Why Agencies Don’t Want New Business Part 2


I have conducted the Jenny Craig, Villeroy & Boch, and Raley’s Supermarkets agency reviews.

When I am hired to do a review the pressure is on me as the consultant to develop the initial  long list of suitable agencies.  The client obviously has a problem and time is of the essence.  I also demonstrate my capabilities by making things happen in a timely way. I need easy connectivity with agencies which often does not happen.

I have written in the past that Agencies do not make it easy to connect. Their contact info on their site is often info@ or contact@ or they want you to fill out a form with your budget and when you want to start.  Very silly.

If I send out 10 RFP’s to agencies you would be surprised how many I don’t even hear from. I usually have to chase down over 50% of the agencies that I have contacted. That is because they don’t read those e mails.

And it is not any easier when I call them.  Many agencies have substituted receptionists with automatic voice mail systems.  I am often making calls in my car in a no hands cell phone state so I need easy access.  On many occasions when I key in the last four letters of the person’s last name the message comes back.  “No such person.” No joke.

I love the phone menus that name a specific person and an extension.  For John Smith dial 1.  Simplicity is best and leads to connection which leads to getting more new business. I am on a tight timeline and need to find suitable candidates quickly and you are making it hard for me so I will move on. There are lots of options out there.  How can you win new business if I can’t even invite you to the party?  You also have to remember that 80% of clients do their own reviews and they won’t try as hard as I will to connect with you.

Beware of the gatekeeper if you have somebody that answers your phones. Are they an ambassador or disaster?  When I was conducting the Jenny Craig review I phoned a prominent agency and asked the gatekeeper for their new business person by name.  She said that he wasn’t in.  I said that I was an agency review consultant and wanted to leave my name and number.  She told me that he doesn’t return calls.  True.  Since I lived in the agency world I always try to contact multiple contacts from the agency that I think can help navigate me into their organizations.  A few hours later one of the principals called me while on vacation and told me they would be thrilled to participate.  So who is manning your phones today and what are they saying.  Are they the newest and lowest compensated employee at your agency?  Do they know what an agency review or search consultant is?  Do they know who to connect them to at the agency?  Have you sat down with them and educated them about the importance of new business?

To win new business you have to be easy to connect with.  Simple thoughts but painful experiences.


5 thoughts on “Why Agencies Don’t Want New Business Part 2

  1. Interesting observations, for sure, on trying to contact agencies about new business. As an agency person I have experienced the same type of response in trying to contact agency review consultants with the standard response being “Please be sure you have a listing on our online database, xxxxx.com. Include your size and clients. That is our resource when we are putting the long list together for a review.” Needless to say I have already registered and sent updates, so that response does nothing to get me closer to actually speaking to a person running the review.
    I would love to hear your advice on the best way for an agency to get put on the active consideration list by search consultants.

    • hankblank

      Yes many consultants have flawed systems and really don’t know the lay of the land. That is why I pride myself on having recommendations on my Linkedin profile from agencies that didn’t win but felt that my process was fair and didn’t mistreat them. Maybe you shouldn’t chase search consultants. I have written a post about that as well. Take care. Hank

  2. Hank,

    Well, the good news is that you already know who I am when you want to discuss the needs of some future client in review.

    To your points, though, on our site we make the agency leaders visible, the phone number and other contact information visible and have a live receptionist. Okay, we do have the “info@” address but it goes to three people so I don’t think we will miss anything. I guarantee you will not have to chase me down.

    So, for reference, we updated the “work” section on the website. I encourage you to check it out and if you want to talk….


  3. Hank,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I’ve moved from the IT industry to the internet industry and more recently into the media industry and have experienced similar surprising company behavior.

    Like you, I’m amazed at how difficult some companies make it to do business with them. Every company needs a person or department that handles “new”. New client prospects, new suppliers/vendors, new media partners for placement, etc…. The front line staff should know exactly how to smoothly hand off these inquiries.

    Thanks again,


  4. Hank,
    Our agency is focused on simplifying the complex sale, and one of our core tenants is to make it easy for your customers to do business with you.

    We’ve answered our phones live for 21 years. While we have a carefully monitored contact us form on http://www.fullhouseinteractive.com to avoid spam I’m also happy to put my name out there front and center (well actually top right) as the primary contact for inbound new business.

    We are one of 58K+ agencies in the US alone. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for our clients and prospects to work with us. Simplicity goes a long way.

    The next time you’re looking for a differentiated agency with a digital heart give me a call. I’ll take it or call you back ASAP – I promise!


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