When I am hired to do a review the pressure is on me as the consultant to develop the initial long list of suitable agencies. The client obviously has a problem and time is of the essence. I also demonstrate my capabilities by making things happen in a timely way. I need easy connectivity with agencies which often does not happen.
I have written in the past that Agencies do not make it easy to connect. Their contact info on their site is often info@ or contact@ or they want you to fill out a form with your budget and when you want to start. Very silly.
If I send out 10 RFP’s to agencies you would be surprised how many I don’t even hear from. I usually have to chase down over 50% of the agencies that I have contacted. That is because they don’t read those e mails.
And it is not any easier when I call them. Many agencies have substituted receptionists with automatic voice mail systems. I am often making calls in my car in a no hands cell phone state so I need easy access. On many occasions when I key in the last four letters of the person’s last name the message comes back. “No such person.” No joke.
I love the phone menus that name a specific person and an extension. For John Smith dial 1. Simplicity is best and leads to connection which leads to getting more new business. I am on a tight timeline and need to find suitable candidates quickly and you are making it hard for me so I will move on. There are lots of options out there. How can you win new business if I can’t even invite you to the party? You also have to remember that 80% of clients do their own reviews and they won’t try as hard as I will to connect with you.
Beware of the gatekeeper if you have somebody that answers your phones. Are they an ambassador or disaster? When I was conducting the Jenny Craig review I phoned a prominent agency and asked the gatekeeper for their new business person by name. She said that he wasn’t in. I said that I was an agency review consultant and wanted to leave my name and number. She told me that he doesn’t return calls. True. Since I lived in the agency world I always try to contact multiple contacts from the agency that I think can help navigate me into their organizations. A few hours later one of the principals called me while on vacation and told me they would be thrilled to participate. So who is manning your phones today and what are they saying. Are they the newest and lowest compensated employee at your agency? Do they know what an agency review or search consultant is? Do they know who to connect them to at the agency? Have you sat down with them and educated them about the importance of new business?
To win new business you have to be easy to connect with. Simple thoughts but painful experiences.