Posts Tagged ‘ New Business ’

Marketing Coordinator Position Available (New Business Development)

It is the job of the marketing coordinator to assist with the generation of an established benchmark of new business leads and prospects for the agency according to a pre-defined set of client criteria.  The marketing coordinator generates research on prospects and assembles reports to use in attracting and inciting prospects’ interest in the agency.  Also, the marketing coordinator maintains the prospect database, makes and keeps appointments, leads and prospects, maintains and follows up on regular new business developer mailings to prospects, looks for new leads, creates prospect profiles, and stays up to date on correspondence relating to all prospect contacts.

Reports to the agency ceo who manages agency new business development.

Responsibilities:

  • Practices effective sales efforts resulting in a steady increase of new business.
  • Wins profitable new accounts that are professional, courteous and long-term.
  • Coordinates projects/jobs for smooth, efficient operation of new business effort.
  • Communicates effectively between the agency and prospective clients.
  • Actively listens and seeks to understand clients’ needs and then convinces them the agency can meet those needs.
  • Uses client contact software to maintain detailed digital files documenting all contacts with each prospect including mailings, calls, appointments, and correspondence; records all research, reports, sales information or other materials used or created for use in selling the agency to each prospect.
  • Keeps timely contact with prospects through regular emails, mailings, phone calls, and appointments.
  • Coordinates with the agency ceo to schedule prospecting emails/newsletters, search marketing ads and other online tactics.
  • Keeps thorough records on all prospects so others can handle new business development responsibilities during the developer’s absence.
  • Maintains a new business prospect database including primary, secondary and general target prospects; records product/market information about each prospect; and regularly updates all contact information.
  • Follows up on all prospect meetings with letters/agency literature.
  • In preparation for future growth, creates, refines, and documents the entire sales system in a manner that will easily allow training of another new marketing coordinator. Includes each minute process including scripting of sales calls/meetings, proper attire, software requirements, presentation strategies, etc.
  • Looks for new business leads by building contacts with selected industry trade publications and organizations, business and civic groups; maintains Prospect Profiles for agency marketing director’s review and approval for adding to prospect list; adds to prospect list with approved leads gained from business contacts, networking, etc.
  • In conjunction with the agency ceo, researches and constructs reports on selected prospects/industries/products for use as “intelligent marketing tools” in sales efforts with prospects.
  • May be called upon to represents agency in the community through business/civic organizations.
  • Inventories all materials/supplies needed to continue the new business effort uninterrupted, including 3-D mailing pieces, agency brochures, agency newsletters and other promotional literature, letterhead, press release forms, etc., and alerts production manager if there is a need to restock.
  • Meets with the agency account service team, including agency ceo, to keep them informed of new business opportunities gained from new business efforts; transfers prospect contact to president/account service team when agency is ready to “go in.”
  • Maintains current job-related software and technical skills and notifies agency marketing director if training, computer hardware/software upgrades or purchases are needed.
  • Adds input to marketing plans/proposals when prospect is elevated to account status; shares all available research and industry information for this purpose.

Is “Re-branding” the New Buzz Word?

We hear the term “re-branding” thrown around a lot lately. It seems if everyone is trying desperately, in a fast-moving society, to stay fresh and yet stay true to their history at the same time. Most recently – YMCA to Y; Tropicana logo change; and let’s not forget about the Gap logo debacle.

The Gap change came in early October of this year. The president of Gap Brand North America for the last three years stated, “We chose this (new) design as it’s more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.” – Sound familiar?

Gap did a soft launch of their new logo and wanted feedback from their loyal customers, so they introduced it through social media. And, did they get feedback! Received so negatively and with such a backslash, it resulted in 1,094 comments from one of their Facebook postings alone.

Creatively, many felt it took a couple steps back and, well…fell flat on its face. The “generic” look that so many companies are trying to achieve didn’t work for Gap. For many, their goal is to make their brand modern and clean, but when executed incorrectly, the result is a generic and drab look. Modern should not equal generic. Gap has now gone back to their old logo.

This got us thinking…when exactly is the right time to re-brand and why? In Gap’s case, they wanted a new logo to reflect the evolution of their clothing line and multiple modern stores. However, what other reasons are there to re-brand? Take our company, evok advertising, for example. We are actually in the process of a re-brand ourselves. So, why the change for us?

Scott Disbennett, creative director and agency partner, said, “Opposed to a national brand that has spent millions focusing on consumer perception, we don’t carry the same iconic weight. We are a mid-size agency that prides ourselves on staying abreast of new technology and new brands, while staying cutting edge, so being current is actually part of the brand. Also, we focus most, if not all, of our marketing efforts B2B so to many, this new logo will be their first experience with our brand. We aren’t facing the challenges that a national consumer brand might face.”

Larry Meador, our agency’s managing partner, addressed evok’s re-brand by stating, “While the old ‘EVOK’ worked well when we were trying to shout our name out there, we have always had a core belief that we should be behind the scenes, behind our clients’ victories, and although just a minor change, going from upper case to lower case with our logo reinforces that belief.”

So, if wondering whether you should re-brand your company, you may want to consider the following criteria. If you can answer yes to most of the items below, maybe it’s time?

Re-brand IF:

  1. New ownership, new partner
  2. A new highly regarded business practice (such as being green, etc.)
  3. Offering new products or services that will move you to a different segment of your market
  4. If your branding was poorly designed when your company was young
  5. New location, if that greatly impacts your business

So, the question remains to re-brand or not re-brand?  Well, the simple answer is, consider the brand! For our agency, yes it made sense. For KFC and the Y (formerly YMCA), yes, maybe? But, maybe not so much for Tropicana and The Gap. If you are responding to consumer input, yes! Remember, the purpose of re-branding is to keep your current clients and customers, but also attract new ones.

Long live the Coppertone baby!

How to Get the Creative Juices Flowing…from the mind of a seasoned art director

WHERE’S THE JUICE?

If you’re a designer, there are going to be some days when you don’t feel like you can get the creative juices to flow. So, what do you do if something that you used to enjoy has become inundated with crazy deadlines, design criteria and the ever-popular “design block”? Here are my suggestions on how to get the juice to flow.

Sleep On It

A good night’s sleep can have great impact on your ability to problem-solve your creative block. In addition, many creative people say that they will ponder a problem or creative roadblock as they drift off to sleep and then turn it over to their subconscious mind to review as they snooze.

Mother Nature Might Hold The Key

When you allow yourself to step away from the workspace that you occupy each day, you should remind yourself of what Mother Nature has of offer. Among this amazing diversity in nature, you can explore new colors, textures, sounds, sizes, shapes and composition. Allowing your mind to explore, creative juices will (in theory) become more focused, your mind will be cleared and solutions and inspiration will begin to flow far more freely.

FUN FACT: Velcro was inspired by nature. The Swiss Georges de Mestral, inventor of Velcro, noticed how the sticky seed heads of burdock plants attached themselves to his pants and to his dog after walks in the woods. This observation led him to invent the product now called Velcro in 1948.

Just Do It

I have uttered these three, short words to myself many times in order to draw inspiration from somewhere to get something done. More often than not, it’s not that you’ve run out of ideas, it’s just that you’ve forgotten what it feels like to create designs based on how you’re feeling at the time. Give yourself the time to enjoy your craft.

Remind yourself why you love to design so much. Think of this as revving up your engine and giving it time to warm up. Somewhere down the line, you will have the momentum to get started and get things rolling.

Work It Out With A Workout

In addition to keeping your backside from spreading, a good workout is one of the best ways to gain inspiration. Think of it as “inspiration through perspiration”. An exercise session can take your mind off the issue at hand and allow that subconscious problem-solving to kick in. It also increases oxygen flow to the brain, upping your ability to think and problem-solve more effectively. You feel better and your creative blocks don’t seem so difficult to overcome.

Hopefully these juicy ideas will shake off that sluggish design state of mind and get you back on the creative track.

BONUS: Illustrator: Design Tip

Ever want to add a gradient to text in Illustrator without converting the text to outline? Here is how.

Step One

Using the Type tool, type out some text.

Step Two

Using the Selection Tool, click on your text to select it. Now go to your Appearance palette. If you don’t see it, go to Window > Appearance. Click the little arrow in the top right of the palette and choose the following> add new fill.

In the Appearance palette you’ll see a new layer for a Fill.

Step Three

Now You Can Apply Your Gradient! Click On A Gradient Swatch Or Create Your Own. If You Don’t See Your Gradient palette, go to Window > Gradient.

The best thing about it is that you can still edit the text!

The Appearance palette also has the option to add additional strokes. That’s how you can create text with multiple strokes. The cool thing is you can move the strokes and fills around in the Appearance palette just like layers in Photoshop. Use some Illustrator filters on top of that and you can do some pretty fun stuff.

Ante up! – Keeping Track of Account Receivables

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but the lack of it can surely make you unhappy.” – our CEO’s favorite money line.

Everybody wants it, and those who have it want more of it! Nobody wants to give it away, and if you’re the Operations Manager of a creative ad agency – this can be a problem.

The more figures you can move from your AR statement to your bank statement, the happier the CEO. If we follow this logic, both the bank statements and the happiness of the head-honcho, is your hands. If he is happy – so is everyone else.

So how do you keep account receivables running smoothly? Stay consistent. Know your clients’ payment habits and keep up with them. If you know your client tends to pay within an acceptable amount of time, give them the buffer, but check-in weekly and call immediately if their check has not arrived.

I find that when you are not consistent with the calls and the e-mail reminders, payments start to come in slower. A quick weekly check-in and a few e-mails is all it takes to make your accounts receivables less of a nightmare.

Having a great rapport with your client is also very helpful.  Once I started e-mailing those who handled the clients’ accounts payable on a more consistent basis and getting to know them, I started getting e-mails from them in return indicating that a check was on its way – fabulous!!!

It is hard to get into a routine. No one really wants to “ask” for payment and no one really should have to “beg” for it.  Sending an e-mail reminder is a gentler, less intrusive way to ask for payment. I would start there. If a check has still not shown up by the date you were given, make the dreaded phone call. Procrastination will not fund payroll!

If push comes to shove, you’re not getting anywhere and the account is well past 60 days overdue, it’s time to start making calls and writing e-mails two or three times a week. Role-play the ultimate nag.

When constant nagging does not work, you may need to call someone higher-up at the company. I would put the onus on you first.  Ask if there is a problem with the invoice, do they want to discuss it with their account manager? This is also the time to discuss a payment option. Once an invoice hits 90 days overdue, it will be harder to collect.  So now is the time to involve a collection lawyer or agency.

One final thought, humor can make requesting payment a little less painful. As I also cover our accounts payable department, I once received a late payment notice with a bit of humor I though I’d share. Instead of the typical “PAST DUE” stamped on the statement this company had a sticker that said “money talks but yours hasn’t spoken to us in a while”….  I laughed and paid the account.

“The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.” ~ Frank Hubbard
“We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.” ~ Gloria Steinem
“There is a very easy way to return from a casino with a small fortune:  go there with a large one.” ~ Jack Yelton
“I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.  ~ Mark Twain
“They who are of the opinion that Money will do everything, may very well be suspected to do everything for Money.” ~ George Savile, Complete Works, 1912
“I cannot afford to waste my time making money.” ~ Louis Agassiz
“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.” ~ Robert Graves
“When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.” ~ John Wesley

“It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.” ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.” ~ Pam Shaw
“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” ~ Author Unknown
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” ~ Cree Indian Proverb
“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.” ~ Mad Magazine
“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Thank you Quote Garden – http://www.quotegarden.com/money.html

Listen Up Pitches!…The Pitch Process from a Creative’s Mind

Before I begin, this behind-the-scenes look through a creative’s mind can be a little scary. I promise to stay on track and stick to the subject matter of what a pitch entails…or at least mention what it should entail. Let’s start with the obvious – before you begin a pitch, learn about your client, their business and their customer. Each client will expect you to be sensitive to their business and industry, so let the homework begin. Embark with research into the industry trends, lingo and competitors, but get the entire team working on this – different perspectives and research avenues will prove invaluable in the kick-off meeting. Also, dig into the client’s personal tastes, from who they associate with to their personal interests, such as what they watch, read, like and are involved in. This helps in choosing your “voice” of the presentation. However, the most important study is finding their target audience—and digging deeper. Are there other demos we could hit? Can we expand sales to existing customers and what will engage all of them to act? More often than not, you can change a client’s weariness of a new idea when you back it with this kind of research.

Now let’s talk about that new creative idea. Our biggest hurdle with new ideas is just that – that they’re new ideas. This means change to a client and many people do not like change. Before your pitch, make sure you are speaking to someone that’s interested in change, and if they’re not, find out why they think an agency is needed in the first place.

Moving forward, what happens when you find that idea, but it just isn’t working? Sometimes, even if the passion is there, that big idea isn’t always the right fit.  Ask yourself and your peers: Does this solve a specific problem or need? Is this problem worth solving? And will it translate into profits? Can it be implemented realistically? If these can be answered and backed up with research, creative thinking and real passion – then you have the big idea!

The thing we must always ask ourselves – how do we communicate the idea to the client effectively? First, you need to develop the elevator pitch – one short sentence that describes the idea at its highest level. Refine and simplify until it’s interesting, intelligent and to the point. The rest of your presentation should be based on this simplified explanation of the big idea and flow out like an open fire hydrant.

So there you have it, pitches. We research, we learn, we create, we execute, but we do it all while something’s missing – The Client. This is how the majority of agencies have to operate – without their major puzzle piece intact. It’s a sad way to do business, at least in my opinion.

What happened to learning directly from the client before the pitch? It’s very doubtful that any creative director or copywriter will ever know as much about the client’s business as the client does. This may not sound promising to clients, but the truth is – most of their customers do not either, nor do they want to. As a Creative Director, I want to hear the business successes and failures directly from the president or founder. A walk down the company memory lane is usually the spark that ignites the passion and reason for being of that particular business. This experience is invaluable to a creative and helps the idea bloom. Then that idea (and a good agency plan) becomes the integral link between Client and Customer. We develop the idea in the language of the consumer and place the right message in areas that they frequent. This model, when all of the above is developed properly, usually results in sales.

So I ask you, Client – Pitch me! Please.

Be Mindful Readers, Part I

Since we can’t be mind readers and inexplicably know what our potential customers are thinking and thereby doing; we can at least be mindful readers and study from afar to get farther – or closer to our end goal.

As the New Year is in full swing and we’re all waiting for the pendulum to swing some other way, which per the usual, we feel compelled to bestow a few words of our collective wisdom upon you. What’s more, we are accompanying our free advice with a recommended reading list. In an effort to keep it short and sweet, if not bittersweet, the requisite list of ten is being culled down to nine in honor of ringing in 2009. Well, maybe there will be a wildcard number ten at the end of the list.

Our list of recommended mindsets, along with the mindful readers list isn’t given in vein, yet in the same vein as fake it ‘til you make it and dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Some may say that this is what got us in this mess to begin with, but in advertising and marketing, it holds valuable truths that are timeless lessons, both personally and professionally.

As we hunker down and maximize our time by minimizing the excessive, why don’t we do it with a book in hand. Even if it’s read on an iPhone or listened to on an iPod, it’s a good old fashioned way to make things closer to “right” by reading.

1. Mind: Emulate the greats and learn from the masters. – Read: Advertising Best Practices 2008-2009: Industry Leaders on Creating Attention-Getting Platforms, Generating Profitable Campaigns, and Preparing for New Media Trends by Aspatore Books Staff.

Advertising Best Practices 2008-2009 is an authoritative, insider’s perspective on the newest trends and best campaign strategies of the past year, as well as the next big thing to prepare for in the year to come. Featuring Presidents and CEOs representing some of the nation s leading advertising agencies, this book provides a broad yet comprehensive overview of how leaders in the industry approach the challenge of developing creative and attention-grabbing campaigns that stand out in today’s barrage of media.

2. Mind: Focus and narrow your message and products and services offered. Determine what your main thing is and pinpoint what really matters. Once you know, others, like your potential customers, will know better what to do. – Read: The Pardox of Choice, why less is more by Barry Schwartz.

As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis. And in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.

3.  Mind: Leverage Partnerships to maximize ad spend as budgets decrease. – Read: Guerrilla Marketing: Breakthrough Strategies: Triple Your Sales and Quadruple Your Business In 90 Days With Joint Venture Partnerships by Jay Conrad Levinson and Terry Telford.

How are you going to double, triple, or quadruple your sales in the next 90 days and expand your business exponentially? The secret is with joint venture partnerships. Whether it sounds daunting or oversimplified, the plain truth is, it works. You can take your business to the next level with the power of joint ventures.

4. Mind: Practice fiscal and social accountability and responsibility for a better global marketplace in which you can sustain. – Read: Strategies for the Green Economy: Opportunities and Challenges in the New World of Business by Joel Makower.

Business leaders searching for a green strategy encounter few roadmaps and established rules and plenty of hidden twists and turns. Strategies for the New Green Economy describes how companies can succeed in the green marketplace, keeping pace with customer and societal demands to reduce their environmental impact.

5. Mind: Be contagious and go viral. Decrease wasted impressions by increasing the use of technology via social networking and actual networking. Type, text, twit and talk your way into the minds and manners of your target. – Read: Secrets of Social Media Marketing: How to Use Online Conversations and Customer Communities to Turbo-Charge Your Business! by Paul Gillin.

Secrets of Social Media Marketing is a handbook for marketers and business owners to use in deciding how to employ the new social media for online marketing. Social media has quickly moved from the periphery of marketing into the forefront, but this is a new and quickly-evolving field and there are few established formulas for success.

6. Mind: Experiment with experiential marketing and wash your hands of the type soap box people stand upon and box they claim to be thinking outside of. – Read: Experiential Marketing: A Practical Guide to Interactive Brand Experiences by Shaz Smilansky.

Experiential Marketing looks at the experiential marketing era, which focuses on giving target audiences a brand-relevant customer experience that adds value to their lives. Experiential marketing is made up of live brand experiences – two way communications between consumers and brands, communications which are designed to bring brand personalities to life.

This book demonstrates how experiential marketing fits in with the current marketing climate and how to go about planning, activating and evaluating it for best results. This is essential reading for both advertising and marketing practitioners and marketing students.

7. Mind: Know when to hold ‘em back and know when to fold ‘em in half. It’s imperative to discern the difference between cutting, or folding, budgets and cutting your losses because you’re just not making the cut. – Read: Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure-Fire Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollar: Includes Podcasts, Blogs and Media Training for the Digital Age by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin.

The Internet has not only changed the sheer vastness of services and products available to consumers, but it’s significantly changed the way businesses communicate with their buyers. The good news is that new technology makes it easier for businesses to get the right product to the right customer at the right time–and at a fraction of the cost. Completely updated and revised, this book uses the expertise of today’s top media gurus to show you how to get the word out about your product or business and reach even more buyers–without the cost of a traditional big budget campaign!

8. Mind: Know how to sell. Not just on paper, but to the people who will grant you access to their public. There are certain gatekeepers that must believe you have the right combination to get out there and stay out there. – Read: Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business by Jon Steel.

A professional “pitching coach” for one of the world’s largest marketing conglomerates, Jon Steel shares his secrets and explains how you can create presentations and pitches that win hearts, minds, and new business. He identifies the dos and don’ts and uses real-world examples to prove his points. If you make pitches for new business, this is the perfect book for you.

9. Mind: Swim with agility like a little fish in a big pond that is yours to explore and expand, effectively and efficiently. And deliberately. – Read: Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders by Adam Morgan.

A revised and updated version of the classic book on what it takes for small brands to eat the big tuna. Since Wiley first published Eating the Big Fish in 1999, the concept of the challenger brand has become a mainstream idea among marketers and advertisers. But Adam Morgan’s classic is still the best and most definitive study of the way challenger brands take on and defeat bigger competitors, and this 50,000-copy bestseller has been tremendously influential in the marketing and advertising arenas. For this new edition the author has interviewed 30 fresh challengers, and explores today’s radically different marketing environment.

10. Mind: Get back to the basics with some tried and true triumphs by one of advertising’s greats. Climb your career ladder by leaning on a tree with some of the best advertising roots to ever grow an industry by sharing advice. – Read: Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy.

A candid and indispensable primer on all aspects of advertising from the man Time has called “the most sought after wizard in the business”.

There are so many more thoughts and things to thumb through we’re like to dispense, but that’s what Mindful Readers Part II is for Readers.

Grading Sheet for Evaluating New Business

Everyone needs new business, but in these tough economic times are you truly evaluating the prospect with the same scrutiny you did before the crash of 2008 or are you looking through rose-colored lenses? Too often, today’s hot prospect can be tomorrow’s nightmare client. For the client/vendor relationship to work, it has to be a good fit for both.

Consider creating a Grading Sheet or Pre-Qualification Survey to eliminate wasting resources chasing a bad prospect. Rate each response on a scale and set a minimum qualification score before you allocate considerable time and/or resources. You’ll thank yourself in the long run with greater client retention and eventually less resources dedicated to keeping the sales funnel full.

Here are some considerations you may want to incorporate, but remember each company’s ideal client or client fit criteria may/will be different. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and ones man’s rags are another man’s riches, and stuff like that.

Knowledge of Prospect’s Industry – You’ll be successful where you have experience. Too often, you can invest a great deal of resources into a thorough understanding of a market segment without vertical advancement. Now, your stuck without being able to amortize the investment across multiple clients. You’ll always face an uphill battle not having, at least, a few market specialties. Diversity will help shoulder sector downturns, but hedge your product/service offering with not only a balanced portfolio, but also with specific industry knowledge.

Proximity to Prospect – There is something to be said about being the “specialist from out of town.” Sometimes, the mystery of it all makes you that much sexier and paid more. Also, without being in the same market, no free lunches or expensive tickets to see Billy Joel. Now, balance that cost against airline tickets, rental car expenses, hotel receipts and mileage thrown at you by not-so-thrifty account executive expense reports. Then, on top of that, add all the local competitors, which you know nothing about, knocking on your clients door every day.

Chemistry Factor – You either like each other or you don’t. It’s that simple. You’ll know, although may not want to admit it, after the first meeting.

Contact Level High / # of Contacts Low – This could actually be two line items, but we are listing it as one. It is important to both work with a high-level contact at a client and also have fewer direct contacts. High-level contacts mean you are working directly with the decision maker and the fewer number of contacts means you have a filter. Or at least if you are “working by committee,” your only having to speak with the committee chair/representative. Fewer cooks = better recipe for success.

$X,XXX – $XX,XXX of Anticipated Monthly or Annual Revenue – You dirty your kitchen whether you bake one cookie or a dozen. Bake the dozen. But, also remember, you are a not Keebler (unless you are and then welcome to our blog – need an agency?) so don’t bite off more than you can chew. Know your limitations or if you do land the whale, too many of your resources would have to go to managing it and then, if lost, so are you. But, I digress. Controlled growth is another blog entry for a later date.

Incorporated – Yes, they can hide behind the corporation if they don’t pay, but what do you think is easier to pry out of a hand, a PO from a CMO or a personal check from an entrepreneur’s 401K?

X Years Old – Youth has its advantages, but not when you are wondering if your client will be around in a few years. remember, most business fail. Work with an established company.

Sales Between $X and $X – Look at the sales of the clients you have had success with in the past, add 15% and set a range. Typically, a budget is a percent of overall sales or gross revenue. It is important to look at both. What are their sales and what % are they allocating to your services. Is it above or below industry average? Is this a determining factor for how well they value your type of service?

Service Budget Between $X and $X – See above. Just important, so we put it on here twice.

Has Worked with a Company Similar to Yours in the Past – if you have to educate your client on the services you provide, you are just getting them ready for their next supplier. Once they understand what your service is, they’ll want to shop it around. Don’t be the first service supplier or you won’t be the last.

Can Clearly Articulate Goals of Working with a Service Provider Like Yours – If you don’t truly know what their needs or expectations are, how can you ever achieve success?

Industry or Field of Interest – I bet the photographer for Playboy likes coming to work more than the one at Sears that photographs my crying children.

Similar Business Philosophy – Simple, but so important. If you let a swear word fly, are they ok with it? If you have a drink with dinner, are they going to too? Are your business ethics on the same plane? Do they value your service? Do they reward or pay their employees similarly to you? If you take off the day after the Superbowl, will they understand? Find the right fit.

Credit Worthiness – It is not only important that you work with clients that have money, but also with those who are willing to give it to you. Check out their Dunn and Bradstreet, and if you don’t subscribe, lean on your banker to help you. They aren’t doing anything right now, are they?

Then, tally the score. Commit resources only when the numbers are in your favor. There are tons of leads – chase the good ones.

Lastly, who says this has to be just a new business tool? Consider grading your existing clients every year. Throw is a few more questions on profitability and then drop the bottom 10% or so. Over time, you’ll run a more efficient portfolio and a happier staff.