Advertising Agency Sales Meeting Insanity

Yikes: Sales Meeting Insanity

This is a shoutout to RSW/US’s Lee McNight and his mind-blowingly sad video about advertising agency sales: 3 Takeaways Ep16 – 3 Reasons Why Initial Agency New Business Meetings Go Nowhere

I watched this video on my mobile phone in the dark at 6 AM in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico while I waited in a long line to fill up my gas tank (we are experiencing a fuel shortage due to an anti-corruption effort by Mexico’s new President.)

I thought that the fuel shortage and associated stress was a bummer until I watched Lee’s video. Bummer might not be the right word for how some agencies run their business development program. Insanity is a better descriptor.

Other than Lee’s points about how some agencies do not know how to run a sales meeting, I am most perplexed that an agency that does any one of these three points is still in business. As an ex-major league agency business development director and growth-obsessed agency owner, I cannot believe that by the time an agency leader is invited to a sales meeting that she or he has not prepared for the meeting. At this point, I suggest that you buy my book: “The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches.”  250 pages on how to win new business.

Back to Lee.

The 3 Reasons Why Initial Agency New Business Meetings Go Nowhere…

“You didn’t do your homework.”

WHAT? You have been invited to a meeting with a prospect, I’ll assume that you want and know why you want this company as a client, but you have not done your homework on their business, goals, competitors, marketing history, pain-points and the personalities of the people you are meeting with?

Lee mentions an excuse: you are busy. Did I hear you might be too busy to prepare for a sales call? WHAT? How could an advertising agency exec not have done homework on a client ahead of a meeting? It’s my assumption that you somehow scheduled the meeting so it is not a surprise visit.

“You didn’t come in with a plan.”

Another head-scratcher. Meetings are like mini-plays. There is a first, second and third act. You have to know how you will eventually get to a closed sale before you walk in. Of course, you need to be flexible and agile based on what you hear (ask lots of smart questions that leverage your homework, but, have a plan). By the way, I’ll admit that I have been an idiot. Here is my well-read blog post: “The Worst Advertising Pitch – Ever.”

“You bring too many people to the first meeting.”

There is nothing that turns a future client on like being outnumbered in a sales or pitch meeting. In most cases, they are sitting there wondering just how efficient you are (not). How expensive you are (lots). How disorganized you are. Please, not more than two people – unless the client and her goals merit it. An example, the client has a specific specialized need like wanting to discuss mobile advertising. Therefore,  it might make sense to bring your mobile geniuses along.

Want More Sales Mistakes?

Here is a poster about advertising agency pitch mistakes from my book’s cartoons.


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