True love vs. arranged marriage: agency partnership in new business

From time to time, we’ve all been there. We get an RFP asking for X, Y and Z. We do X pretty well. But Y and Z? Not so much. So, to ensure your daughter can continue going to a private school, we consider cobbling together a partnership with another agency.

Is this a good thing? Meh. There are a lot of variables to consider and your mileage will definitely vary. But for the most part, it might not be a good idea. Made worse should this be an arranged marriage that looks OK in an RFP response, but features no actual proof of successful past partnership. Clients are on to your Jedi mind tricks! And for the most part, they deserve better.

Instead, why not pitch a chunk of it? Your prospective client might really…love the real you. Here’s some language you can use in a letter or RFP response to call out some benefits of working with you instead of a one-stop shop approach:
  • Maximize your flexibility on how many and with whom your partner. Many of the country’s largest marketers work with dozens of agencies across single or multiple brands. So, if you like us, but like an element of someone else, too, you can do that. Our agency has a track record of working and playing well with others… (insert agency story here.)
  • Take advantage of a specialist’s expertise. In this business, many agencies will claim they can do many things. But what do they do really well? And how does that compare with what you need?
Again, the “you” in the above bullets is your prospective client. You, the agency, can find another few bullet points when you answer these kinds of questions:
  • What is your service, and where does it fall in the order of a natural process? Research, for instance, can and should be done first. (And can more easily be carved out as a specific deliverable).
  • Does what you do lead or follow?
  • What does the client lose through working with multiple firms? How can you address that? Through technology, integrated planning meetings, etc.
  • What does the client gain? Surely there’s something you have that others don’t. Or better said, an aspect of your offering – perhaps your experience or your staff – that might be worth reinforcing here.
Anywho, hope this gets you thinking.
Oh, and and if you are interested in NOT having to get in an arranged marriage with another agency and want to know more about how that can increase your revenues… Check these out.
Sprinkled around these few posts are links to other Thunderclap posts that contain truly fun and interesting ways to build relationships and win more new business. Consider it a little valentine from me to you, you, you!