Prospecting in ad agency new business – through networking

Hello there, sports fans!

Let’s face it. Prospecting and lead generation for ad agency new business is not on many people’s lists of favorite things to do. I get it. You’re not a salesperson. You, after all, bill by the hour. This is a professional service.

So, why not redefine prospecting. Call it networking.

For some thoughts on what this can mean, I refer to you one of the very best books I have read about networking. Ford Harding’s book, “Rainmaking, Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field” has me from the title alone. It screams professional service. Buy this book. It’s a good read. Here’s just one of the reasons why. Chapter Eight lists seventeen rules for networking:

  1. Networking is helping people.
  2. You must learn to recognize a lead for someone else when you hear it.
  3. Networking is sincere effort rather than keep score.
  4. Networking is a sense of urgency and obligation.
  5. Show how your services can add value to a contact’s business.
  6. Networking is showing gratitude.
  7. Networking is maintaining trust.
  8. Networking sometimes means selling other people’s services.
  9. Networking is keeping good data on the people you meet.
  10. Networking is meeting new people.
  11. Networking is following people from account to account.
  12. Networking is time consuming.
  13. You must be selective about who you network with.
  14. Networking is helping other people learn to network.
  15. Networking is figuring out who knows whom.
  16. Networks age.
  17. Motivation is the most crucial ingredient in effective networking.

Yours truly has as many stories around elements to Ford’s thinking as there are rules. And yes, some of these are little head nods. The real magic comes when you put time and energy into building and activating your network. When you think that the leading source for making the agency phone ring is a referral or recommendation…it’s worth understanding how to think about improving your ability to network. This will increase the number of pitches your agency earns. And, not coincidentally, an important element in building a relationship-based new business plan.

And, best of all, it’s an alternative to “selling” the agency.

Should you have any thoughts or observations around this thinking, feel free to share them. You should also check out Ford’s blog and his firm, Harding & Company.