Any agency owner that has gone through the task of hiring a New Business Director has surely come across the new business pro that touts their “huge” network of opportunities. They claim to have worked with everyone and can easily get your agency in the door with the brands you want just through their sheer charm and extensive array of friends and ex-colleagues.
If you want to use a network to win new business, every agency should start by actually mining their own network first. Most agencies I speak with have a huge cache of network connections that they have not even begun to take advantage of.
Stop scratching the surface of your contacts, stop depending on an outside rainmaker, and start mining away at the connections that have been sitting in front of you the whole time. Here are a few tips to get started
1. Create your Core 100 Network- Sit down and go through a list of every past client, every current client, vendors, industry colleagues, and people from school. It only takes a few minutes to build up to 100 people that can absolutely begin making a difference in the number of referrals you receive over the coming months. Those 100 people need to be put into a personalized communication cadence where you reach out to each person at least once a month, even if just to say “hi”. Sound like a lot? 100 people in 20 days, that’s 5 emails a day…or 15 minutes if it takes 3 minutes per email. Not a lot of time at all.
2. Don’t only track your prospects, track your clients- Set alerts in LinkedIn, Google, and Winmo for all of your current clients. In Winmo’s database, they see one-third of their data points change every 6 months. This means that your current client’s teams are constantly turning over, especially in the lower ranks. Get to know those people and track them. They will eventually leave your current client and land somewhere else, and that’s a much easy intro to that new brand when they have already worked with you.
3. Have a real conversation with your network- This means you don’t just send a monthly newsletter telling everyone about what has happened at your agency. Take the time to reach out to each contact in your Core 100 with a personalized message. It may be as simple as a “hello, how are things”, to a more involved request of an introduction to someone that they know. The idea is though that we are producing real conversations with these contacts by talking to them, rather than talking at them.
To keep your pipeline full of qualified, referral-driven leads, continually stay top of mind with your tightest contacts that have seen and been beneficiaries of your great work.