If you have every wondered what it’s like at the sharp end of new business development for a successful agency, then look no further than The Advertist’s Q10 series. This time, grab a coffee or hot beverage of your choosing and sit back while Mr Mike Friend of Honchō takes his turn in the spotlight to give us an alternative take on how to keep the new business wheels turning, while possessing one of the cheeriest and most positive dispositions in the industry.

Take it away Mike..

What inspires you to go to work every day?

Discovery. You never know what you are going to find out there. I love walking into a business for the first time and exploring their world. I love finding out the little pieces of the puzzle, the depth of the problem and then sitting with my team looking at this maze to find the solution. It reminds me of The Wire! Ha. McNaulty and the team thinking, how are we going to crack this?

What has been the most pleasant surprise you found once you started working at Honchō?

Coming in from a large London agency, it’s been awesome to be part of a smaller team of 25 who are able to move and adapt with much more agility. Zero red-tape.

How does your ideal day at work go?

I’m not one of those “I’m up at 6am, gym, seize the day types I see on LinkedIn”. In fact I would say my routine was a lot more focused on knowing myself, knowing when I am on a hot streak and then trying to maximise it. I am lucky that my agency, Honchō, embraces flexible working to free me up to do this. For example, Monday morning before 10am I am complete rubbish, but Friday afternoon or Sunday night I often feel the most productive. I believe this has been the biggest change in the world’s working habits, and for those of us in Business development, we have to adapt to this. Customers want to look at your solutions in a time that suits them, rather than to ‘book a call at this time.’

What channels do you really love working in and why?

I am heading up our Automotive division for Honchō and I love it, the rate of change and the new technology for the future completely blows me away. The prospect of autonomous fleets and solar especially, future cities, the list goes on.

If you had one piece of advice to give someone thinking of getting into the world of new business, what would it be?

You have to actually like, or better love sales and want to be in it. A lot of people fall into it, hate it and don’t succeed and that’s because they never had the love for it. Don’t put up with a sales career, instead go do something you care about. As Jim Carey said, “it’s better to fail doing something you actually do love, rather than failing at something you never cared about.”

What do you do to switch off from work?

I play basketball twice a week in two different teams in the North west, and I adore the game. I completely switch off from anything: no thoughts, just movement. Its meditation for me.

Who inspires you?

Greta and all the young people protesting about Climate Breakdown; they are fighting for the future of our planet. When I was that young, we were fighting for someone with an ID to buy us some cider.

You’ve got to take a brand new prospect to lunch anywhere in the UK. Where would you go and why?

Love this question and a big part of me wants to say Nandos, ha. But, no maybe a tandem skydive, followed by a few beers. Forget the food. Let’s do something that makes us feel alive.

What has been your proudest moment so far working at Honchō?

Our rebrand to Honchō. It takes massive guts to rip up a very successful agency brand in iThinkMedia after 10 years of trading and start again. That’s what Chris Ailey, our owner did.

Where do you want to be in ten years time?

Retired, having built a legacy business division of Honchō Automotive.

If you would like to be the subject of an intense grilling of these proportions and you think you can stand up to the scrutiny, then please let us know by emailing us and submitting your details. We’ll be in touch soon.

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