Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Courting Clients - Cupid's Pointers for Wooing Prospects

Valentine's Day is a fine occasion to pass along a few tips for how agencies can become more attractive to prospects. To spark a mutually beneficial business love fest, agencies need to be accessible, knowledgeable, attentive and devoted to following up. Here are four ways to win marketers' hearts, minds and yes, wallets.

1) Be Easy to Reach

Playing hard to get is considered de rigueur in some circles. But some agencies make themselves almost impossible to connect with. Ask agency search consultants what drives them nuts and they will tell you it's filling out a form on an agency website to get information. If you really want to get hired, use a real person's name and email address and respond quickly to any and all inquiries. And list your agency's phone number in a prominent spot on your website, right alongside your credentials and case studies.

2) Research

If you've handled an account in the same business category as your client prospect, be prepared to share as much of your knowledge and success as client confidentiality allows. If you're pitching in a new category, syndicated research can bring you up to speed quickly. Be sure to check out the client's website, latest press release and any materials you can get your hands on, so you'll be empowered for a productive conversation.

3) Listen

Okay, you've got lots to talk about and show off, as many suitors do. But listen to the prospective client first. Be patient. You can't explain how your agency is their best fit if you do not understand what they are seeking to accomplish in the marketplace. Ask about previous agencies they worked with (not specific names) and have the client explain why those relationships went wrong. This will give you even more ammunition to pitch to their sweet spots. And never badmouth ex-clients. Take the high road. It's not crowded up there.

4) Leave Behind, Follow Up

Always go to pitches bearing leave-behinds: Not flowers and candy but a PowerPoint presentation, a brochure, case studies, whatever. Call and send written thank-you notes the day after to supplement the follow-up email thank-you messages. In this digital age, hand-written communications carry extra psychic weight. Above all, if you say you will deliver a proposal within 36 hours, deliver it in less than 36 hours. Show your desire. This is a courtship, after all!

If your pitch process is not wowing prospects or winning the business, don't lose heart. I can give your pitch a makeover that will position your agency as a real catch and a keeper, so client prospects will be chasing you. Just ask...

Happy Valentine's Day!

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