Ad Agencies, PR, design, and digital firms, creative hot shops and more must become experts at finding prospects and winning new business.

new business quiz

Good luck with new business!

The competition has never been greater. Firms of all stripes are crossing lines, pitching in areas they’ve never seen before. This means you need to step up your new business activities substantially. It’s not good news but it’s true news.

Growing your agency used to be simple, “do good work and be recognized for it.” Those used to be words to live by. Words you may have used to found your advertising business. What has changed. Why does “doing good work” no longer seem to be enough to attract new business?

For most agencies a whole new way of looking at new business is needed. How well does your firm do in new business and understand the underlying issues? Take our quiz to find out.

New Business Quiz:

Rate your self on each of these 10 categories with a score of 1-10 with 10 being “world class.”

[  ] Know the Difference Between New Business and Advertising. The biggest mistake marketing communication firms make is confusing new business with the skills they need to do good marketing communications. There’s a big difference and the lack of understanding here is the reasons so many firms have trouble with growth.

[  ] Develop A Good Brand. It starts with your name and what you say about yourself. Is it in step with where the market is going? Is it properly positioned so it offers real benefits that are easily differentiated from your competition? And finally, is it compelling to prospects? Nothing hurts a strong new business effort faster than a weak brand.

[  ] Invest in Solid Marketing Materials. Including a solid website that loads fast and isn’t cluttered with moving parts. Back this up with an effective send-me-something brochure that brands the firm properly. Have effective outreach tools on hand to open doors. Develop a list of good prospects and make sure it’s current.

[  ] Build A Strong Outreach Program. This usually means agency staff members focused on outreach full time. We call that winning the first opportunity which means creating a steady stream of invitations for first visits from high-quality prospects. You should target about 80-90 visits per year. With these in hand, you can walk away from RFPs, cattle calls, and agency clusters where competition is strong and your marketing ROI is low.

[  ] Know How to Achieve Great First Visits. A good first visit is where your team avoids presenting capabilities but focuses on building trust so prospects will discuss their business needs openly and honestly. It’s a learned skill set called Torch®. And it successfully moves the prospect toward a closing process.

[  ] Have the Skills to Win with Chemistry. Your likeability, which you can control with prospect profiling, is your biggest asset or your greatest hurdle. Does your team know how to use chemistry as a major competitive advantage? Or do you mistakenly just hope good chemistry happens?

[  ] Know How to Fast-Close. If you have a good first visit, then you are prepared to move for a fast close, either in 48 hours or 7-days. The alternative, often followed by most of the industry who don’t understand the fast close process, is to wait after a first visit because nothing substantial has been set up. This forces clients to move into a formal search where competition is high. And you get to present in competition with many other firms. Why let that happen after you win a good first visit?

[  ] You’re Set Up for a Tour. It’s called walking the talk and it’s built around keeping your firm propped and ready for a first visit by good prospects. Most prospects are being put on notice about the importance of visiting your communication firm before hiring them. Why not get ready for that with everything in place, properly set up to show off your capabilities in a best light?

[  ] You Can Win the Big One. Most any firm can win formal presentations month in and month out. It’s a learned process and it begins by targeting to win one out of three and then moving to win one out of two as your skills build. At this rate, new business presentations aren’t an expense but an investment in your future.

[  ] You Can Win at the End Game. This means you know how to tantalize with contract incentives. And how to keep your key players who “won” the business out of trying to get the contract approved. You should delegate that chore to a financial type who has been hard trained in best negotiation techniques, just like the clients sitting across the table.



Analysis. Rate your self on each of these 10 categories above with a score of 1-10 on each category with 10 being best. Total your scores. Anything lower than 75 points is failing just like in school. But growing your firm isn’t a game you want to flunk. Or even get a D in.

Sanders Consulting Group has over many learning programs designed to help train marketing communication firms in all of these new business areas. And we do more new business consulting on specific agency shoot-outs and new business assignments than any other firm around.


Photo by *behherit