10 Step Checklist To Build an Agency New Business Strategy
This is an overview specific to building a new team dedicated to the agency new business strategy.
Steps to Building a Successful Agency New Business Strategy:
#1 – Hire for Mindset – First and foremost you want to bring on Business Development reps who are extremely optimistic. This might sound obvious but it’s so important I’d prioritize it way over education and in some cases even over experience.
You’re building a team for the long haul anyway right? You should be able to easily train these eager people with the necessary skills. It will be a lot harder to shift their mindset from lack of customers, prospects, features, leads etc. to unlimited opportunity.
#2 – Breed the Right Attitude – Do everything you can to find “How can I help?” people.
With every client interaction your team should constantly be asking themselves this question. Firstly clients will be excited to work with your company. Employees will build lasting relationships with your customers and the referrals will start to pour in.
#3 – Make it About Them – Employees > Customers > Profit – Everyone has their own way of prioritizing this list but if your primary goal is to make your employees look good they’re going to be way more inclined to make your customers feel good.
In the case of new business teams, looking good can mean getting them to the events your clients attend. It can mean getting them industry related experience and training. It could mean giving them a budget to surprise your prospects and clients with meaningful gifts. Or maybe even the requirement to meet clients in person once a quarter.
#4 – Practice What You Preach – My favourite boss of all time was a Golf Pro at a private club in Edmonton. He made us clean the bathrooms. Even as back-shop kids a job that didn’t really fall under our umbrella. But out of principal he showed us the expectation and made us understand that nothing was beneath him.
For example; if your expectation is that employees put customers needs above their own, the same sentiment needs to be reflected in your actions.
#5 – Arm Them With Real Value – I heard a perfect analogy the other day of salespeople needing to leverage ‘XP points’ and it’s so true. If the person is new help them leverage XP points the company has earned. Meaning, what has the company learnt in their experience dealing with similar customers? Have you been able to collect data that gives you insights to things they might not be aware of?
As your business development reps spend time at the company encourage them to build their own XP points. In #3 we talked about industry related experience but XP points in anything can be valuable. The goal isn’t to trap your new team members into an identity of your business, it’s to help them build their own and hopefully with that knowledge and experience they can bring more value to your customers.The goal isn't to trap your new team members into an identity of your business, it's to help them build their own… Click To Tweet Not to mention if your prospects are seeing your employees constantly crushing their personal goals that positivity and success will just be another reason they want to work with you over your competitor.
#6 – Give People A Reason To Be Excited – If you’ve been able to follow the steps so far hopefully the team has alignment between their work/personal lives and they already have a lot of reasons to be excited. Now you want to give them a reason to get your customers excited.
What are the big challenges the team is taking on? Where is your company headed in 3-5 years? The ability to paint a picture is so important because otherwise people will have to make it up on the spot when asked by prospects. Remember that humans ultimately make decisions based on emotion, not logic.
#7 – Participate – This will separate you from everyone. It’s extremely hard to hire for people that not only fit the skill set you’re looking for but are also passionate/involved in your industry. Nonetheless that should be the goal.
Even if the team hasn’t been active in the community in the past this is your opportunity. Go where your customers go, eat what they eat, vacation where they vacation. If you’re serious about building a long term advantage on the competition how many other companies do you think are willing to go to this length? Best case scenario is you and your employees actually care about your customers. You just happen to participate in that community anyway.
#8 – Reward Effort > Results – A few years ago I was a big advocate for a results first mentality. It turns out that breeds a culture of elitism and ego. Yes, results are important but like Gary Vaynerchuk says “effort is grossly underrated”.
#9 – Be Proactive – One of my favourite sayings is:
“Don’t tell me what you’re going to do, show me what you’ve done.”
.This applies to everything; hiring, on-boarding new employees, communicating with customers. But it becomes especially important when your business development team is reaching out to new prospects. It might slow things down in the beginning because this type of mentality means that you’re doing real research into the people you’re contacting. But If you have a long term mindset this is the only way to operate.
Executives are more desensitized than ever to even the best worded cold outreach. But if your team is putting all these steps to work including reaching out with context to some type of event. AND using this mentality of showing people what they’ve already done. I can almost guarantee your results will be more than twice as good as any outbound campaign you’ve tried before.
#10 – Be Constantly Improving – Lastly, it can help to reiterate and reinforce these ideas from other voices. If you believe in the majority of the points in this list I would make these titles mandatory reading for your team. The Boron Letters, Go Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone