The trap is to plan the agenda around your agency’s credentials. Don’t fall in it. I’ve been on both sides of the table: as an agency search consultant for brand marketers and as a business development consultant for agencies. I’ve observed what entices clients to bite (the new meeting) and what causes them to fishtail away (the old way).
- This is who we are — riddled with clichés and pompous agency-speak
- This is what we do — puffed-up agency capabilities and service offerings
- This is how we work — trademarks, proprietary processes, secret sauces
- This is the proof (work & case studies) — eyes begin to glaze over by the second case study
- “Ok, enough about us, let’s talk about you…” — the client is checking their watch and smart phone by now
The best and most effective meetings I’ve been a part of in the past few years (on both sides of the table) begin something like this: The agency leader puts a jump drive on the conference table in front of the client and says, “Here are our credentials, if we have time and you are interested, we can take you through them. But, we’re here to discuss your brand and your business and learn more about your challenges.” Then the meeting proceeds something like this:
- This is who you are (brand video, brand book or manifesto) — the best meetings begin by making an emotional connection with the client. They think, “Wow, they get us.”
- This is why we like you (missions aligned) — Demonstrate passion, don’t talk about it.
- This is your customer (and they are us) — Don’t pitch prospects you don’t believe in
- These are your challenges (truthful) — Address the toughest challenges, the brutal facts
- These are our ideas for you — Business ideas, marketing ideas not necessarily spec creative
- “Oh, you want to know more about us? Sure…” — Now you’ve got their attention as they fumble around for the jump drive.
Now they want to see your case studies to see if you have experience in successfully executing similar business/marketing ideas for other clients. Now you have a chance to win their business.