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Jumpstarting your agency’s business development (featuring Adam Graham)

Adam Graham, Founder of both Gray Matters and BD Matters, brings a wealth of agency business development expertise to the table in this episode of Chats with Chip.

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Adam Graham, Founder of both Gray Matters and BD Matters, brings a wealth of agency business development expertise to the table in this episode of Chats with Chip.

When agency owners focus on sales, it tends to be because they are looking to quickly grow or rapidly replace lost revenue. Adam explains the importance of having a plan and a process in place instead of launching haphazardly into an outreach program.

Chip and Adam also discuss the importance of proper positioning for the agency and why having a clear focus and specialization makes sales business development much easier.

Finally, the pair talk about how small agency owners can get help with growing the business without removing themselves completely from the responsibility of business development.

Key takeaways

  • Adam Graham: “Everybody’s in sales, whether they want to believe that or not.”
  • Chip Griffin: “You’re trying to find clients that are a good match for your agency, and if you do that then you’ll have success.”
  • Adam Graham: “Don’t try and force your solution to close that deal. If you help that person, there might be a referral or an appreciation down the line.”
  • Chip Griffin: “The reality is agency owners have had success in selling, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. You cannot have an agency unless you’ve managed to sell clients.”


About Adam Graham

Adam is the Founder and MD of Gray Matters and BD Matters. He is a creative, commercially focused new business and marketing specialist, driven by a desire to help B2B businesses, particularly marketing agencies, stand out and grow by building reputable brands.  He has honed his craft over the last fifteen years, having worked in new business consultancies and in-house for RAPP, Vizeum, Isobar as well as agency networks Omnicom and Dentsu Aegis. He is experienced in brand building, marketing and sales pipeline development, as well as running hundreds of successful multi-million-pound pitches.

He believes strongly that business owners need to be braver and more honest to create authentic and differentiating brand stories, so that they can attract the right, long-term clients.  This belief, coupled with a more scientific approach to new business, gives business owners the confidence and rigour they require to succeed.

The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.

Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Chats with Chip. I’m your host, Chip Griffin, the founder of SAGA, the Small Agency Growth Alliance, and I am delighted to have with me Adam Graham, the founder of Gray Matters and BD Matters. Thanks for joining me, Adam.

Adam Graham: Thanks, Chip. Great to be here.

Chip Griffin: So as, as you may pick up from the BD and BD matters, we’ll probably be talking about a bunch of business development topics today.

But before we do, why don’t you just give listeners a little bit of an overview of yourself.

Adam Graham: Yeah, no worries. So my background’s about 15 years since I graduated from, University doing graphic design. I kind of moved into recruitment, so that was my first taster of sales. And then I started working in a new business agency that, that purely worked in the sort of marketing agency space.

And from then I was, I wanted to get in-house, so I went in-house with Omnicom. So I worked for RAPP and D D B doing a lot of, you know, everything from sort of cold calling and studying to run pitches and, and that sort of business development. From there I moved in-house to Dentsu, where I worked with Vizeum.

Carat, iProspect part of the, the Dentsu group running sort of pitches, doing marketing, positioning work for those guys. And then I went to head up new business at Isobar, which is a global digital agency. So that was the, the, my sort of whole career in learning. And then for the last kind of five years, I, I founded Gray Matters, which is our new business consultancy where we work with agencies on positioning, growth strategies, lead gen, and marketing.

And BD Matters. More recently founded is my community of business developers. And that embraces kind of small agency owners, marketers, everyone kind of involved in the, the growth and lead generation of, of agencies. So yeah, that’s, that’s me today.

Chip Griffin: So obviously this is a, a perfect set of expertise because you’re, you’re not a newbie when it comes to business development, and you certainly know it from the agency perspective.

Most small agency owners wear a lot of different hats and one of them always is business development, but it’s probably, I won’t say the least favorite hat, cause the least favorite hat is probably the financial management. You know, because that’s numbers and all that kind of stuff. But, but probably a close second for many agency owners is the business development piece.

They, they view getting business as important, right? They know that’s how they grow. At the same time, most agency owners in, in the small agency world would prefer to focus on client service and the creative aspects and all of that kind of stuff. Yeah. So when you’re working with a small agency owner, How do you help them overcome some of their reluctance around business development?

I mean, what, what are the, what are the key things that you can do to help them feel, you know, more, maybe not enthusiastic, but at least empowered about business development?

Adam Graham: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it was, it was kind of something I noticed it was, it’s kind of sad for me because I realized halfway through my career that I actually loved business development and I loved sales.

And people were like, what? Is there something wrong with you? And. I noticed quite early on that it’s people’s relationship with sales and business development that was one of the biggest issues. So now one of the pillars that we put into sort of the, the Gray Matters approach is mindset and culture.

And that comes before positioning, right? So this is kind of like your whole relationship with, with sales and the growth of your agency and your involvement in it. I used to have a strap line for a long time, which was actually learn to love business development. So sort of trying to change that mindset.

And, and part of the community work I do is all around trying to change the perception of sales. And I think it has a lot of negative connotations and I think that is the, the right place for agency owners or BD people to start. You know, sales for a start is, is very, very complex, right? And when we talk about bd, we’re talking about everything from sort of, You know marketing and, and doing kind of posts on LinkedIn, social media, networking, speaking events, all that kind of thing through to content writing down to sort of cold calling, lead gen, nurturing CRM systems, like the whole breadth.

And so just say you don’t like sales or bd, I think is is probably a bit naive for people because you have to sort of define what parts of BD you like and what you don’t like and what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. So I think that’s a good place for, for a lot of people to start. But like I read, you know, Daniel Pink, you know To Sell Is Human and that those, that kind of book and that sort of language in my understanding is that everybody’s in sales, whether they want to believe that or not.

We’re all in a sales job, right? Our job, whether we’re trying to influence our partners, our friends, of even what takeaway we want to eat on a, on a weekend, you are kind of still selling what you want to happen. And I think it’s just about understanding sales doesn’t have to be this kind of horrible, awkward situation where you are sort of feeling like I’m very introverted.

I don’t like putting myself out there. I you know, I, I don’t want to be overly salesy. People should come to me and they have this issue about like, Their own confidence. And it comes into like imposter syndrome. I mean, it gets quite complex in the psychology of, of sales, I feel. But that’s what I love about it.

And I think actually once you find you can find your own way of selling and you can, you, it’s just about being yourself, right? It’s introspection if you can be yourself, you’re selling because it’s just being natural. And I think people see sales as this kind of unnatural forced discipline that, that enforces your views onto someone else.

When actually sales is about being natural, acting yourself and helping people, and everyone likes to do those things, right? So just do more of those things. Just maybe have a bit more process behind it and, and you’ll, you’ll be doing it. So, yeah,

Chip Griffin: Yeah, no, I think part of the problem too is, is you know, effectively what you’ve touched on is that people think of sales as, as something a little bit different than what it really is.

And, and it really is about having these conversations with people who might become clients, being yourself, networking, all of those things that most agency owners would say they’re generally comfortable with. But when you say sales, they start thinking about the car salesman or the telemarketer or those kinds of things where it is… it’s not so much about truly being a matchmaker, which is how I think of business development in the agency context, right? You’re trying to find clients that are a good match for your agency and, and if you do that, then you’ll have success. If you follow more of the telemarketer approach, which is follow a script and do everything you can to get them to say yes.

You’re probably gonna end up with more sales, but probably not really good clients. And so if you think about it in terms of those human relationships that you’re developing in order to build your business, I think that that can often address some of the issues that you’ve outlined.

Adam Graham: Yeah. And it’s just about finding, finding your way in into that.

And I think you know, the, the reality is, is that the sales that people think of, and the connotations come from a time that pretty much predates the internet, right? So we now understand that the buyer has more knowledge than the seller, right? So the people we are selling to have more knowledge about the agency landscape, different agencies out there, what’s possible, what’s disciplines are out there.

And so, trying to sell them or convince them of something when they know more than you or know something’s not necessarily true, is only gonna catch you out and, and is gonna be quite narrow minded. Your job is to actually put yourself in the, in the shoes of the buyer and then try and understand of all the plethora of agencies and disciplines and solutions that are available to them, what are the pros and cons to each of them?

And your job as a salesperson is to help facilitate that and guide people to help them understand. And, and by doing that, you are in turn selling because you’re building trust and you are helping them find, get to the solution. And if the solution isn’t what you are selling, then that’s the right thing. You know?

Don’t try and force your solution to close that deal. You need to sort of, because even if you help that person, there might be a referral or an appreciation down the line. They might come back and become a customer of yours in the future, but you’ve done your job. It’s just to help that person get them to their next step.

And you need to find people who are looking for more of your solution and, and working with them to understand that. So I think it’s just, you know, we talk about helping, not selling and adding value and all these kind of things. And I think if. If people went out there and just helped five people a day and recorded it in a CRM system, they’d have a very strong sales pipeline, you know, and it’s as simple as that.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. And, and I want to come back to the, the CRM and pipeline thing and tie it back to something you said earlier about process. But I, I, I think, you know, to me, one of the keys here is when I’m working with an agency owner as I’m sure when you are, you know, they often express a lack of confidence in their ability to sell.

Hmm. The reality is they’ve had success in selling, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. You cannot have an agency unless you’ve managed to sell clients. It’s not like, you know, the, the clients just magically appeared out of thin air. You did something that won that business. So, you know, you need to start from that place of confidence.

But then I think this is where it comes into what you talked about earlier in terms of process, and you’ve now mentioned CRM and pipeline. If you’re, if you’re working with an agency owner, who maybe doesn’t know where to get started in terms of building a more formal business development process for their agency.

How do you suggest that they get started? What should be the first steps that they should be looking at?

Adam Graham: So, Obviously when we talked about mindset and culture at the beginning, the, the next step is positioning, right? So again, I’m probably kind of like holding people back here because they’re like, what I want to get going, right?

When are we gonna start, like, getting out there, reaching out to people, right? You, you, you’ve gotta sort of, you know, walk before you can run. And I think there’s foundations that need to be built into a sustainable, we’re talking about like long-term growth. We’re not talking about like a quick tactic that’s gonna like you know, I ping out a thousand emails, maybe I’ll get a couple of responses, might generate a lead next week. I’m talking about an approach here that will instill your agency for decades to come. Right? And that’s positioning and it’s, it is complex, right? Way more complex than people even give it, you know, credit for and, and, and appreciate it.

And, you know, people kind of have their own version of positioning or proposition and what that means. You know, what we’re talking about is like a real combination of like emotional and rational factors that make up the, the sort of messaging and the buying signals of your, of your company. You know, from an emotional standpoint, which is where agencies kind of – most B2B organizations barely even scratch the surface of this is like, you know, what is your opinion on, on the industry?

What is your tone of voice? What are your values? What’s your personality? If you were like a famous retail brand, who would you be? And people are like, oh, that’s a good point. I’ve never thought myself like that. Yeah, that’s the point. You need to start thinking of yourself like that because guess what? You are an agency.

You are a brand too, not just the clients you service. You are a brand. What does your brand stand for? So this is whole kind of emotional part of your brand, about, you know, and, and let’s not forget that buyers buy emotionally and they often post rationalize. So getting the emotion right, getting that trust and gut instinct is so important to your positioning.

And then the rational side of your positioning is the what do you do? What’s the value you bring? Who do you do it for, and how do you do it? Right? The much more functional parts of like, can you actually solve my problem? Equally as important, don’t get me wrong. But again, kind of people scratch the surface with it, you know?

Or they, they just pitch their services rather than talk about the value those services bring or the solutions those services solve. Like we just do SEO, right? Ok I get that. But like, that’s not the problem I had when I needed SEO or if I didn’t know if I needed SEO so there’s, there’s that part.

There’s the who we do it for, which kind of gets people into a complete head spin. They’re like, oh, why would I cut my audience down? Right? Because that’s gonna narrow my market and then surely I’m not gonna make as much money. And it’s like, no, be a specialist. And, and the other big point here is that everyone automatically thinks I’m talking about sector like it’s a niche, a sector. You get to define your audience. This is one of the most exciting parts of a new business strategy. And, and that is that if I said you are gonna be the content agency for Heritage Brands, I haven’t defined a sector. Right? And if you put that on your website, everyone listening, it’s probably 10 times better than what you’ve got right now and it took me two seconds to think of that. So I think what you could do, if you really thought about the way you define your audience, right, geographically, the, the, the personality of the client, the, the, the way that businesses approach the market, how long they’ve been in business, the makeup of the internal teams is a million ways you could deconstruct that, that audience, right?

And I think when you get all those things aligned, your kind of emotional messaging mixed with the sort of, the value you bring mixed with the audience, this is what builds an elevator pitch. And that’s what’s gonna ultimately drive the new business strategy, the content plan, the, the entire approach to your new business strategy.

So yeah, that is, that is fundamental, I would say.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. And, and I, I love that you’ve talked about the importance of, of having a focus. Picking a niche, but it doesn’t have to be sector based. And this is, I, I think this is probably one of the biggest misconceptions that a lot of small agency owners have, is that in order to have a focus, they need to, to say, okay, well I’m only servicing, you know, high tech companies, or I’m only servicing, you know, Funeral homes or whatever, right.

It, it doesn’t have to be like that. I mean, that’s sort of the classic definition of, of nicheing that a lot of people will pedal. But the reality is it can be all of the things that you’ve outlined. And, and I often encourage people to think about, you know, what’s the DNA of all of your existing clients And, and, you know, look at all of the individual genes, if you will, the characteristics.

And that can be not just the business itself, it can be the people within them. You know, I think we, we overlook the fact that sales is a process of two people interacting. The brand of your client does not hire the brand of your agency, right? These are not logos making decisions. It’s people. And so you might work better with someone who is a fairly new CMO or CCO for a business.

Adam Graham: Yeah, that’s another piece.

Chip Griffin: You may work better with a large team on the client and or a small team. All of these things go into that positioning, how you speak about yourself and who you’re targeting.

Adam Graham: The, the other interesting area of positioning is not just that, is the audience, the brand target? So I could be an agency that specializes in Gen Z, I could be an agency that specializes in, in 40 plus year old women, like, you know, that could be my specialty and you come to my site, all my insights, all my white papers are about, you know, women of that age and what they might be going through in their life. And I help brands connect with that. And, and none of this cuts down an audience. It just helps you focus and helps a buyer understand the real specialism and, and the, and the value you can bring.

Chip Griffin: Yeah, and, and by the way, it doesn’t help just with sales. It also helps with your profit margins because if you’re working for similar sets of clients with similar challenges, you can become more efficient at the solutions you’re providing. It doesn’t mean you need to do cookie cutter, but it means that you and your team have the knowledge of how to speak to the target audience, how to, to talk to the clients, the kind of pain points that they have.

And if you do that, you’ll not only be able to do it more efficiently, which drives your profits, but you’re probably delivering better results because you really know what you’re doing in a particular way, and you don’t have to relearn and reinvent the wheel every time. So once you’ve got your positioning down, you know, then what’s next?

I mean, I, you know, this is, this is where I think people do want to send out those, you know, thousand emails and just say, Hey, come buy from us. And, and. I, I mean, I’m sure you see this as well. A lot of times when someone comes to us, when they talk about a business development challenge, it’s because they have a particular revenue problem.

Maybe they’ve lost a big client, or, you know, maybe they’re afraid about the recession that may or may not be coming. And so they want to try to grow revenue now as quickly as they can, as a cushion, and, and it isn’t an overnight thing, but you know, what is that first step? Once you’ve nailed your positioning, once you know how to speak about yourself and who you’re going after, how do you actually start going after them?

Adam Graham: Yeah. Well, I, I am gonna pull you back one more time. Okay. And just check in something in between, right. Which is feel free, what we call the growth plan. Right? And this is just a plan. So we’ve got the positioning, but we need to know how we’re gonna get there, right? And how we’re gonna grow. And so I’ve seen like new business strategies that are like, oh yeah, let’s go off to FMCG.

Like, that’s my strategy, right? Our strategies are like 60 slides long, right? That, that, that go through bit of positioning. We’ve talked about. Personas, audience, pain points, all of that stuff. It gets into sales funnel information. So understanding what’s your revenue target? How much is coming from existing clients and the growth of those, what’s the, what’s the gap for new business that needs to make up?

What’s your average deal size of a client? If you worked out across a year and what’s your conversion rate on your pitches or your proposals? And then you work back to understand what kpi of leads do you need at the top of your funnel in order to achieve as the bottom of the funnel. Right? And once you’ve got that, it’s a really good practice for everybody to do.

They kind of understand like either their expectations are unrealistic or they understand the investment or the work that’s gonna need to go in to generate that many leads. Cause people normally look at that go, whoa, that’s a big number. Right? And then you can work out your tactic. Around, like, well, how, what are we gonna do to get there?

You know, events, thought leadership. I’m gonna launch a podcast, I’m gonna build these referral partnerships. I’m gonna you know, write this much content or use these tools and whatever that looks like. You know, there’s a lot of tactics we can obviously get into another time. But the, the then what we call like rev ops now, which is kind of like a growing term.

What, what the, the foundation to the growth plan. What we have, keep it simple, is the CRM system. The sales and marketing calendar or content calendar that we call it, which is like just an annual zoomed out version of like, what are you doing over the course of the next kind of few months. And then we use monday.com as like our sort of project management tool because that’s where we track all the tasks and things like that.

And between those three things, we kind of have everything covered and then we can then obviously then we work out like what are we doing at, what’s the lay down over the next three months? So there might be a couple of sectors that we choose to go after. We then sort of can take positioning and say, right, well, how does this relate down into content strategy?

What blogs are we gonna write over the next three months? When is the newsletter gonna go out? When are we gonna do our first event? What’s gonna happen across social media? We plan all of that. It’s subject to change, but we plan it in advance. And then we’re, then we’re golden, right? But we also think about like the, the, the implications on time and resources, roles and responsibilities.

Who’s doing what? And if you go through, you’re like, right, well if I’m gonna write this blog, it’s gonna take me four hours. Can I do that or do I, or do I need to pay someone else to do that? If I have to pay someone else to do that, what’s it gonna cost? So we work out a proper, a budget and a time and go right, what is achievable in all of this time?

And that really helps because I think a lot of new businesses just – very speculative and people go, yeah, yeah, we’re gonna do all this stuff. But they’ve got, they don’t actually, they’re not accountable to it. So then it comes round and they’re like, oh, I didn’t have time to write that blog this month. Or Oh yeah, shoot, I haven’t posted on, on LinkedIn in three years.

Like, you know, like they just get to that point. So you have to sort of, the process becomes so important and the execution of new business is so important about logging things in the CRM, setting activities. But bulking out time in your diary to write that blog, to do those follow up emails, to write that proposal, you have to put them in your diary and they can’t move.

And if they do move, You have to move it to a time you could do it. And if you don’t do it, you’ve got a real problem. Not now. In three months time when your pipeline is non-existent. And that’s what people need to realize like this, the what all that planning they’ve worked out, they put in their diary.

That is to ensure they have the long-term plan. The minute they’ve stopped doing the things they told themselves they were gonna do, they will have an issue three to six months down the line. And the process goes on.

Chip Griffin: I love that you’ve talked about the importance of effectively having a reality check on your plan and, and sitting there and saying, okay, how much time is it gonna take me to write these blog posts?

How many leads do I need to get in order to actually close this many deals? Mm-hmm. And I think this is where a lot of the planning process falls down. And, and an agency owner may say, Hey, I did a plan. I’ve got a plan. You know, we’re gonna, we’re gonna add 500,000 in new revenue next year ,we’re gonna have three clients in the first quarter we’re… but, they don’t actually think through what does all of this take? And they, on the marketing side, they put down, I’m gonna do, you know, a blog post a week, a podcast every week, I’m gonna do, you know, a white paper every quarter. And, and they don’t sit down and figure out, is this even feasible?

Can we do this with the resources that we have? If not, what resources do we need? And I think particularly when you’re doing your projections, this is an area where I’m sure you see it fall down just as I do where someone says, You know, we’re gonna add 500,000 in new revenue next year, we’re gonna grow by 25%.

Well, what does that look like? And not just on an annualized basis, but you know, where do those accounts come? Because if you, if you add all of your accounts in the fourth quarter, you didn’t really add 500,000 in revenue because they’re only gonna be paying a quarter of their revenue. Yeah. Also, you need to think about if I add five new clients in the first quarter, can I actually onboard them?

Can my client service team handle it? And so, having those reality checks, I think is so vitally important. And it’s not just enough to put a plan on paper. You have to test that plan.

Adam Graham: And I find where, where this goes wrong and, and like, look, I love non-execs and coaches and all those guys out there, right?

But like a lot of them, They may have run agencies and you may be listening to people who have run agencies and sold agencies and done it all successfully. And that’s, that’s great. But a lot of them haven’t done, what I’ve done is the hard graft in bd, right? Where you are entering data into a CRM system, you are setting activities, you are measuring KPIs that are far, far more granular then you care to, but not caring is what is catching you out and why you are not hitting those targets that you know, that Chip’s talking about. Because it’s those granularity of KPIs that are so important because they, they might look at the big number and they might look at the profit margins and they say, yeah, hey, we should hit this.

But like you’re saying, what is the granular plan? We will tell you how many like messages you need to send a day to hit your target, right? You can track it down to the day, and if you miss that day, well then you do it the next day. And if you miss that week, you do it the next week. But the problem is, is that they miss every week and they miss every month.

And then they go, we’ve got a new business problem. And so it comes back to why are they not doing that thing right? Because they don’t know what to do? Because they don’t like doing it? Because they’re delegating it to someone who’s not doing it? It comes down to what we talked about at the beginning, which was mindset and culture.

It comes down to they’ve got some sort of imposter syndrome. They’re procrastinating. They don’t think it’s valuable. Something is stopping them doing those things. It’s like, You know, it’s like going to the gym, you know, like you know how to lose weight. You just don’t do it right, because we are just inbred lazy people.

Right. You know, that’s us as humans and we often think we can delegate this to somebody else, but the business owner, You know, especially in a small agency is never gonna be able to fully delegate new business in its entirety. When I talk about like the 30 different aspects of BD and what it makes up, you might be able to delegate yeah. Posting a social post or sending out some emails, of course. But you’re not gonna be able to like delegate the vision of the agency and you know, your proposition work and your involvement in a pitch, for example. Or your ability to stand on stage at an event or write an incredible piece of thought leadership.

You can’t employ someone, you know, with three years experience to do that. And that’s what’s happening. You know that that kind of like, I don’t want to do this, I don’t like this, I’m not quite sure what to do. So there, what do I do? I go and hire someone who’s quite junior, inexperienced, presume they’ll do it, leave them to their own devices, then it all falls apart and then I go, shit, what do I do next?

I’ll hire a new business agency and I’ll give it all to them to do. And then I don’t manage those guys very well, and I have real unrealistic expectations. So after six months, I fire them and then we go and hire like a senior new business guy. But all he wants to do is write new business strategy and he wants to attend meetings, but we haven’t got any meetings.

So why isn’t he picking up the phone? Well, because he’s been doing tales 10 years. He doesn’t wanna pick up the phone and you need someone junior alongside it. But that’s gonna cost me too much money. I can’t afford to do that. This is the cycle that agencies find themselves in constantly around how to, how to make this thing work, right?

It’s, you know, new business isn’t a rocket science. You generally know what you should be doing. You know, you should be reaching out to people, you know, you should be putting out content, you’re just procrastinating about it. You’ve got some sort of imposter syndrome, or you, you know, not, you haven’t invested in the right infrastructure to do it.

You know, people wise, and, and, and that’s, it all falls down from there.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. I mean, ultimately there is no magic wand. You can’t just simply say, okay, you’re gonna blast out a thousand emails. You’re gonna hire someone to do the work for you. You can absolutely get people who will help you. And, and probably you should be looking at how people either on your team or that you can add to it, can help you in doing some of the, the blocking and tackling that it takes for business development.

But as an owner in a small agency, if you’ve got 5, 10, 20 employees, you gotta be involved. And, and not only because that’s the only effective way to sell, but if you, if you were to find that, Unicorn salesperson who can actually go out and does wanna pick up the phone and all that. If they’re not integrated with you, they may not be selling the right stuff.

And so then you may end up having a reputational problem down the road because they manage to convince people to hire you who aren’t good fits. And so you absolutely need to be involved. And, and as much as you may think that, you know, geez, this is not something I wanna do, you’ve got to be involved. And I think that’s a, a key takeaway for folks who are listening.

Adam Graham: Yeah. Yeah.

They’re, you know, sales is like, it’s like your ears and your mouth, right? It’s, it’s like you cut those off and you’re pretty senseless, right? In terms of where you’re going. And so I think, you know, people don’t use sales necessarily in, in the right way, I think. And I think sales is like, it’s a feedback loop.

Every, like, people hate rejection, right? And rejection is one of the greatest things in sales and in life. Because it’s the one thing, one of the main things that teaches us something about ourselves and our business. And what we can improve. It’s a massive indicator, right? It’s just that people don’t listen to those indicators because they’ve got too big an ego and they think, I don’t need to listen to that.

Like, you know, they, they’re wrong. I’m not wrong. But it’s like sales is the place where that happens, you know? And I think people need to go into sales as a, as a learning exercise. Think where you could learn. I wanna test out a new proposition. Great. Do it. Learn to from people. What, why don’t you act as a different person for a week, right?

On all your sales calls. And see how it, how people react to it, right? Like, try and be a different version of yourself on you. You get to try loads of different things. What I love about sales. And see the reactions, see what lands, see what doesn’t land, see what works. And I think people are so nervous in sales that they’re like, everything’s gotta be perfect and I’ve gotta shoot the, you know, put the, the prospect up on this pedestal.

And it’s like, this is your chance to sort of have fun. It’s just fun.

Chip Griffin: And, we don’t spend enough time listening in sales conversations generally, right? We’re, as agency owners, we’re excited to talk about all the good work we do and the good work we’ve done and our great team and all that. But, but frankly, you mentioned listening to, to hear rejection, you also need to just listen to the client period and understand what their problem is because most agency owners are actually pretty good at problem solving.

It’s what you do. Once you’ve got someone as a client. Start that out when they’re a prospect, listen to what their real challenge is, what their real goal is, and then speak to that. Don’t jump out and talk about all your capabilities and, you know, wanna share your creds deck right off the bat, listen for a little bit.

That would be, I think, a, a good takeaway. And, and, and hopefully people listening here have gotten some, some good advice. If they’re looking to, to listen more to what you have to say or participate in your communities or otherwise take advantage of your expertise, Adam, where can they find you?

Adam Graham: Yeah, so our website is gray-matters.co.

So it’s G r ay dot co and that’s our sort of main consultancy business. So, you know, where, where we, we give people our time and efforts and we, we do act as their, their sort of outsourced sales house, but we, we work with the team. You know, you could probably tell on the way we’ve spoken today, this is a lot about mentoring and taking people on a journey to get them in the right place.

And then the other place is BD matters. So if you’re in business development. And you wanna be, you feel like a lone wolf. You wanna be surrounded by people who talk your language, like me and Chip have talked about today. But also for small agency owners who wanna learn about BD and wanna be more accountable and, and everything that’s BD matters.

So it’s BDmatters.co. It’s a membership subscription so people can check out the website and, and sign up. But yeah, that’s, that’s my way where you can find me or on LinkedIn where I’m often ranting about BD and these sort of things. Happy to help.

Chip Griffin: Excellent. Well, Adam, thank you for sharing your ex expertise with my audience today.

I appreciate you doing that and I appreciate everybody who has spent time listening to us today, and I look forward to seeing you all back again on a future episode.

Adam Graham: Thanks guys.

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