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Client Perspectives: Agency Selection Fundamentals That Win Business + Build Relationships

During the 4A's Webinar "Client Perspectives on Agency Search and Selection," four marketers shared their perspectives on business development:
  • Kathy Witsil (Chase Credit Cards) challenged marketers to be clear about the objective of the search and challenged agencies to honestly assess whether their capabilities are a good fit with the client’s needs.
  • Katherine Beede (TJX-HomeGoods) suggested that agencies obtain "rock-solid" information about the brand at the start of the review. The agency should then ask lots of (intelligent) questions, understand the client's challenges, and work with the client to "nail the strategy first."
  • Mary Miller (PetSmart) encourage clients to "define the critical intent" of the search, i.e. Why? and What? The agency and client then need to take the time to define expectations: discuss how to build the relationship--goals & roles, communications and meetings guidelines plus organization and operating structures. Mary emphasized the importance of gaining alignment before starting the assignment—brief development (Strategic & Creative); approvals; timelines and milestones.
  • Andrea Riley (ally) reviewed "Rules of Engagement." Make your first impression memorable, do your homework on the client’s business, differentiate your agency by being simple and brilliant.
BizDevBlog readers, what are your observations about these client perspectives? Did the client panelists cover the key fundamentals? Did they miss anything crucial? Are there barriers that making adhering to the fundamental a challenge?
Posted by the 4A's New Business Committees

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The Webinar Audience Take Aways from Client Perspectives

4A asked webinar audience…What was the most helpful Tip, Tool or Tactic that you heard during today's Client Perspective Webinar? Their responses follow:
Highlight capabilities through case studies, not exhaustive process diagrams.
Standing out amongst a sea of pitches. Making a memorable impression.
Showing the most recent and provocative work and how it's relevant, not something old in the category.
Clients may also check us out before the pitch
Their candid remarks about time zones.....the importance of time zone was a new point for me.
Clients pitching agencies ... I liked the idea of clients pitching agencies. This was refreshing and very interesting to me.
Be an expert of their business.
Hearing that clients are interested in hearing new, fresh ideas even if they are not requested in the RFI/RFP.
The fact that they would like to hear ideas other than the ones mentioned in the RFP.
Don't talk too much about your process during the pitch.
To use our best presenters and thinkers rather than a strict adherence to putting the people who will work on the business up front.
To understand what the client is looking for, and knows about their own brand / business, their expectations, their budget ... to directly seek that information.
 "Be prepared to engage in unscripted conversation."
Make sure to ask enough questions but know that if you're a burden during the pitch process, that's a predictor of your relationship after
Posted by Mr. Thomas Finneran (Monday, June 22, 2009 9:10 AM)

The 10 deadly sins

1. Don’t ignore the packaging. No one wants to be there. Even stage plays, which are designed to entertain, appeal to only a small part of the population. It is your responsibility to package your message as simply and attractively as possible. 2. Don’t tell them how much work you’ve done – no one cares – it just raises the price (which is their time). 3. Don’t ignore story structure – every good movie (as well as every presentation) has a beginning, a middle and an end. Not necessarily in that order though – sometimes it’s best to start with the end. 4. Don’t skip the rehearsal – you should know what the flow of the story is – during the presentation is not the time to decide why ‘that’ slide is there. 5. Don’t focus on the decision-maker – he/she will feel pressured to say something intelligent. And we all know what that means. 6. Don’t be scared of protracted periods of silence – everyone has the right to lose their train of thought. A silence also means that you actually have a train of thought. 7. Don’t underestimate the power of seeing yourself present – if you have never viewed yourself on videotape in an environment of positive feedback, you’re probably missing out big time. 8. Don’t begin by apologising – thank them for their time if you have to – but where the hell were they when the page was blank? 9. Don’t rely on your content. People buy ‘what’ you say as much as, or less, than what they see. Body language can play an enormous role in conveying your message. See point 7. 10. Don’t think that a presentation can make more than one point. If you can’t articulate it in a sentence, don’t expect your audience to. People will only remember one, or maybe two things from your presentation – make sure it’s the right thing.
Posted by Sid Peimer (Wednesday, December 22, 2010 9:39 AM)

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