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Workshops: Better or Worse Than a Paid Pitch?

It's been common for a long time for agencies to kick off a new client engagement with a workshop of some form. Sometime in the last two years, however, clients started to suggest to agencies that instead of pitching for free they would pay them to workshop some ideas. It sounds good on the surface, but is it better than pitching?

Starting…Existing…Thriving

Blair interviews David on what each of the three levels of success in running a creative firm looks like.

Rising From The Ashes: A New Agency Model

As someone who is perhaps a little too fond of a grand statement, I’m tempted to borrow from Landau and shout that I have seen the marketing agency model of the future and its name is Communo. Like Landau, however, I have a bias. (Landau went on to become Springsteen’s manager shortly after writing those words.) I’m an advisor to Communo and have a financial interest in their success.

Replacing Presentations With Conversations

David re-reads the 2nd chapter of Blair’s first book, leading to a discussion about how sales people have to choose between either presenting to clients or being present to them.

The Great Convergence is Upon Us

One of the clearest trends in professional firms today is the convergence of the disciplines of design, business consulting and software engineering on the same client business challenges. This Great Convergence is pitting firms of radically different types against each other in the battle to best serve the client, and it’s creating new types of…

Reviewing the “Surveillance Footage”

There are seven patterns that almost all principals are guilty of. When David and Blair point them out, it lead their clients to say, “you must have hidden cameras in my office!"

Hacking Heuristics

Blair leads a discussion on how clients tend to take mental shortcuts in making business decisions, and how we can nudge clients without manipulating them to make a decision that is in their best interest.

Collaborating with Competitors

David and Blair compare each other's competitiveness and then offer some specific ways principals can actually collaborate with their competitors as a part of building beneficial business relationships.

Four Segments of New Business

Blair and David come up with descriptive words that help clarify each of the four parts of what David calls the "pantheon" for new business: positioning, lead generation, sales, and pricing.

Coaches Corner: The Solution For Being Too Expensive

It’s early January. My phone rings. It’s Sue, a former client I spoke with two weeks earlier. She had called to share she was leading a new firm and they were growing like mad. She needed our help again. I had always liked Sue. We did really good work for her and she’s a straight…

A Creative Professional’s Progression of Financial Success

I’m pretty sure I can show you the levels of financial success you’ll move through in your career. I can’t predict how far you will go, but by reading the descriptions of the levels you’ll be able to see where you are on the journey and what lays ahead.

Quit Giving The Client What They Want

A mainstay of some agency new business conferences is a few highly coveted clients on the stage lecturing the agency audience on what they want from their agency partners that they’re not getting. While it would be foolish to dismiss these client entreaties out of hand, it would be just as foolish, I believe, to give them what they want.

Hacking The Value Conversation

The value conversation is where value pricing theory goes to die. The difficulty in mastering this conversation is what causes most people to give up on value-based pricing completely and revert back to selling time and materials. It needn’t be so difficult, though.

Project 2018: An Incredible Story of Success

I don’t care what you or I did in 2017. Good or bad, it’s done, and I’ve never been one for lingering too long in the past. A lot of people think that their past defines their future. That the things they can accomplish now and tomorrow are limited by what has happened previously. But that’s ridiculous. The wake doesn’t push the ship. You’re free to go wherever you want, do what you want and earn what you want in 2018, regardless of the reality that was in 2017.

Protecting Your Superpower

You cannot fully understand a system from within the system. You cannot read the label from inside the jar. The thinking that got you here won’t get you there. It’s unlikely the problem will be solved from within the context it was created.

Coaches Corner: Now This Is Fun

But while I may be an expert, I’m far from a perfect salesperson. I let him distract me from the big picture with his incessant questioning. I miss one particularly potent chance to drive home our differentiation. I don’t handle the value conversation all that well, but instead, I jump right to the topic of prices. Oops.

Navigating The Seven-Year Chokepoint

Business is a game with hidden levels. By succeeding at one level, you get invited to play the next. The common mistake is to bring those first-level tools to the next level. Not only do they not work here, but they also work against you. Many of the habits you learned you will now have to unlearn. Accepting this inevitable obsolescence of tools is the key to obtaining all the advanced levels of success.

Coaches Corner: “I’m wondering why they didn’t ask for the slides?”

Sales ability is not innate; however, it can be learned. Even by someone who is (more than a bit of) a geek. Sales ability rests on some foundational principles and core attitudes. Then you can layer on some behaviors and language.

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