‘We liked the other lot better’. That’s the worst response I have ever had from a pitch. Tell me my you preferred the other plan, or preferred their research approach but please, don’t tell me WE weren’t up to scratch.
People are the one true asset of any business. Strip out the systems, burn down the building, lose all our files and steal all our money. I can live with that because we can replace all those things. What we can’t replace (quickly easily and with absolute certainty) is the personalities and skill sets in the business.
The simple fact is, people win business. Just as important, they keep it!
I’ve done it all. Wheeled out the big boys to talk tactics, strategy, buying power and impress clients with their raft of experience and expensive watches. I’ve also pitched with….well….nobody. Just me. I like every approach but what I like more is the confidence that the people sat in our team are all genuinely enthused to work on the business we are talking about – and the fact that they will all actually work on the account.
We’re a relatively small and tight knit team. We know everybody’s partners and we regularly get together to drink, celebrate success, drown our sorrows, discuss the future and lie to each other’s children about how hard their parents work! The point about it is that we do this because we all like each other and that really matters.
It matters because I have absolute confidence that prospective clients will like everybody too. When it comes to the crunch so many pitches end with the fact that they like one team more than the other. Employing skilled and knowledgeable people is important but it’s also quite easy. Employing people we know will laugh at our jokes, join us for family celebrations and really add value to our clients business is a much trickier task.
I heard a story about a pitch that took place at an agencies offices. At the very end the potential client asked to walk the office and speak to some of the employees. Naturally, the agency couldn’t decline. So he posed as someone other than a potential client and after 5 minutes had made his decision to move on and speak to another agency. That’s no doubt par for the course with big businesses and is in essence one of the reasons we stay small (bespoke is a better word).
People win business and keep it
My mum moaned at my sister and me over the weekend for running ‘agencies’. I run a media agency and my sister has a recruitment agency. No doubt she expected so much more from our expensive educations!
Let’s be honest, agencies isn’t the best word. It’s probably up there with ‘warden’ or ‘inspector’ for disliked job titles, so the thought of using a media agency might sound to some like using a recruitment agency – all the costs for doing what you can do yourself. Right? Well no, wrong actually….. You didn’t expect me to say yes did you, and I’ll tell you why…. (more…)