Haven’t we all been there? Ugh. Awhile back a national ad agency asked me to help them replace a large piece of business whose loss was going to cripple their agency. Here are broad snippets of the proposal they received from me, which will help you think through what to do next time this happens at your shop. (Distant future!)
Addressing these kinds of issues will help:
- Identifying potential clients by category, challenge and target. Move beyond the simply “screw ’em, let’s take this experience to their competitor” mentality. Be extremely careful, by the way, of what is proprietary and confidential to your past client vs. what is not. Not an area you want to mess around with. This is a another reason why you may want to think of your experience in terms of challenge and target.
- Recognize and leverage existing category-specific intellectual property. Again, I say unto you: YOUR stuff. Not your former client’s.
- Ensure that select search consultants know your experience is now available. If you’re a smaller agency, ignore this point. But with big pieces at big agencies, it might well be worth a custom effort to let search consultants know the story.
- Build word in the category/target/challenge, etc. through public relations (appropriate trade shows, trade magazines, etc.). You will want to have handy the talking points on why you’re no longer doing business with the past client.
- Re-check that rolodex. Some clients tend to stay in their industries. Who’s gone where over the last two years? If you’re reading this and have not done this in the past, shame on you. Leveraging these relationships should already be a part of your new business plan. But we digress!
Execution of your plan, of course, must be done quickly and at the highest priority.
Hope the above has been of some help, despite it being hastily written. Things are crazed here at Thunderclap. But the good kind: starting two new clients/projects, crafting a pitch story for an agency, and writing agency proposals for 2011.
Should you wish to discuss any of the above, feel free to comment or gimme a shout! Thanks again.