Winning new business is as easy as pie

Yeah, right. And if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a bicycle.

New business is never born from doing nothing. You have to work at it whichever direction it comes from. If it’s a referral, it’s because you worked your tail off for another client who feels so pleased, they just had to share your talents.

If it’s genuinely new, new business, it’s from a contact you’ve been speaking to for weeks, sometimes even months.

And therein lies the rub. You want to grow your agency by bringing in new business but you know that new business momentum doesn’t happen overnight. It needs an initial investment in time and effort and it’s something we all have to do to stay in the game.

So how long do you wait for that momentum to build up and how do you generate it?

The three pillars of new business generation

What’s past is prologue

Your first choice is recommendation. Business won on the back of previous business is its own reward and it is always my preference. Nothing gives you a better feeling than those words, “[insert name] recommended you and we were interested…”

But there are two down sides to this: If you ONLY rely on referrals, you are in danger of ending up in your own echo chamber whereby a small group of like-minded clients might think you’re the berries but outside of that clique, there’s crickets.

Secondly, you aren’t flexing your muscles in new areas. You’re not drawing on new experiences and taking on new sector challenges. That doesn’t mean you can’t specialise but it’s always good to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Plough thy own furrow

The second choice for winning new business is you. Plain and simple. You, a spreadsheet, a pen (a BIC will do), a notepad and a phone. It’s an investment you will find very rewarding. Making your own new business is like building your own house. You get the bragging rights and you know every inch, every nail, every screw that got you there.

But it is time-consuming. You need to carve out a good hour or two every day to research, generate, chase and close new business. But never fear, experts are here!

Gonna get myself connected

In my 30 year career in agency new business, I have seen the industry grow into a fully fledged discipline. Where once new business was the provenance of one or two major players, we have a veritable smorgasbord of options, from highly rated one or two-person dedicated experts, to huge multi-million pound hot shops, teeming with innovation and bristling with expertise. It very much depends on what you need and how you like to operate your new business programme but if you’re just getting to grips with the whole idea of new business, I recommend having a chat with a selection of each size and style.

Don’t be tempted by carnival barkers who promise you the moon on a stick in seven days. It doesn’t happen. You need to bed in together, try a few dry runs, sample some approaches and campaigns, make the chemistry and then put the pedal to the metal

The last two options have one thing in common: The Advertist. Since 2007, we have worked with most of the new business industry’s new business experts. I mean REAL experts. Consultants and consultancies that specialise in the pursuit and retention of new business for their clients. They don’t work in the industry for awards or prestige, they work in the industry for recommendations. All of our clients have a list of referrals that show how good they are and if they’re too busy to help you, they will recommend another like-minded agency.

So whether you’re considering a DIY approach, an in-house department push or an out-sourced new business agency – use The Advertist to guarantee peace of mind.

Finally there is a fourth option open to everyone considering new business growth for their agency: it’s called sitting on your arse and hoping the phone will ring.

That’s one route I don’t recommend.