“Feels good to watch a big man dance.” -Widespread Panic
One of the great challenges of running any successful business is keeping existing customers happy while constantly finding new customers to keep happy. It’s a true balancing act, one that takes lots of practice to get right.
Anthony Del Monte, founder and president of Squeaky Wheel Media in New York City knows all about it. Writing for Ad Age, Del Monte says, “…for the sake of your agency, you need to get uncomfortable. Talk to somebody. Start the process of closing.”
He also weighs in on the false obstacles one places in the way:
Sit back and list all the issues with getting in touch with the right person: Summers are typically slow in our industry, the holidays aren’t good because decision makers aren’t around, Fridays people are already thinking about the weekend, Mondays they are just getting around to clearing their desk, time differences (EST, PST, MST, AHHH!), the ups and downs of the market, religious and national events — the list goes on and on. Take all of these obstacles into account and what do you end up with? One hundred days or so to make rain.
Just last night, I was talking to a freelance copywriter who told me he was waiting impatiently on some leads to come through. I said I know the feeling. I added that’s why it’s so damn important to keep pitching, keep putting balls up in the air, even if you can’t catch them all. You’re not going to, or supposed to, catch them all is the thing.
Right now, I’m sitting on close to $50K in unanswered bids. Some of it might come in. Or none of it will. To “always be closing” you have to also always be opening–doors, emails, beers, etc. Like the duality at the start of this post, to always be closing (and opening in order to close) is another tricky balancing act. As is being forward without being pushy, being smart without being overbearing and being honest without being cruel.
I’ve been a copywriter since 1995, but now I spend a good bit of my day as rainmaker and account guy. Historically, I’ve given many of the account people I’ve worked with a hard time. When it’s your turn, you see how difficult the job is. Plus, my natural state is to sit right where I am, at the keypad, thinking. But I can only do so much of that now. For Bonehook to grow and prosper, I’ve got to work some other muscles. Lots of other muscles. Speaking of, I haven’t spent this much time on the phone since the late 1980s. Yet, it’s all too clear that I need to spend a good deal more time on the phone, talking to hotel owners, winery and brewery owners, restaurant owners and other interested entrepreneurs.
If you’d like to talk to me about how to build your brand and grow your business, call me on my mobile at 503-970-3862. Or send an email to david (at) bonehook (dot) com.