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Win Without Pitching®

Thinking

FEATURED ARTICLE BY BLAIR ENNS

There is no need for the slick salesperson. The ideal salesperson version of you is the expert version of you—you in the engagement, leading the client, you at your best. That person can become an excellent salesperson. They can enjoy better closing ratios, higher fees and maybe even fall in love with selling.

Attending The Way

“A man, sitting in his house, attending the way, will be heard a hundred miles distant. Work done truly and conscientiously, in isolation, calls unknown friends.”

The Time Value of Knowledge

Just as the interest on money compounds over time, the interest on knowledge compounds similarly, under the right conditions.

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.

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.

Why We Suck at Negotiating

The more I get to know procurement professionals through my pet project that is 20% – The Marketing Procurement Podcast, the more I am struck by how bad we in the creative professions are at negotiating.

Beyond Good, Better, Best Pricing

I’ve written for years on the impact that three-option proposals can have on your closing ratio and your average selected price. Providing your clients with three or four different ways to engage you—at different price points—might be the simplest and fastest path to improving profit.

Are These The Last Days of The Pitch?

Something is in the air in Agencyland. After a long, cold and seemingly endless winter, something is finally in the air. Free pitching, the addictive and destructive opioid of both client and agency is disappearing like the White Witch’s endless winter. It may not yet be summer, but spring is most definitely here.

Do You Even Need a New Business Person?

I’m a fan of constraint-driven exercises, so let me pose one for your consideration. Imagine that you could never employ a full-time dedicated new business person (let alone a team) What changes would you need to make in your business as a result?

Is The Agency Model Suffocating Your Business?

I’ve become aware recently that when I’m speaking to creative and marketing firm owners or other advisors in this space, we can sound like we are describing two entirely different industries. The agency owner is biased in thinking that the industry is made up of firms like theirs, and advisors like me are influenced by the types of agencies that we’ve most recently worked with.

What’s In Your RAB Fund?

Everyone likes games. I have a fun one for you. There’s a simple financial metric that you might want to use throughout the year. Once you start measuring it, you will become addicted to improving it.

The Best Referral Machine I Have Ever Seen

I’m of two minds when it comes to referrals as a lead source. On one hand, I’m jaded by the people who claim their number one source of clients is “word of mouth and referrals,” when they really mean, “I have no idea and no plan.” On the other hand, I know people and businesses that have absolutely mastered the art of referrals, driving all their growth through this one channel. 

Inbound, Outbound & In Between

Is there any way to do outbound lead generation without giving up the expert high ground, or does any solicitation taint you with the stench of a needy, powerless vendor?

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.”

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.

Unclog Your Stuck Pipeline

Unclog Your Stuck Pipeline June 14, 2023 9:00 am PT — “Caution” seems to be the word of the day. Clients aren’t panicking about a possible recession, but every purchase is under scrutiny. Deals are taking longer to close. Pricing and payment terms are coming under pressure.

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