Our May New Business Clinic gathers agencies leaders and new business teams together in Soho to share the challenges they are facing and come together in pursuit of solutions, in a session led by new business expert Rob King (The Client Key).

Following a roundtable introduction, the group begin the session by sharing some of the key challenges that are holding business back. These included cutting through the noise, how to present yourself when adjusting/ expanding your offering, the ‘pitch and ghost’ and how much harder it is to speaker to people over the phone or even face to face in a world where it is no longer standard to have mobile numbers at the end of emails. The group discuss how to find balance across a number of issues: how much to give away before a client is on board, and how to make noise without making an annoying amount of noise.

“There is general perception from the group and more widely, that clients have more power than ever before,” observes Rob. So how can you reach them?

“It’s about personal relationships,” says Rob. He advocates for being politely persistent, and says that it takes between 7-11 touchpoints to get through to someone, whether that’s a consumer or a client. With so many channels of communication, it’s important to consider what the right communication channel is for each client, and what content is going to facilitate that communication. It’s also important to think about the sort of communication and content that different personality types are going to respond to. He recommends reaching out to people with good creative content rather than just a sales pitch, and inviting clients to a workshop or breakfast event so they can see what you do. “Give the client a reason to spend time with you.” That does mean offering some value, whilst being sure not to give all of it away.

Client behaviour has changed, especially since the pandemic, so Rob recommends acknowledging this and adapting to these changes. “Get comfortable with silence,” he says. “It’s the new normal.” Don’t be afraid to follow up several times (with gaps in between) but make sure you’re offering the client reasons to engage. Use these touchpoints to tell a story about your business, and make sure everyone in your agency can tell this story too. “The worst thing you can do when you pitch to someone is confuse them,” says Rob.

Once you’re through the door, it’s important to make the most of it. Rob recommends trying to stay in control of the process by regularly diarising time to move the conversation forwards. Once you’ve won that first pitch it’s vital to make sure you get the right people on that shoot or event so that the shoot or event can be a space to build deeper relationships, rather than an endgame.

Winning new business and building relationships takes time, but the results can lead to fruitful relationships and exciting projects. Thank you so much to Rob for leading such an insightful clinic, and to everyone who attended for their contributions and attention.

Find out more about The Client Key, and how Rob King can help you win new business, here.

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