The 2008 Annual Agency Survey from Michael Gass Consulting was recently released and it started me thinking about all the horror stories I hear from clients and prospects, alike. POINT #1 — New Business is harder than ever to find. Michael's survey exposes some insightful reasons New Business is so hard. According to Gass, "It isn't surprising that half of the agency leaders surveyed stated their business was down or down significantly from last year and that new business was harder or a lot harder to obtain. Nor is it surprising that there were fewer new business opportunities and prospects were harder to reach. What seems to be revealing is the vast majority of these agencies are still relying heavily upon referrals and networking for new business and these traditional methods are not working." It appears the answer to this problem is "Stop relying on referrals and networking". Don't stop using these "Warm Call" sources entirely… Just stop RELYING on them. Do your bottom-line a favor and add a "proactive" element to your New Business plan, rather than relying on a "reactive" approach. The days of "Wine and Roses" seem to have darkened into the cloudy afternoons of "Mad Dog 20/20 and a handful of dandelions". The time has passed for waiting on New Business to drop in our laps. We must venture out into the world and talk to people we don't know (yet). Regardless of the awards and trophies that adorn your halls, you are still just a vendor with a service to sell… So be a salesman. I know you hate cold-prospecting, we all do. But if you don't get more proactive about New Business, your competitors WILL… Or more accurately, the New Business Development director at your competitor's will. Which brings me to my next point… POINT #2 — Make SOMEONE responsible for New Business. From the Gass survey — "Of the agencies that responded, just over half had a full-time New Business Director". Michael's observation: "A good number of agencies still do not see the importance of having someone oversee their new business practices. If “everyone” is responsible for new business, no one will be." If you hate making "Cold Calls", hire someone who doesn't and play the "numbers game". More prospecting = more opportunities = more pitches = more New Business. POINT #3 — Pitch MORE! In my day-to-day interactions with principals and NBD teams across the country, agencies seem to be winning less than half the business they're pitching for… AND they are pitching fewer times this year than they did last year. That's what happens when you let someone, or something, else control your destiny; "Warm Calls" are down and so are the opportunities / pitches / New Biz. It's time to start practicing what we preach. I've spoken with several agencies recently who say they are prescribing "more marketing" for their clients… To keep their brand out there and gain Power Positioning… to take advantage of the vacuum left by competitors exiting the Ad scene. And I say to you, "Physician, heal thyself".