Wasting your time in ad agency new business

It’s Friday. And this afternoon, I’m short timing it. Much like…wait for it…a kid’s last day of school. And quite possibly, your next new business pitch.

What this few hundred will get at is how you can tell you are wasting your time in a pitch. The post was inspired by a comment a friend of mine made on Facebook. She said the next few days of her children’s education will be wasted because no one wants to be there. Everyone is going through the motions. Kids are thinking about their summers. Teachers, too, are no doubt thinking about how they will enjoy the next few months.

Who hasn’t felt this way in a new business pitch? No one likes it when potential clients are not paying attention to your thinking and creative brilliance. All that waste is enough to make one race out of the classroom, never to return.

When your prospects are looking at their blackberries and iPhones instead of you, that’s no good. But that suggests you’re well down the pitch path. You need to know sooner.

So, just how do you know that your audience is not taking you seriously? Here are a few things to consider:

You’re invited by procurement
You’re on the pitch list because someone paid to come up with options did a bit of research or heard you might be a good agency. The manner in which you were invited also counts. Was it via email? A phone call? An engraved invitation only sent to five agencies? Don’t know about you, but the last one would get my attention.

You don’t know any of the decision-makers
Closely related to the above thought. But if you or someone on your team doesn’t have a relationship…odds are not in your favor. The kids are looking out the window…

Your questions are met with non-answers
Typically, this happens earlier in the process. But when you get bad, not helpful or politically correct, meaningless answers? Another sign. Your sense of their willingness to participate is also a qualifying factor, right?

No love
What I mean here is no special treatment or enthusiasm. No flexibility. Easier to see this in person than over the phone. But over the phone, for instance, should you experience pauses, voice tightness, interruptions, and a general unwillingness to build conversation synergy…Alice Cooper is blaring.

A great spin on “no love” is from pitch guru Don Peppers. Read about that here. Look for the idea of testing your relationship late in the post.

Anywho, hope the above gets you thinking.

Should you wish to avoid crickets in new business pitches, look here. It’s a series of posts that will inspire you to more full engage and convince your prospect you are the agency for them.

If, however, you’re thinking about the above through a lens of qualifying your prospect, take a look at this.