A well-known Agency Business principle: Clients are won on creativity and lost on service. Right. But this “poor service” concept has many dimensions and degrees of seriousness. Let me describe the absolute sin, the most effective way to lose a client.
We are 2 days before a major agency presentation on a very important brief received weeks before. After already a few meetings, it is clear that the agency has shown real difficulties to deliver good creative work.
It is 11:30 pm in your office. The floor is covered with roughs, scripts, scribbled pieces of copy. Everybody is exhausted, but let’s be clear: you are in trouble.
All that you have is rather poor work, boring, or complicated, or déjà vu, or highly creative but strategically quite irrelevant, and more importantly doesn’t solve much of client’s problem.
Therefore you have a choice:
- You call your client the morning after to postpone the meeting, saying for instance that what you have to show is “interesting”, with “promising routes” but that current work as it is today is not “good enough for him” and that you need one more week to “double check and optimize”. He won’t be happy, but very probably he will accept to give you more time, in his own interest. And miracles can happen in one week in this business.
- You do not resist any longer the very high pressure put on you by the frustrated creative team to try to sell “route 4” proposal, as it is “good enough”, or may be “good for the agency book”, but it will “allow everybody to move on to something else.” Exhausted, frustrated too, or simply lost, you finally accept to recommend it through a very well prepared presentation that you will deliver with maximum conviction. Finally, this route is not so bad… and you have talent when you sell.
Guess what happens: your client realizes that you, the agency guy he had respect for, his business partner, the one he was TRUSTING, is trying to sell him crappy work, which very strongly demonstrates that not only you lie, but moreover that you take your client for a fool.
Extremely effective strategy. Three months later, the account is under review.