Real Housewives and ad agency new business reminders

Are you familiar with Bravo’s “Real Housewives” series? Yours truly is a fan, knowing way too much. Strictly TV junk food. Chock full o’ fat, flavor and a big, fat dose of catty. Yet even this show made me think about ad agency new business prospecting. There were a number of surprising reminders for us:

These women are well put together. Even in the most casual of circumstances. So are many of our prospective clients. Implication: maybe jeans, a t-shirt and sandals aren”t appropriate attire for the airport. You never know who you might run into.

(In fact, as this is being written, I’m at O’Hare. (RFP gig.) My little eye spies a scamp dressed in shorts with his fly undone. He’s chewing gum and belting out some unrecognizable tune for all to enjoy. My guess is he ain’t with McKinsey.)

They hang out with others like them. The Real Housewives shows revolve around group social events. Implication: in your prospecting, where might you find groups of your prospects?! What trade shows might they attend? Industry events? Charitable causes? Entertainment / Sports-related stuff?

They want you to know how busy they are. In one recent episode, one woman invited another to a fancy schmancy New York lunch. They practically met there, but then had to immediately cancel because one woman chipped a veneer.

Do you know clients like this? After all, one agency’s client is another agency’s prospect. From a prospecting perspective, a few implications quickly come to mind:

  • Mirror their busy-ness, and respect both party’s schedules.
  • Any prospecting materials need to scream relevance. Why should the client give you any of their time? What’s in it for them?
  • Minimize any talk about you. Make it about them.Avoid wasting time.

They sweat the small stuff. Manners matter to these women. They can be easily slighted by each other when social grace isn’t exercised. Implication: this should go without saying, but there’s no room for being impolite or inappropriate in your new business prospect interactions.

Service expectations are high. There are some high maintenance people on Real Housewives. And, when they spend money on services, they expect a lot. One could argue they deserve it if they’re paying top dollar. Implication: let’s not forget we’re in a service business. One of my best friends is a terrific account pro. Her clients love her. In part, because she’s empathetic, two steps ahead and always puts her clients first.

They are direct. You might see this more on the New York cast. But I’ve often found that found more wealthy, successful people can be very direct, particularly when it comes to business. Implication: Minimize the “extra notes” where you can. Let your clarity and focus shine through in written and spoken word.

Who’d have thunk the Real Housewives could be so inspirational? Maybe I’d better tuck in my shirt at the airport…