Buenos Dias, agency new business professional. A friend of mine was once the CMO of a large retailer any agency would want on its roster. My relationship goes back with him nearly twenty years. He’s a great guy. Smart, too. And we have enjoyed a mutually beneficial connection. From my perspective, there are at least three business benefits of the relationship. Consider them reasons why building relationships should be a key focus in your agency’s new business efforts.
Number one with a bullet. If you and your agency leverage more relationships with people outside your shop, you will pitch more. This is referral business: more than likely, your biggest category of new business leads. By the way, don’t be thinking this just means relationships with Chief Marketing Officers. Referrals come from many places!
When my friend’s brand was going into review, he gave me a call. It was en excellent fit for my agency. We pitched and won. It was in my friend’s best interests to have the agency pitch the business. He knew he would get the agency’s best people and thinking.
Relationships can also provide you with valuable information in new business prospecting and pitching. Tasty little morsels that can make the difference between a losing and winning pitch.
Another agency once pitched my friend’s business, but they did not have a relationship with him before pitching it. Instead, they purchased research from what amounted to be a private detective. The agency tried to learn everything they could about my friend, including the idea he was a huge NASCAR fan. So, they worked NASCAR content into the pitch. And every time they mentioned, “NASCAR,” they looked directly at my friend, the Chief Marketing Officer. The problem? My buddy knew nothing about NASCAR!
It is debatable if this is as valuable as the first two benefits. It could be a subset. Yet it’s still relevant. Some pitches limit the amount of contact you can have with the decision-making team. This is particularly common in search consultant or procurement-led pitches. In these cases, your connection can be a portal. And in prospecting, a relationship can mean your phone call is returned or your email opened.
With my CMO friend, I had his ear. It helped!
Anywho, hope these few hundred have helped inspire you to build more relationships with folks outside your agency. Should you have any stories you wish to share about how relationships have helped your agency, feel free to share. Thanks.
And happy relationship building!