One important thing to remember as you begin your agency’s prospecting effort is that prospects don’t care about your agency. I know that sounds harsh (and it often goes over like a lead balloon when I remind my agency clients), but it’s the truth. Prospective clients are worried about one thing, and one thing only, their problems. “How am I going to help my company make its quarter? How am I going to make sure customer service delivers the experience we’re talking about in our advertising? How am I going to make sure my local markets stay on brand? How am I going to get smarter about media attribution? How am I going to differentiate our new product in a crowded category? How am I going to ensure that my social strategy aligns to my brand campaign and my CRM initiative?” These questions vary by what the person is hired for, of course, but you can bet that “I wonder what Agency X is up to right now!” is not one of them. As we’ve covered in previous blog posts, the first way to ensure you’re saying something relevant to a prospect is to think about what you do in terms of problem/solution (not capabilities). The second way is to package this information into an offer your prospect can’t refuse. How? In your outreach, highlight a problem one of your clients experienced (make sure it’s a problem your prospect is also likely experiencing) and offer to share your knowledge with him about how your client solved this problem. That’s right – how your client solved the problem – not your agency. Prospects brake for knowledge, particularly when it appears to be coming from their peers (other CMOs, not your agency - sorry). The fact that it was through your agency’s brilliant strategy isn’t important at this point (and it’s implied anyway). Regardless of how much you saved the day, your client should always be positioned as the hero, not the agency. This is true if you’re sharing a case study on a cold call or in a final pitch. It’s like that hot guy in school who downplayed his looks and gave his mom all the credit. Didn’t you find him way more attractive than the other hot guy who talked about himself all the time? The ad industry is a mature market. We all have the same capabilities, more or less. And if we don’t, we say we do. You won’t differentiate on your capabilities, but you will differentiate on the problems you solve - and on your delivery - if you remember it’s not about you.

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