Posts Tagged ‘new business’

The freelancer’s dilemma

Many months back we posted a ‘true cost of agency workers’ article on the site. About how full-time (general) staff’s salary is actually about half what it really costs a company to employ them.

We still get the occasional response to that post – our posts attract all sorts of oddballs. Which we don’t mind.

If you missed it, we took a vote some weeks’ back and picked one of the oddballest ones. And published it with our comments. After all, the freelance oddball who wrote to us asked us to do this. And anonymity was, accordingly, preserved.

Image result for freelancers dilemma

Rated daily

Now, by popular consent – and never ones to turn down a challenge – our fearless crew here at VnN, re-publish the letter together with our comments. And, to spice things up a little, the comments from our readers, too.

But first, the original letter:

Dear Ed

I’m appalled. I’ve just been for my third ‘interview’ (they’ve really been nothing more than informal chats) with an agency looking to appoint an experienced and successful freelance new biz person. Me!

At least that’s what I thought as we’ve had good chats and we seem to get on well enough. They tell me they have a great product and their fab clients love them muchly. And so they want to grow. They see me as helping them to do that. And I’d like to make it happen.

So far so good.

Now for the not-so-good. They have offered me less than I have asked for as my day-rate. As requested, I gave them a range of £x (the lowest amount) to £y (the top of the range) and they’ve come back with £x minus £z. Which means I don’t even get to £w. If you get my drift?

Unfortunately, I have to admit this grates. But what do I do? If I turn them down, then I’ll end up with zip. If I accept their lower-than-my-stated £x threshold rate, I’ll be continuously hacked-off that they’re getting me on the cheap. So I won’t do a great job and it’ll all, most likely, end in tears.

Agencies are always hacked off when their (new) clients try to screw them down. And that sours the whole relationship before it even starts. What should I do?

Yours confused…

Read more…


New business job descriptions to avoid in the New Year

‘Tis the season to be merry. Simple definition of merry:

  • very happy and cheerful; feeling or showing joy and happiness

  • causing joy and happiness

No excuses then. Especially on the last Friday of the year before Christmas. Let us simply be merry.

Defining moment

And for any new business job seekers out there who want to remain merry, Views not News‘ advice (the last for 2015) is equally simple:

Unless new business ‘job descriptions’ (let’s call them ‘people requirements’) in 2016 comprise no more than THREE simple statements or questions, avoid them.

Senior management at VnN are experts at talking themselves out of jobs. Mostly – but not exclusively – where job descriptions for new business have been drawn up without any thought given to their practical implementation.

Indeed most job descriptions are completely overwrought and unrealistically

Read more…

New business creds: a phone call in print

What is it with agency creds that they’re so frequently so-o-o-o boring? Why do capable, imaginative, resourceful agency folk trot out such PowerPoint dullness – or more fashionably, now, but equally tiresome PDFs – every time?

Look interesting to you?

Look promising to you?

You’ve never heard that before, have you? Nor this:

So easy for you consultants. Got your whole career behind you and no career ahead of you. Easy for you to say what you like. Because you can. Nothing’s easier than being critical about someone else’s work. And if you’re so clever…

OK, enough. consultants are supposed to be ‘clever’. Although ‘experienced’ is more accurate. Whether that equates to ‘better’…? You judge.

Freely and fortunately donated to Views not News, here’s one consultant’s response to the “If you’re so clever…” invitation, above. Part summary, part verbatim mash-up it’s how one consultant, in his own words, has framed his views to improve an agency’s creds.

See whether you think these guys are ‘better’… Read more…

Taxing telephone times

HM Revenue and Customs in Whitehall.

Your call is important to the Chancellor

Unlike Facebook and Google and Amazon and all the other multi-million £££s perfectly legal non-taxpayers of disrepute, I called HMRC last week. Better known as the tax office to you and me.

I mention the above-named global giants because the difference between them and me (and you?) is that I wanted to ask how I could ensure payment had been received by them.

An alien concept not understood by the afore-named favourites. And you heard it here first:

They (HMRC) answered the phone after a couple of rings. Tops.
They were extremely helpful when I asked some details about my tax demand: What did this bit mean? Why have you asked for that?, etc.
When I then explained that I had actually paid them (alien concept referred to above) but had used an incorrect reference number and was a bit worried it may have gone astray…they took care of everything immediately and without fuss.
And told me not to worry! This must be how counselling sounds.

This is not what I had been lead to expect. Newspaper stories about the impossibility of phoning HMRC last week were generally scathing. Headlines such as this were commonplace:

HMRC under fire for attitude to taxpayers

Read more…

Why No is not ‘No’ in new business emails

A recent freebie gathering on how to write better emails:

The scene: an intermediary’s recent ‘workshop’.*
The topic: How to write emails that ‘cut through’.
The audience: agency new biz types / sprinkling of other marketers / hopefuls of varying rank.
The general premise: people listen to experts; intermediaries are experts.
The general exception to the rule: there’s always one (who won’t).

Where your email doesn't get opened

Where your email probably doesn’t cut through

Intermediary’s proposition:

  • clients are incredibly busy
  • they probably receive anywhere between 150-350 emails a day
  • colleagues’ and known senders’ emails get opened
  • unknown senders’ emails simply get deleted
  • how does yours get through, then?
  • answer: by creating that special ‘cut through’.

Erm…yeah…but how, exactly?

Audience status: OK; recognises this is scene-setting; is in nodding agreement; sceptical but still expectant. Want answers to that final…’answer’. Carry on then.

Intermediary’s solution:

  • The secret of our email success is based on five key points:
    1. a great subject header
    2. an engaging / intriguing / must-read introduction
    3. absolute clarity of your offer so that it’s immediately understood
    4. evidence that you know what keeps prospects up at night (hate that cliché!)
    5. a meeting request
    6. PS: there’s no need to take notes, folks; we’ll email a copy of this to all attendees.

One audience member jokes she may not open it. Or worse.

Audience status: OK. Is that it? Benign. Little to argue with. Then a question:
“You lead with the subject header. From your experience, do questions work well in the subject header?”
(This is an actual question.)

Intermediary’s response: “The subject header is really important. This is where the prospect instantly makes up their mind about whether to open your email or not. So you must make sure you have the very best subject header you can think of. As far as questions go, yes, they can be a very powerful device to gain prospect attention…”

The emailer’s dilemma

Gawd. Talking of attention…mine drifted away.

Committed, still sane emailers know and practise all this. Everything we new biz types do and say is designed for one purpose: to get the prospect thinking “I should be talking to these guys”.

Email is just a tactic. An important one. But let’s start not at the beginning but at the end of our emailing efforts: given that you can write sensibly enough, what to do after you’ve emailed your prospects. This topic never arose at above freebie. Unless my attention-wandering state missed it.

Consider the three likely outcomes following your usual email efforts. These account for the 99%: Read more…

What new business cold-calling can teach the PM

Handling hoax calls is not something the PM should be having to deal with. Ditto cold calls.

So we’re concerned but quietly confident that a wealth of expertise gained from new business cold calling at Views not News can help. Should it ever happen again, that is.

Here's an email I was sent...

Here’s an email I was sent…

It’s the NHS, our economy, immigration, Grexits, Ukraine, Saudi funerals, IS — not to mention a general election in 100 days’ time and how to get out of having demeaning telly debates with all sorts of undeserving class war upstarts — which should be matters of concern for the PM right now.

Perhaps add in the crisis of leading Premiership football clubs losing to lower division sides in the FA Cup, too. Black Swan things.

But defo not coked-up, drunken, probably workshy and boastful Sun readers having a laugh. Cheekily asking the PM if he’s awake when it’s 11am. Most likely trying to dig the dirt in an unguarded moment on what Dave really thinks of Nick. Actually, that’s not too difficult to work out.

But get used to it: digital has democratised everything. Even democracy.

So we’ve polled our hugely experienced cold-calling workers here at Views not News to get their personal views on how to handle cold-callers.  Asked poachers to become gamekeepers.

If you’re reading, David Cameron, GCHQ directors, we’ve summarised the many tips and experiences our dedicated staff have submitted.

Based on our extensive prospect calling history in a dramatically changed marketing world, at home and abroad, here’s our top three suggestions you can use now to avoid ever having to answer a cold / hoax call again: Read more…

New business: it’s not about you

If something is new (and shiny) is it good?

Yes, is our automatic response. Certain words invoke universal associations. Blame your parents for all the nice presents they gave you as a kid.

Is that proper English?

For the hard of thinking?

Consider ‘small’. Especially when it relates to ‘thinking’. That combination signals limitation, constraint. You can just picture that unhappy, unsmiling emoticon.

That’s bad, isn’t it? We want ‘big thinking’, don’t we? Something that’ll set the world alight.

From time to time, I’ll get a call or have a conversation that goes something like this:

Them: Mate, how’s it going? Whassup?
Me: Good. You? (I know who they are. Caller ID, blah)
(Big interlude here of non-specific catch-up chit-chat and goss)
Them: So I was wondering, I’m hiring a new biz guy to do some work for me. Wondered if you had any tips…anything I should specifically look for?
Me: Great. Well…depends on what you’re asking your guy to do, really.
Them: Get shedloads of new biz.
Me: Ah. Easy then. What’s s/he telling you they’re gonna do.
Them: Er…get shedloads of new biz.
Me: Sounds like you’ve got it sorted, then!
Them: Seems so. Just wanted to check with you about how you’re finding it now…?

And so it goes. They want to know what I would do.

Now, I don’t mind these chats. Indeed, I’m rather flattered by them. It’s good to talk and all that. Even if people aren’t really buying. A bit like those calls to radio talk shows where the caller has a ‘friend’ who has some distressing personal health symptoms or is just trying to help a close relative who is going through a tough time at home.

So here’s what I say. In summary. Check if it’s as disappointing for you as it is for my interlocutor(s): Read more…