What Prince Can Teach You About Ad Agency Business Development

— September 4, 2019

What Prince Can Teach You About Ad Agency Business Development

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Prince wasn’t just a great singer, he was also a great sales prospecting philosopher. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at two of his songs and how he contrasts the painful traditional ad agency business development process vs a painless prospecting process preferred by agencies.

Traditional RFP Based Business Development

Are you familiar with The Beautiful Ones from his Purple Rain album? It’s his ode to the traditional ad agency pitch process. You know the one where you line up like one of those men on the Bachelorette and hope that each round you’ll keep getting a rose and the chance to stick around a little longer. Ultimately, you hope that you, and you alone, get the chance to propose and get married to that beautiful new client.

Baby baby baby is it him or is it me?
Don’t make me waste my time.
Don’t make me lose my mind baby.

What’s it gonna be baby… do you want him or do you want me. Cause I want you.

– Prince

A Painless, Inbound Ad Agency Business Development Process

Now compare that to another song from the same Purple Rain album, Baby I’m a Star. First off you notice a much more upbeat tone. And why wouldn’t you. He’s singing about a world in which agencies sell by getting known for knowledge… where leads come to them vs the traditional chasing and waiting game we’ve all spent our careers playing.

The lyrics are all about “you want me” vs “I want you” and are delivered with a confidence that if “you” don’t want “me” then there is another right behind you that will because “baby I’m a star.”

Hey, take a listen
Tell me do you like what you hear?
If it don’t turn you on
Just say a word, I’m gone
Honey, I know ain’t nothing wrong with your ears

Hey, check it all out
Better look now or it just might be too late

– Prince

The difference is simple – attitude and approach. One approach is all about chasing and waiting vs the more successful and efficient attracting and closing model favored by Painless Prospecting agencies.

And because the second approach requires confidence and yes, maybe a little bit of sexiness to get noticed, it’s by default a more upbeat, positive and energetic attitude.

How Do You Change Your Agency’s Business Development Approach?

Once again, Prince is there with the answer with Let’s Go Crazy, probably one of my favorite songs from the Purple Rain album. When you consider the classic definition of insanity, Prince’s words ring true and illuminate the basic decision you as an agency have to make if you want to ditch the RFP.

If you don’t like, the world you’re living in…

Are we gonna let the elevator
Bring us down, oh, no let’s go
Let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts
Look for the purple banana
‘Til they put us in the truck, let’s go.

– Prince

It’s really that simple. Take a chance. Go a little crazy. I’m not saying you have to completely abandon the RFP process overnight, but I am telling you that in almost 10 years, Converse Digital hasn’t competed in a single RFP process or ad agency pitch and we’re still alive and kicking. It can be done. It can work. And most importantly, you can do it. But you have to give it a shot. You have to take the first step.

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Author: Tom Martin

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