I had a coffee the other day with somebody who once had the lead spot at a large agency.

He had worked in the show.

You get the drift.  Somebody who had seen a lot.

We often talk about Agency New Business.

He shared that that he had been in a hundred pitches over the course of his career.

I believe that. He has pitched the best.

The big clients we all know.

So what is the secret of New Business I asked?

He pulled on his ear lobe and said listening.

Reminded me of what somebody in the business once said to me in the past.

“Never give up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut.”

I think that is hard for most agency people and me.

We want to share what we have learned and show everyone how smart we are to impress the client and show how valuable we are.

But listening to a prospective client can be key.

I have conducted a number of agency reviews.

Pretty nice companies like Jenny Craig, Jacuzzi and Toyo Tires.

I was in pitches when everything was moving forward and then somebody talked and introduced irrelevance into the conversation.

Many people on both sides of the table cringed.

The meeting lost its momentum.

The more you let the client talk the better your New Business meeting will be.  You will learn more and plot more courses of opportunity by letting prospects get it all out.

Listening leads to taking about the clients business and that is the best way to build chemistry, share your approach to problem solving and differentiate your agency.

Listing starts before the meeting.  For example what does their LinkedIn profile tell you about your prospect?

I was in a pitch once and the meeting started a little late as we waited for coffee to be delivered.

A little nervous energy filled the room.

The coffee arrived and the client asked for a water.

His LinkedIn profile said he went to school at Brigham Young.

In the end the agencies with the biggest ears and smallest mouths win.