Working in marketing, we are used to pitching stories, sponsorships or ideas. We are also used to getting pitched by sales people from different agency services. I am sure these techniques are all endorsed in some “how to sell effectively” book, but they aren’t working on me.
1. Ambulance Chasing
Some agencies, especially on the PR side, will troll for the first sign of bad news and then pitch their services. I may not always have the right answer, but sitting hoping an agency contacts me wasn’t the plan either.
2. Fear Mongering
Some folks think insulting my company is the way to open the door, whether it includes finding fault in our marketing, SEO capabilities, web design, or whatever. They might even be right, but that isn’t the way to start. I will gladly accept, and encourage, constructive criticism from a trusted source that has taken the time to understand my business and limitations.
3. Carpet Bombing the Office
When I realize I have returned a message that was also left for five other people in my office, well, that one goes to the trash.
4. Can We Talk Today?
Normally, I would support creating a sense of urgency, but I think all agencies are reading the same memo and requesting, “When can I schedule a time to talk to you today or tomorrow?” In that case I guess it works because it creates a sense of urgency for me to hit delete.
5. Maximize It
Every agency is an expert and a market leader that maximizes platform activation across multi-channels with turn-key aplomb. If only I knew what their agency actually did, it would be helpful. If I see an ad for a plumber, I at least know they do!
6. Unsolicited Collateral
In a digital world, it’s nice to get a box in the mail sometimes. But if it comes in unsolicited I spend more time thinking how much the agency spent on a list they rented.
7. LinkedIn Shot on Goal
When Wayne Gretzy famously said that “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” I don’t think he was talking about firing off a pitch five minutes after I accept your LinkedIn request. It’s a relationship business and a LinkedIn connection does not constitute a relationship yet. Slow down partner.
8. Template Email
Agencies want their correspondence to look nice, which makes sense. But if I have to download graphics from unsolicited email, I’m out.
9. Tell Me Your Strategy
This is a unique one, because while I applaud someone wanting to listen vs. talk, asking to explain a complex business to a new entity isn’t realistic.
Just because we met at an industry conference, or that I accepted a LinkedIn request or actually responded to an email, does not constitute an “opt-in” to your newsletter in my book.
So what does work?
The agency relationships we have in place today are just that, relationships. There is no set way to establish them but they have all started by developing trust first. The pitch came second. One agency we have today, I actually pitched them!