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Many agencies like to boast on their websites and in their pitch decks that they “partner” with their clients. It’s bullshit of course. What they mean is they aspire to have their clients treat them like partners instead of vendors. I get it. It’s good to have a goal. But putting it on the website doesn’t make it true.

The Magic Email

I think together we can make a few million dollars this week, quickly, simply. Use this simple email template that you can use to raise deals from the dead.

Red, White, Black and Blue: The Land of Mixed Signals

In light of where things are in America, I feel the need to point out that if you’re familiar with and have benefitted from my work, Creative Strategy and the Business of Design, and my #thinkhowtheythink philosophy, a sharecropper named Mr. Ben Frank Davis is where it came from.

The Magic Email

I think together we can make a few million dollars this week, quickly, simply. Use this simple email template that you can use to raise deals from the dead.

Play the Game of Constraints

I’ve been using constraint-driven exercises for years to think creatively about my own business and to help our clients free themselves from the mental models in which many have become trapped. Try these six constraint-driven exercises.

Three Steps to Surviving and Thriving in a Crisis

I’ve lived through two previous recessions as an entrepreneur and what we are experiencing right now is not a recession — it is an economic crisis. The recession is what comes next after things stabilize.

Help I’m Being Held Hostage by a Sales Robot

Help I’m Being Held Hostage by a Sales Robot

“In the sale, your job is not to convince, you have no business trying to convince anyone of anything ever.” Blair Enns said these words from a stage in Memphis at a conference I was attending almost 15 years ago. It was the first time I’d heard him speak. At that moment, after he said

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.

Is The Design Firm an Endangered Species?

I imagined that there is a line among design-based businesses that separates those who see themselves as in the business of design from those who see design as just one of the tools they use, in the service of whatever business they are really in. I wondered if this line was moving, squeezing out the traditional design firm.

The Ultimate Test of Your Positioning

When we’re working with owners of independent creative firms on the positioning of their firms, we separate the exercise of choosing a focus, from the exercise of articulating a claim. The first is an act of sacrifice, which most people in the creative professions struggle with (even more so than the average business owner, I believe), and the second is an act of communication, something creative professionals revel and delight in.

Why Your Positioning Problem Doesn’t Go Away

Imagine a more detailed map than this for every new business development decision that you face like positioning, lead generation, dealing with RFPs and closing. And then add a peer group of other owners just like you going through the same steps and the helpful guidance of a Win Without Pitching coach. That’s what’s available to you in the Win Without Pitching program where we have numerous training formats to match your learning style and budget.

Alternative Forms of Reassurance

Blair and David analyze and then look beyond the requests for reassurance potential clients make during the late stage of a sale to address their underlying motivations.

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.

Pricing Difficult-to-Quantify Forms of Value

In the Win Without Pitching Workshop you heard me say that I think the ability to navigate the value conversation is the most valuable skill in all of business.  Then we gave you the framework, a few hours of practice and we sent you on your way. Don’t worry if you haven’t mastered this important

The Most Important Pricing Skill

Do you know the one key to being a better pricer? It’s the ability to have a good conversation. Pricing success really does come down to your ability to encourage and navigate respectful dialogue.

Clients Deserve to Know What They’re Buying

Many of your proposals fail because the client isn’t sure what they would be buying. One of the first pricing principles I address in Pricing Creativity: A Guide to Profit Beyond the Billable Hour is the idea that there are three things you can sell and price: inputs, outputs or value.

You Don’t Really Partner With Your Clients

Many agencies like to boast on their websites and in their pitch decks that they “partner” with their clients. It’s bullshit of course. What they mean is they aspire to have their clients treat them like partners instead of vendors. I get it. It’s good to have a goal. But putting it on the website

Four Regrets You’re About to Have

Postmortems are great tools for steady improvement. At the end of any project or new initiative you simply revisit the objective and discuss what went well and what you would do differently next time. A similar idea is the premortem. Project yourself into the future, past the project you are about to undertake, and imagine

Play the Game of Constraints

I’ve been using constraint-driven exercises for years to think creatively about my own business and to help our clients free themselves from the mental models in which many have become trapped. Try these six constraint-driven exercises.

Is It Ethical to Sell in These Times?

We in the creative professions often recoil from the function of selling because we are scarred by the bad buying experiences involving the first salesperson who, for reasons of ideology, training or incentives, saw selling as the requirement to convince.

Four Steps To Lead Generation Success

When I think of the firms that drive numerous inbound leads they all have one very clear thing they do. Their lead generation efforts are as focused as their positioning. They’ve resisted diluting their efforts across numerous channels, avoiding Warren Buffet’s admonishment that “Diversification is for people who don’t know what they are doing.”

Managing Bad Referrals From Good Clients

It takes a lot of work in fact to generate a steady stream of good referrals and it’s no surprise that very few firms ever get to this place where the business is sustained and growing entirely by doing great work for good clients and systematically asking for and following up on referrals. It is however the highest form of “marketing” that we should all aspire to.

The One Word You Need to Hear

There’s a word you need to hear that I’ve been struggling to say to you. I’ve been keeping it from you because I have incontrovertible proof that you don’t like this word. Now, you, the individual, might be an exception but you and your peers as a group don’t like it. I know because every

Open Book Management

Blair gets David to admit that he was kind of wrong about open book management being just a fad when he originally wrote about it almost two decades ago, and David offers ways that it can actually improve relationships with both employees and clients when used appropriately.

Alternative Forms of Reassurance

Blair and David analyze and then look beyond the requests for reassurance potential clients make during the late stage of a sale to address their underlying motivations.

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