Increasing Revenue by Declining New Business

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What do you do when your agency suddenly has too many quality new-business opportunities? Some agency may call it a happy problem to have, but it's also an important issue that requires careful management.
Marc Brownstein
Marc Brownstein

Consider what happens when you try to go after every lead that comes in. In a small agency, something's gotta suffer. Like your paying clients, who get ignored. Your staff members, who get burned out. And your all-important new business momentum, which can come to a grinding halt when you go o-fer. As in no wins. Because you were spread too thin, and able to give each pitch only an 8O% effort. Add it all up, and then you've likely got low morale in the agency... along with a couple of months of low billings, since most of the staff was busy pitching versus billing hours.

I know what I'm talking about, because I'm speaking from experience. Then we made some changes at our agency. Now we apply our vetting criteria rigorously. Which means we say "no" more often to prospects. That allows us to go deep on fewer, and better, prospects. Instead of being a mile-wide, and an inch deep. And if a killer prospect comes knocking at our door while we're deep into other pitches, we either buy some time...or decline the opportunity. (I can hear your collective gasp from that last statement).

Yes, the hardest part of an owners' job is to decline a piece of business. And it's taken me 17 years to get better at it (note I didn't say I'm good at it), as I have salaries to pay, taxes to submit, computers and other equipment to buy -- and, oh yeah, a profit to make. But I've learned that focusing on fewer new business opportunities actually brings in revenue faster.

That's been our experience. Curious what yours has been.
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