Want More New Business? Turn It Down.


Chasing New Business is an interesting game. I know because I have played it a lot. From both the agency side and the agency review side.

I learn a lot from walking down both sides of the street.

Some agencies chase every shadow. “We’d be perfect for (name the client)“, they always say.

Some agencies say they don’t respond to RFP’s and only work with clients who seek them out or through referrals. Nice place to be.

Some agencies never respond to my outreach when I am looking for agencies as a search consultant. Surprising but very true on the majority of reviews I have completed.

I was doing an agency discovery the other day trying to find an agency for a client assignment. I was just connecting some dots. There is so much change in marketing that keeping up on what’s out there can get harder and harder.

I got a couple of very smart responses. One said, “Hank, thanks for thinking of us. We are so crunched on current and recently acquired clients that we have to focus there.” Wise man.

I heard from another agency saying they are not going to be submitting because they are “very selective in the RFP’s they participate in because in their experience they rarely win UNLESS they have a relationship with the client in place already. In addition, our outreach focus is on AOR clients vs. project-based.” Smart lady.

The New Business penny drops when there is an alignment of client pain and a relationship in place that will get you to the dance. You need both to align. Just like the stars.

I got another e-mail from another agency thanking me for an interest in possibly working for them.

They turned me down as well saying they were currently booked out for the next three months and cannot take on more work at this time. Another smart person.

Funny in a way agencies that don’t want to work with me make me want to pursue them more and stay in touch.

As you can imagine I have connected with many agencies over the years. When I ask them what’s the number one way they get New Business they always answer referrals from current clients and former clients that want to work with them when they find new jobs. They say this all over the world.

Yes the best way to get New Business is to grow your current clients. Not as exciting as the adrenaline rush of New Business. Most good hunters love the pursuit of chasing strangers and the win rather than doing the daily agency grind. That’s the high but not always where the money is.

In the end, one in the hand is still better than two in the bush often in life and always in New Business.

Connect with Hank on LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook:


Read: Are Marketers Still Stewarts of the Brand.

What’s Wrong with Client Agency Relationships?


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