspective: How Your Agency Should Engage With the CMO »

Insider tips
Published on May 20, 2010

cmoHow valuable is it to hear directly from three CMOs to learn how they like to be contacted, what you need to know about them before you do, how to pitch, and how smart you need to be about their business? If that's of interest, read on.

The current and former CMOs of Wyndam Hotels, Capital One Retail Marketing, and Cablevision sat down at the recent New Business Conference to discuss ad agency new business. They spoke candidly about how to prospect them. Their insights are similar to those expressed by the CMOs of large and small companies alike.

Here's what they said, written from the perspective of the CMO:

What you need to know about me:

  • Understand my business.
  • Understand my industry.

How to interact with me:

  • Have an idea about how to apply your expertise to my business.
  • Share your insights on my business. Tell me how we're doing. If you think we're doing something wrong, tell me so (respectfully).
  • Listen to me as we get to know one another. Respect me. Demonstrate that you were listening.

What you need to recognize about big companies:

  • I'm trying to stay one step ahead of other executives on the senior management team. How can you help me be smarter?
  • I'm the only voice of marketing on the team.
  • The board of directors is interested in ROI. Know how you're going to drive sales.

How to succeed working with big companies:

  • Educate procurement. Many procurement groups want to reduce the cost of agencies. The more educated they are about agencies, the better decisions they'll make.
  • When there are product groups in a company, make sure you're talking to both marketing and the product group(s).

What to remember when you're going to pitch me and my team:

  • Demonstrate results.
  • Show your emotion and passion.
  • Remember: the agency needs to be smarter than the client - that's why we're hiring you.

The best way to get on my radar:

  • Get referred in by someone I know; or,
  • Have something to say that's really relevant to my business.

This is great stuff. Hope you can put it to good use.


Recent Entries

9 Steps to Close 60% of Your Ad Agency’s First Meetings »

Case Study: Cinquino & Co.
published on May 05, 2010

crisisWas your agency able to win new business from 71% of your first meetings in 2008? How about 60% in 2009? That's what one small agency in New Jersey accomplished after being on the brink of closing

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Ask for a Referral to Generate New Business Leads »

published on April 27, 2010

ask We all know we should ask for referrals. But it's the rare new business or sales person - in any company or industry - who habitually does. Even rarer is finding a company that has

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2010’s Top Industry Categories to Drive Ad Agency New Business »

Latest information from research firm Mintel
published on April 21, 2010

categoriesKrista Faron, Lead Innovation Analyst at research firm Mintel, gave an inside look at the industry categories predicted to experience growth in the coming year during the recent 2010 New Business

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The New Business Power of a Snail Mail Thank You Note »

How does it make you feel?
published on March 31, 2010

thank you noteI received two thank you notes in the last month that were different from all others: neither was sent via email. One was an "old-fashioned", hand-written note from a friend. The other was from a

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How One Agency’s New Business Approach Distinguished Them From Their Competition »

As easy as...Above and Beyond Client Service
published on March 18, 2010

Set yourself apartTrue story from a week ago: Midwest branding and packaging agency seeks Midwest healthcare account. Agency gets to the top of the list of prospective partners - before even meeting with the

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Hot Categories for Ad Agency New Business - Today »

Where and how to successfully prospect
published on February 18, 2010

hot off the pressThere are only a few people in the U.S. who have a broad-based and in-depth view of the proactive new business market, and who can speak to all geographic regions, industry categories, and types

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Direct Mail Back for Ad Agency Lead Generation? »

Wall Street Journal article suggests it still works
published on January 14, 2010

direct mailIt wasn't too many years ago that ad agencies used direct mail to generate new business leads. Then, it went out of fashion in favor of email. But, as spam laws and filters have made email less

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Guest Post: Taking New Business Dating to the Next Level »

Know your type
published on December 18, 2009

dating typeThis is a guest post from Craig Kavicky, Vice President at Big Red Rooster, an independent research, strategy, and design company in Columbus, Ohio.


In recent posts, Todd has referenced the

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The “So What” Behind a Prospect’s Pain and Aspirations »

Reveal the answer to close more new business
published on December 02, 2009

so whatBefore a prospect can become a client, they have to clearly understand the value of working with your ad agency or marketing services firm.

Does your current new business process demonstrate what

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The Other Reason Why Your Clients Buy Marketing Services »

Help them create a new future
published on November 23, 2009

aspriationThe common approach to selling marketing services is, "Find their pain, and then show how you can solve it." But, if you only focus on your prospect's pain, you're leaving half the potential new

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New Business Cold Calling Conundrum: Research More or Make More Calls? »

The answer depends...
published on October 22, 2009

conundrumThis is the last in our three-part Q&A from our reader in Finland, who posed an often-debated question: "Should I thoroughly research my prospects and make fewer calls, or research less and make

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Data Accuracy Essential for Proactive New Business »

Just because you have a database doesn't mean it's accurate
published on September 28, 2009


Most agencies have a new business database. Twelve years ago, while working at another company, I would've agreed with the majority of agency principals who believe that their database resembles

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New Business Prospecticide »

Add value so you don't kill your prospects
published on September 17, 2009

Pros-pec-ti-cide  [pros-pek-tuh-sahyd]


  1. The act of killing prospects.


What a great word! I came across it in an article by Paul McCord. He raises valuable issues and recommendations that

Read on...

$40,000 Off Our Fees. Your Next New Business Pitch? »

($ Canadian, that is.)
published on September 09, 2009

$40,000 off coupon

How many of us are willing to offer $40,000 off agency fees to bring in a client? Well that's what The BrainStorm Group did at the end of May. And it worked.

Ron Telpner, chairman and CEO of the

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Agency New Business Killer or Promoter: Your Director of First Impressions »

You are judged on first impressions
published on August 27, 2009


A recent survey reveals that only one in three agency receptionists meet the characteristics of a Director of First Impressions. Staffed well and you'll have another new business weapon in your

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Knowing your Target is Key to New Business Prospecting »

White paper reveals benefits of good prospect targeting
published on August 07, 2009
There's a direct correlation, in our data and in our experience, between companies who know more about their targets, and how successful they are at generating leads.

image's research

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An Ad Agency’s Rationale for Not Doing Proactive New Business »

Lack of ROI is usually caused by one of four things
published on July 27, 2009


It's not uncommon to hear that an ad agency (or other type of marketing services company) is suspending their proactive, outbound new business efforts due to low Return on Investment (ROI).


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4 Steps To Never Forget to Call Your New Business Prospect »

Use a CRM system for new business advantage
published on July 07, 2009

imageA sales guy from a well known payroll services company has been calling me on and off for months, trying to get me interested in their service, even though we're very satisfied with our current

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New Business Lead Generation: How to Handle Rejection »

Attitude, self confidence and practice are key
published on July 06, 2009


You can usually tell if someone is a natural sales or proactive new business person by the way they handle rejection. If they take it personally and procrastinate before picking up the phone to

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Is Social Media Making Prospect Databases Irrelevant for New Business? »

How will you obtain and connect with prospects?
published on July 01, 2009

A client asked me recently, "How will the rise of social media sites impact how I obtain and use prospect information?"

To me there are two ways you need to consider the issue:

  1. How will social

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Ad Agency New Business Update: The Turnaround is Coming »

Certain marketers are hiring, so get ready to ramp up your prospecting efforts
published on June 18, 2009

Jodi Bailey runs The Experts Bench, which places senior interim marketers with Fortune 500 companies (if any of your clients need this type of help, they're a very good resource, particularly for

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Ad Agency, Industrial Design Firm New Business Opportunity: Ford »

Wanted: passionate, creative designers
published on June 11, 2009

On my plane to Connecticut this past weekend I got into a recent article in Fortune Magazine titled "Fixing Up Ford." It's all about Alan Mulally's drive to save Ford. And he's doing some great

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Ad Agency New Business Update: Cold Calling Isn’t Dead »

It may be the most dreaded type of prospecting effort. Some claim it's dead. But, it still works.
published on June 04, 2009

"I just got a call-back from International Paper."

Turns out this new business person made one introductory phone call to track down the appropriate person, left a voicemail message, sent

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Reveal Ad Agency New Business Opportunities by Asking Analysis Questions »

If you determine the depth and weight of your prospect's needs you'll clearly define the potential opportunity
published on May 27, 2009

Most proactive new business efforts take place over the phone, which is at the heart of any outbound new business process. Most sales people know about the idea of identifying needs, but as Art

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Ad Agency New Business Strategy: Employee Referrals »

Push responsibility for new business throughout your entire agency
published on May 04, 2009

I'm talking to more agencies and marketing services companies that are trying to enlist everyone in their companies to drive new business. Miriam Marcus wrote an article in Forbes magazine the

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6 Tips to Improve Email Marketing for Your Ad Agency »

Email marketing can be a cost-effective way to generate awareness that may lead to new business for your agency
published on April 06, 2009

Successful email campaigns can generate leads, conversations, meetings and new business wins. However, campaigns must be conducted correctly in order to achieve any of these objectives.

While I

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For Ad Agency New Business Success, Hire a Sales Person with These 4 Traits… »

Hire someone with proven success in consultative sales ... then ... let them sell!
published on April 01, 2009

Sales is a profession and a critical business function. The sales professional's personality is very different from any other staff member.

These 4 traits are critical - and common - among

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Voicemails can Break through Proactive New Business Clutter »

The words you use and the way you use them say a lot about you and your agency
published on March 13, 2009

They will determine if you are able to move from voicemails to conversations.

Think about how we pre-judge people who leave us voicemails. If they are a fast-talking salesperson we'll call them "

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Quality Trumps Quantity in Ad Agency Email Marketing »

Email filters eliminate roughly 20% of legitimate emails
published on March 06, 2009

A 2008 study  by ReturnPath found that email filters eliminate roughly 20% of legitimate emails.

The days of blasting out email messages to large lists in order to drive new business leads are

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Buy vs. Build your Ad Agency’s New Business Database »

Smart business decision to expect new business director to build a prospecting database?
published on March 03, 2009

Not long ago, Jeff, a twenty-something new business guy gave me a call. He was a new employee at a well-known regional ad agency. His management team had given him a group of industry categories

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Persistence Determines Successful Ad Agency New Business Development »

CMO friends consistently tell me that new business people give up too early
published on February 23, 2009

Here are the unofficial statistics they cite about agencies' proactive business development people:

  • 50% never follow up on the email or material they send
  • 25% follow up only once or twice by

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7 Voicemail Messages for Successful Ad Agency New Business Development »

Good voicemail messages are a critical part of an effective sales and marketing campaign
published on February 17, 2009

Good voicemail messages are a critical part of an effective sales and marketing campaign: they develop awareness and rapport before a conversation begins.

I have a friend who's the CMO at a major

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List Rental vs. License for Ad Agency New Business Leads »

Pay for single-use contacts or subscribe to a new business resource? Each has its purpose, pros and cons
published on January 23, 2009

I had a conversation the other day about renting email lists. The focus of the conversation was how to get the lowest possible cost per contact. What the new business person hadn't thought-through

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How to Choose a New Business Database »

An accurate database is a key ingredient for new business success for any ad agency or marketing services company
published on January 13, 2009

These databases, or information resources, come in various shapes and sizes and you'll have the most success when you use them for their intended purpose.

Social sites - like LinkedIn or Facebook

Read on...

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