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When Your Agency is Most Vulnerable
When you get a new client. No I am not talking about a new client win. I am talking about when your existing client hires a new marketing lead. Then it’s all hands on deck. This is not about business as usual.
This time is more important than a pitch because it is always more efficient to retain a client than find a new one.
Your new client is going to want to make a great first impression and where’s the low hanging fruit?
Your agency and your costs. Nobody is ever going to get fired by lowering agency fees or bringing some feet to the fire.
If their previous agency was a flake that are going to come in a preconceived impression that you could be as well.
If their previous agency was a trusted partner then they are going to evaluate your agency against that agency’s benchmark.
As soon as you hear that there is going to be a change start preparing your brand review for them.
You need to demonstrate that you know more about their business than they do and if you are a good shop you do. The agencies that keep clients for decades are the stewards of the brand.
They often know more than the new client because the agency knows the history of the brand, its weaknesses and its strengths. The little secrets. The brand assets.
What has worked and not worked in the past. You can share the insights that can make them more successful and avoid stumbling.
This isn’t about let’s get together and have lunch or come to our agency it’s really cool. We have games and a beer tap. That’s frivolous. This is about business first and relationships second at this point.
Don’t think that other folks you know at the client are going to watch your back unless you have pictures.
Before they start send them a LinkedIn invite and tell them you are excited about meeting them. Look for common connections and possibly allies.
Don’t wait for an introduction from their boss.
Call them the first day they are on the job. Not an email but a call. Personal contact is always better than an e mail.
Invite them for a Brand Overview the first week they are on the job. They may delay the meeting but they know that you are bringing them game. The fun stuff can wait until after you establish that you are a serious player.
No client is going to go back and report to their new boss that they really liked your agency because the people were pretty and that you had a great office.
You want them to come back from your first meeting to tell their boss that your shop is really smart and seem like they know what they are doing.
In your first meeting with them don’t talk about budgets, talk about the return on the investment.
Metrics first. The results. Why you provide incremental value and are worth the numbers in the budget.
You want them to focus on other areas where they can make their first impression and not in your sandbox.
If you make them believe you can make them more successful they will be happy to come over and have a beer and a game of shuffleboard.