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Category : Thinking

Hire A-Minus Sales People

All the way back in 1964, David Mayer and Herbert M. Greenberg reported the findings of their research on what makes “the best salesmen” in the Harvard Business Review.

They correlated sales performance with personality test results and identified two key factors. The first – Ability to Feel — was essentially empathy, the capacity to sense what the sales prospect was feeling. The second trait – Need to Conquer – was the drive to close the sale, not just for money’s sake but because their egos absolutely required it. (more…)

The DIGO Standard

THE DIGO STANDARD; How we succeed together

Below is the DIGO Standard in its entirety —


01.) Who We Are:  

While we can be considered a thriving independent strategy/research/brand/design/innovation/advertising/direct/digital/social marketing agency, we prefer this handle: brand-driven growth network. We make things grow, from product innovation to every facet of promotion.

We’re Here to Make Things Grow:  

Movements. Ideas. Products. Brands. Companies.

If we can’t get excited about growing them, we shouldn’t be working on them. The work we do has a purpose and fits into a larger whole. By maintaining that perspective, we make success more difficult. But in facing the extra difficulty, we earn our integrity, self-respect and market value.

We Exist to Inspire:  

Our clients, consumers, one another, the world around us.

Clients need to feel our passion and enthusiasm for ideas that can build their business. We didn’t sign up for boring cubicles and never-ending meetings. Let’s make the time our clients spend with us meaningful, fun and inspiring.

Why Do We Say Client Fulfillment?:  

Because clients who are really fulfilled-fulfilled as people, professionals, and clients too- will become lifelong clients and in turn, recommend us. That’s how we grow. Great Clients, Great Work, and Great People.

We Are a For-Profit Company:  

We provide value to clients and should charge a fair price. And should not be shy or subtle about it.


It’s what comes from investing in people and relationships, valuing them above short-term gain. Make your clients, your partners, your people feel that true partnership is possible. Invest beyond all calculation in people who inspire you. Be an honorable and generous partner at all times.

We Are One:  

We are one firm: We have many different brand names on our business cards. We may work in different departments. But we are all responsible for the success of our clients, either directly or indirectly. There is no success apart from common success.

Each of us is Responsible for Our Own Inspiration:  

Don’t settle for less. Find, ask, challenge, orchestrate, search, revisit…do what it takes to get inspired to do your best.

We Are Smarter Together Than We Are Alone:  

Bands are more successful when everyone knows their part. Let your bandmates play their part.

02.) Listening is More Important Than Talking:  

We’re all smart (or else we wouldn’t be here) and it’s not a contest. Speak up when it’s right and listen well and actively.

Remember That People Come Here to Do and Be more:  

Don’t put yourself or anyone in a box. Expect creativity from “account people.” Expect strategic smarts from “creative people.” Expect management smarts from everyone. Collaborate with everyone you can. We play roles but if we wanted to be limited by them, we would be someplace else.

The First Rule of a Judgment Business:  

We have an obligation to share our point of view, regardless of its popularity, both internally and externally. But once a decision is made, we are equally obligated to support it.

Clients Are People:  

If you can get them to feel that you know that, the rest of your job gets easier. Treat them like part of the team, rather than a boss or an obstacle. Tell them what you really think. Joke and confide and take the risk of feeling comfortable around them. Challenge them to inspire you. Challenge yourself to inspire them. Be big enough to celebrate when they have a big idea.

If You’re Here, You’re Smart:  

Don’t hold back. There are no bad ideas or dumb questions. Only the ideas you held back and the questions you should have asked but didn’t.

If Things Go Wrong, Speak Up:  

If you need help, ask for it. It’s far better to raise an alarm before disaster strikes than after. Together we can solve almost any problem. Communicate early and often.

03.) It’s the Work:  

While not every project presents an opportunity for greatness, everyone is an opportunity to practice your craft. In the long run, those who work more, who try it more ways, who do something good and then do something better, who crank, will accumulate many years’ more practice more than their less prolific colleagues. This confers upon them an unmatchable advantage.

Like + Trust = Business:  

People hire people they like and trust. It really is as simple and profound as that.


Especially at the beginning of relationships, while you are earning the trust and admiration that will smooth the inevitable bumps down the road. While figuring everything out, and layering the groundwork for success. Get on more planes. Provide more options. Ask more questions. See the factory, meet the workers, go to the research, talk to the sales force, get a demonstration, sample the product, talk to a board member, brainstorm with the client. Over-communicate. Over-collaborate. Over-deliver. Time and energy invested in relationships pay us back in better work, business and results. Oh, yeah, and better relationships too.

Great Work Wins Business. Great Relationships Keep Business:  

We proactively work on relationship building. What are you doing this week to build and strengthen a client relationship?

This is a Relationship Business:  

We’re small enough that we can manage personal relationships. So, honor personal relationships. Treat your commitments as sacred. Communicate. Never leave your colleagues in the lurch. Be the colleague you wish for.


A problem, project or opportunity well defined is half solved. More time is wasted not thinking well at the beginning of projects than can ever be made up by speed, efficiency or piling on staff later.

In Running Meetings:

Start on time, end on time. Have an agenda and stick to it (unless there’s a good reason not to). Agree to next steps and follow up.

Take the Word Brief Seriously:  

Let’s not ever make each other guess which part of the brief is the important part. Let’s include the important part. Let’s make sure our briefs are simple, compelling and crystal clear. Nothing in an agency is more sacred.

Make the creative teams and our clients partners in the brief.

Design In Context:  

The context is the user’s or the audience’s experience. Design in context. Present in context. Evaluate in context. The first rule of design. And remember that everything that we do is design.

Agree on Strategy, Budget, and Schedule:  

Simple, yes. Always followed, no. Let’s remember the basics.

Promise Wisely and Then Over-Deliver: 

Make no commitment without consultation. Give clients something they didn’t ask for. Sometimes, deliver ahead of the deadline. End a meeting early and give colleagues, vendors or clients the gift of time.

Great Presentations Tell a Story:  

One thought per slide. Tell a complete story, with insights and ideas.

When Presenting Big Ideas, Don’t Sell Executions:  

Countless ideas get killed because the client sees execution too early. We sell big ideas first. Then the execution. We like simple descriptions and key visual to buy a big idea. Nothing more.

Creative Work is the Product. Get Behind It. And Be Ready to Defend it When Necessary:  

Choice is good. We almost always have three options to choose from. And never one we can’t get behind.

Client Presentations Are as Important as New Business Presentations: 

No understudies on presentation day. Casting is important.

04.) We Are All Responsible For Holding One Another to This Standard: 

When our colleagues succeed, we all succeed–so help one another exceed the standard. If a colleague is not living up to this standard, we all have an obligation not to let it pass. If you have an issue with a colleague, deal with it directly, privately and professionally before you escalate. If that is unsatisfactory, get help. Professional expertise is a given around here; modeling is the true path to success.

Don’t Blame Digital.

Learn how to turn your online presence into an analytic guide to making smart marketing choices in an article our colleague Jeff Pundyk wrote for

Jeff has spent his career creating digital content aimed at professional audiences, most recently at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. Now he’s teamed with DIGO Brands – as you know we’re a full service agency with deep B2B roots — to help our clients use digital to connect with clients, prospects, and recruits in a richer, more sustainable way.

DIGO Brands The Pitch Process

AMC’s new documentary series “The Pitch” features some terrific agencies this first season, including DIGO in Episode 7 scheduled to premier on Monday, June 4th at 9pm. “The Pitch” has spawned a lot of comments within the agency community about the agency pitch process itself. Negative comments. Nasty comments. Prideful, rebellious comments. So, we threw our comment into the mix, and republished it here. (more…)

The Pitch Ruins Reputation of Ad Industry.

While people outside of the ad industry seem to enjoy AMC’s The Pitch, quite a few people inside the industry are understandably concerned about the inability of the television series to portray every single truth about ad agency life and every role that makes agencies go. At first, I thought this was just a lot of whining and posturing, but then I saw the show, and I have to agree! Here are my impressions: (more…)

Love What You’re Selling.

If you’re selling something, you should love everything about it. You should suck the juice out of the parts that others just throw away. You should devour the rind and make tea from the seeds.

Your job is not to seem the most sane, balanced and detached individual in the world. You should be on fire with this thing whatever it is. Hear Steve Jobs talk about Apple technology. Read what Howard Schultz has to say about coffee. You must be entrancing, and the only way to do this is to be yourself entranced (more…)

Learning To Love The Pitch.

As a young teen, I invited missionaries from several major and minor religions to present their pitches to me in our family living room. I loved to see how they sold their beliefs, through brochures, and slide shows, and question and answer sessions. I loved to think about how their differing answers led to different values. Clearly, these missionaries had found games worth playing. To be frank, some seemed happier than others. Those who were preaching the imminent end of the world seemed to operate out of grim duty. Those who were selling eternal life with one’s perfected family seemed to feel they had a jewel to share, and beamed with enthusiasm (more…)