I thought it might be helpful if I outlined a few key things that keep me up at night. I also think about them when it comes to business development, winning new business or grabbing an iconic brand when pitching against others.

I have long understood, one of the most important jobs in any agency: is finding and allocating someone who is focused on generating a steady stream of high-quality leads into your agency and importantly, building and enhancing the ‘chemistry’ with potential new clients and brands!

Simply, the more qualified leads with trust and chemistry means better prospects, increased trust PLUS increased success!

The key factors in knocking out your competitors are:

  • 60%+ of executives said winning agencies had a confident, articulate team
  • Approximately 40% of executives said passion for the client’s business, demonstrated by a “seamless link between strategy & creative”
  • Only 30% of executives said brilliant creative was enough to win the pitch by itself (many ranked it even lower)
  • 50% of executives suggested agencies needed to develop “a new business culture”
  • 85% of executives preferred ad agencies that differentiated themselves from other agencies

To start the whole new business and prospecting approach, some of the most critical aspects to initially implement are:

  1. Set up a process that’s easy to implement and understand:
  • Who to go after?
  • What to say?
  • What to send?
  • What’s my role? (Focus should be on getting first visits)
  • What do I get?
  • Assemble a great integrated team
  • Determine upfront, how many ‘hot leads’ you need to fill your monthly, quarterly and annual pipeline.
  • Always, outline what you need to win to make your goals.
  1. Train an ‘elite’ team, teach them all the required skills and inspire them to be successful
  2. Always keep your ‘radar on’ – for new business and growth opportunities, both organic and external. This must be a ‘daily’ lesson/task and always keeping the radar focused and targeted!

Learn to ‘work’ your relationships, networks and gain as many referrals to generate more business!

That’s why I have one of the most viewed LinkedIn profiles in the world for Advertising & Marketing executives, as well as in the top 1% in the Social Selling Index and have some one million Twitter followers too!

It’s all about networking. The bigger and more active your network – the more opportunities you’ll be exposed too!



The first step is to simply identify your competition, or focus on brands that most closely match your skillsets, results and background. AND, always do your ‘reconnaissance’!  

For all you military veterans, it means applying your ‘recce’ skills to the Advertising & Marketing Industry too! E.g. ‘military observation of a region to locate an enemy or ascertain strategic features”.


I am sure any experienced executive can you quickly identify 5 to 10 companies that you’re directly competing with in your market.

If you can’t name at least 5 competitors without stumbling, then you have some homework to do. And the homework is simple, just ‘Google’ your keywords and see who is advertising.


Always watch, read and review trade publications, conferences, business events, then review competitors websites, social media profiles and simply Google them consistently.

It is critical to understand to whom you are pitching and what you can offer them before you start. Be sure you highlight all the skills and services you can deliver better than any other competitor.


It’s important to do your research on your client and be laser-focused on their brand. The way you will lock in those potential clients is to include the extra details that show that you know what you’re talking about and make sure to highlight how your services are relative to their specific business.

If you make sure they understand that the services you can offer are absolutely crucial to maximizing their business then there is no way they can say no.

I have learned to always focus on larger brands and clients especially. I have witnessed that larger accounts generally are great ‘magnets’ for other brands and, are usually more profitable too! 


As I have often written in the past, the single biggest way to ‘knock out’ any competitor is to build ‘chemistry’ and ‘trust’ BEFORE the pitch.

Numerous research reports reveal that ‘chemistry’ can contribute to over 90% plus why Agencies win pitches. The winning agencies deliver greater ‘simpatico’ between the client and agency teams!

  • The biggest obstacle for most agencies is poor chemistry with prospects,
  • Chemistry is often more important than industry-specific capabilities,
  • Discover what type of firm each prospect wants to deal with,
  • Emphasize results, process, relationship, or inspiration before you pitch a prospect.

I also recommend a ‘Subscribe Now’ button on every Agency microsite or website too. Capturing names, email addresses, phone numbers is a great way to ‘prospect’ and start new relationships too.

Additionally, to build chemistry, I also recommend email marketing, viewing professional histories, schedule messaging consistently, monitoring social media platforms and utilize tools like: Access Confidential, RFPalooza, B2B Prospecting tools, Winmo/The List, Mintel, Meeting/Web Conferencing tools, LinkedIn, Salesforce tools, Pearlfinders, etc. 


People do business with people they not only like, but TRUST.

One of my core mantras is: ‘We solve problems.’

I often use the metaphor of a ‘doctor-patient’ relationship, where the patient goes to the doctor for a specific reason and the doctor solves the problem.

Keeping a ‘growth mindset’ on solving problems also helps you to focus on what is most important: serving the (prospective) brand/client. In this way, you’ll win more business because of aligned interests.

To begin establishing trust (and the credibility that underlies it), I find that offering an initial consultation and/or assessment at no charge works well!

The key is to then provide a substantial 30 to 45 minute consulting session that delivers high value – with no selling. This is a great way to build trust, demonstrate your skills without any pressure.

I also highly recommend having an Agency Blog that produces fresh, new and useful content weekly as well as monthly too. By producing great content and featuring case studies and impactful research you will continue to build trust as well as getting on their radar.

Agency promotions using multiple channels with great content highlights your expertise in specific industries too!


If you want to knockout your competition from a pitch, start your preparation BEFORE the actual pitch. If you wait until the pitch day to think you will win with a HUGE Creative IDEA – you will lose.

Develop rapport and chemistry before the pitch while consistently adding value, insights. This enables you to clearly demonstrate you ‘get their needs’ and will ‘always have their back’.

Finally, Agencies win or lose a pitch in the first 10 minutes of a pitch. So, to increase your success rate and improve your odds – do all the heavy lifting before the pitch. This ensures that you’ll ‘win’ the clients you want you so you can give them what they NEED. Then you can KNOCKOUT the Competition before the pitch even starts!


More about Geoff De Weaver: 

Since 1985, Geoff has helped pioneer the use of inbound/outbound marketing, content marketing strategies, digital, PR and social media marketing specifically for agency new business.

Geoff is one of the Advertising & Digital industry’s leading agency New Business Thought Leaders.

Geoff can also access hard to reach brands and clients, fully examine and target your exact needs and requirements in all channels. I can even pitch on your behalf and happily be the extension to your company’s new business team.

Give me a call and let me show you a better way, +61 411 224 961 or send me an email:


Global Brand Management & Operations, Digital Marketing, Marketing, Advertising, Sales, Training, New Business, Consulting, Management, Leadership Coaching, Team Building, Operations, and Ad Agency Growth.



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