Making New Business Stick

Today's rainmakers say winning a client is only a good start

Thom Forbes
freelance writer, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y

A decade ago, there was a new-business wizard in New York City we will call Joe Opendoor. He embodied the street smarts of a private eye, the leather hide of an encyclopedia sales man, and the get-the-story wiles of a reporter out of 'The Front Page.' Joe jumped on every rumor, chased every lead, and never forgot a name or useful fact. His tenacity, combined with the razzle-dazzle charisma of the high-profile CEO he worked for, created a constant flow of new dollars into an agency that has since become an obscure part of a big agency that is part of something even bigger.

You see, as good as Joe was – and he was an unsung hero to a lot of agency folks with mortgages to pay – there was a flaw in the system. The shop he worked for was so intent on acquiring new business, and the headlines it drew, that it did not pay as much attention as it should have to the business it had won. Clients would come in the front door, cool their heels for a while, and walk out the back.