Arrogant agencies need to do their client research

Imagine the scene. You have been plucking up courage to get a date with the man/woman of your dreams. Finally you do it, they agree, and you sit down together and after small-talk, they ask you to talk about yourself.

This is your chance, and you dive in to recount how old you are, how long you have been dating, you give the names of all your sexual conquests, you tell them how great those lovers thought you were, why your technique is unique and different to anyone else’s and how you helped each of them enhance their self-esteem as a result of your ability between the sheets. And best of all, here is a PowerPoint presentation that describes why you and he/she should get it on without delay.

Does that sound familiar? No? Really?

Then why do so many agencies insist on truly dreary credential presentations – on first meeting but more often than not, before we have even met as part of a cold call email that lays everything out without a moment’s thought as to whether I am interested, whether said agency has any idea of what my brand does, and without having done any homework on what may whet my appetite.

If an agency is so blunt in its approach towards me as a new business prospect, what confidence does that give me it will have any hope of introducing my business to prospective customers in a way that results in new sales? On the few occasions I have asked such questions, I get a consistent and arrogant response – that it is a numbers game, and don’t I realise how hard new business development is for agencies and it’s not cost effective for an agency to do extensive homework on a client before knowing if that potential client is interested?

As that great philosopher Winnie the Pooh once said: “You don’t spell love, Piglet, you feel it”. For a creative industry, we need more understanding in our business development. You cannot churn out another hundred cold emails hoping some will land. Human beings do still buy on emotions – even those who work in procurement departments – and a bit of empathy pays dividends.

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