business development ideas live

Chelsea Fringe

On my cycle home, I pass one of the locations for Chelsea Fringe every evening and have been meaning to post about it. Chelsea Fringe – what a great idea. The Edinburgh Fringe is now the gem of the Edinburgh Festivals and started, I believe, as a response to the more traditional Edinburgh International Festival with its impressive, but elderly tattoo.

Gardening is and should be more accessible that just the rarefied experience offered by the Chelsea Flower Show, so the notion of a Fringe adds, at a stroke, a hint of cool and modernity – and increases the overall appeal and accessibility.

What else could do with a fringe? Ideal Home Fringe? The Proms Fringe? Glyndebourne Fringe? Henley Regatta Fringe?

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business development likeability talkability

Don’t just say you’re brilliant. Be brilliant.

A better way to promote your agency‘s abilities: make something blinding that begs the question “who made that!?”

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business development

Is now a good time to speak?

In the same way there’s rarely a time when a flat tyre wouldn’t be inconvenient, it’s rarely true that “now is a good time to speak” when an agency cold calls.

Like most marketers, I’ve taken hundreds, if not thousands, of introductory calls. I respect the individuals who do this as it’s a tough gig, and I’ve often thought about what works and what doesn’t in my experience.


  • Read from a script. Don’t even have a script. Unless you’ve got Robert de Niro working your contact list, it’ll come across inauthentic and unconvincing.
  • Have the same play for every target. Delivering award-winning DM work for a midlands council won’t strike much of a chord with software retailers.
  • Be too chummy (“hello mate, how was your weekend”) or too flattering (“I know you’re a busy executive”)
  • Ask open-ended, over-familiar questions, “what are your strategic objectives for the next 12 months?”. They’re not going to tell you (and they might not even know themselves).


  • Get to the point. A polite, expedient manner acknowledges that the client’s time is valuable, but so is yours. That makes you worth listening to.
  • Know the brand and its issues. This means more than a quick Google, but a real think about what the client will be worrying about and why your agency is specifically, demonstrably suited to help – “we’ve seen this situation before and we were able to…”
  • Have an opinion. It’s OK to challenge and show confidence – just build on it and end up with a way forward not a dead end disagreement.
  • Be persistent. Much as I hesitate to say this, it is true that calling back time and time again works. Just do it with a touch of humour a tone that says it’d be simply criminal if we didn’t at least hear each other out
  • Have some work to present. There is nothing more powerful than already having work you want to show. “Don’t think us presumptive, but we’ve mocked up a campaign idea for you. Just give us 10 minutes any time this week and we’ll show it to you, no strings attached.”