In our most recent agency-marketer business survey (to be released next week), we learned that a large number of you are receiving a lot of calls from agencies every week.

60% of marketers in our survey said they receive 6-10+ calls per week from marketing agencies!

So how do you sort it all out?

How do you decide who to talk to/who to see?

I’m sure there are times when you feel they all seem to sound the same/do the same thing.

In addition to our RSW/AgencySearch business, we also work with over 50 agencies, helping them manage their new business development programs.  We counsel our clients to make sure that everything they do is about you, the marketer.


In past surveys, when asked what marketers want during first calls, you tell us you want an agency that asks good questions, listens, values your opinion, provides meaningful examples.

What you tell us you get is just the opposite:  the agency doing most of the talking (about themselves), a lot of sales lingo, a presentation about them, and egos.

What many agencies fail to recognize is that they aren’t the only game in town.  Even if they are fortunate enough to get a call with you, they need to recognize that there are 10+ more agencies right behind them trying to break down your door!

So here’s some advice on how to sort out the good calls, voicemails, or emails from the not-so-good ones:

  1. Talk to the agencies that leave messages about you, not about them
  2. Talk with agencies that don’t use “salesy” subject lines
  3. Talk with agencies that share success metrics for brands that are like yours
  4. Talk with agencies that make it easy to talk with them (they are respectful of your schedule and time).
  5. Talk with agencies that aren’t pushy – those that don’t call you ever other day
  6. Talk with agencies that show some understanding of your business and/or your category
  7. Talk with agencies that give you what you ask for in a conversation
  8. Talk with agencies that keep the presentation closed and carry on a meaningful conversation with you about your business
  9. Talk with agencies that send in a senior level employee (preferably the principal)
  10. Talk with an agency that suggests their point of difference is something other than “we’re strategic, we’re hard working, we’re fun to partner with”.

So next time that phone rings, answer it…and listen to what they have to say.

Agency Phone

It could be your next great agency.

Or it could be another agency without the smarts to know what you’re dealing with.

It will only take 30-45 seconds to figure out which is which.