Why I Hate Conducting Agency Reviews.


Agency reviews are my perfect straddle

I can blend both sides.

In the end I have to tell every  agency except one this is the end.

I don’t want the review to end

I have smelled the scents of the chase

Everyone likes the action

In the end I have to pick up the phone.

I have procrastinated about it way too long today but I can’t pull the trigger.

I don’t want to make the call.

I have worked their hours many times. . I was in their place.
I had to pick up the phone and explain to everyone who wanted to know.

I feel both sides.

The new  agency world  is a tough game.

I am always proud that my agency brothers and sisters made it a tough call.

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Watch: How Agencies Can Get More New Business

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How To Rise Above Your Competition


I recently wrote this article for The UPS Store Small Business Solutions.

In today’s small business environment there is intense competition. It’s a crowded world out there. That is nothing new to the readers of The UPS Small Business Solutions blogs.

But one major change has taken place in the last few years in the new business sales cycle.  Today you can be virtually certain that before a prospect engages with you they will Google you.  Yes your Google presence is your step to growing your business.

In the New Normal you must rise above the crowd or your competitors.  Your Google presence is more important than your elevator speech because your chances of getting on an elevator with the key decision maker are very small.  Your business rises above the crowd through your dominance on search engines.

And what would prospects see today if they Google you? Is your Google presence telling your prospects how smart you are?  How you are engaged in new marketing practices like social media? I would surmise that a Google search would list your website and then probably a hodge podge of listings.  Often a number of business directory listings which only tell people where you are located which isn’t a particularly compelling way to motivate prospects to want to do business with you.

Today it is imperative to own all the listings on the first page with your thought leadership.  Your thought leadership should be based on the things that you do that make your better than your competition.  Think more about the customer’s benefits of engaging with you rather than generic benefits of service and price.  How will working with you makes their lives easier and drive their sales?

So how to you build a strong Google presence.  Well it is a combination of traditional and new media and ongoing updates because Google likes change and activity and engagement.

For me the foundation of a strong organic search presence on Google starts with an electronically optimized press release distributed through a wire service like Business Wire or Marketwire.  Oh sure there are free wire services but they don’t create the same buzz.  You get what you pay for is something that hasn’t gone away in the New Normal.

The next step is to productize your knowledge.  Most small businesses know a lot of things.  In the New Normal you need to turn that knowledge into something you can sell and write about.  In other words content marketing.  Converting what you do into blog posts will help your SEO.  Blogging shouldn’t be perceived as a burden.  It is simply writing down what you around know and getting credit for it on Google.

I am sure that there are many blog posts The UPS Small Business Solutions blog on the advantages of having a strong social media presence for you and your company.  A key benefit of social media campaigns is that it improves your SEO.  Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter among the many others offer you a place to repurpose your content and dominate that first page on Google. Your participation positions you as a company that know how to market itself in the New Normal.  If you are current in that fashion it also conveys that you are current on the most up to date trends in your industry.

Another easy way to repurpose your thought leadership if by leveraging LinkedIn. You can belong to fifty groups on LinkedIn.  These groups should be a combination of peer groups and prospect groups.  I always tell clients go where you want to be.  In other worlds participate in the groups that you want to influence.  Here is an example.  I am Canadian and want to speak on networking and business development more in Canada.  A year ago I made 10% of my LinkedIn groups into Canadian groups.  Today about a year later, 15% or more of my readers are from Canada.  How did that happen?  Well I repurpose my blog on those group discussion pages. That’s an efficient way to tell people about what you do in a way that makes your appear to know your core competencies.

In the New Normal it’s not what you say about your business, it’s what your Google presence says about you.

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:


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How’s The Year Going So Far?


So how are things going so far as we enter year five of the New Normal? Having a jolly old time?   The New Normal was created when the world melted in the fall of 2008.  Lehman Brothers went away.   Remember those days? I am sure that the 2.8 million people that lost their jobs that year do. Some may still be looking for the job that they lost. They may be working but they don’t have the job that went away never to return.

Are things getting better? Are you loving things at work?  Doing less with more?  Looking over your shoulder from time to time? Get a little nervous if your boss calls you into their office?  How do you like your recent yearly salary increases? Did you get one?

How’s the job search going?  Is it easier or harder? Do you often feel it’s all in vein? Do you think that everyone thinks that you are too old?  Don’t have enough experience?  Have been on the beach too long? Do you think that the people interviewing you are smarter than you?

How are your New Business efforts going?  Is New Business even harder or are leads coming in and your task is to separate fact from fiction?  Do you feel you even need more leads today? Does New Business take more time and are the budgets smaller?  Do you have to provide more for less?

How’s your networking going or is it the same? Do you view networking as an intention or a mission?  Do you connect with people that energize and are totally aligned with you? Are you just networking with people just like you?

Are you living large?  I network with a lot of people. I talk to 20 year old people and have drinks with the people who run multinational agencies. They all share their stories.  I shake the hand of my UPS driver at Starbucks while he sits with Fed Ex Driver and a couple of other guys talking music.  I talk to sales people at the same time that feel they are out of touch for today’s game.

I have lunch with marketing people who wouldn’t have met me in the past but now that their company is changing I appear more valuable because I am a networker with a large network. I am happy to help. Will they?

I text with the President of a prominent local company while I am going for a run.  Presidents are optimistic enough to relax a bit these days.  But bit is a short word.

I meet with marketing people that are looking for their next gig.

I meet with people who are waiting for checks. Are your clients slower to pay?  I can relate to that being a solopreneur in the New Normal.  Balancing the regular pattern of bills versus the irregular flow of checks.

I hear from people who have been downsized seven times. They called themselves a survivor and I certainly do agree.  There are many worst alternatives.

I hear from people who tell me how tough things remain.

I hear from people who tell me how things are good.

2013 is the 5th year of the New Normal.  This is the future and Leonard Cohen wrote a song about it in the Old Normal. The lyric said, “I have seen the future and it is murder”.  But then again this is the New Normal after all.

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:


Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch a video by Hank on Don’t Let Your Business Cards Weaken Your Personal Brand.

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