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Call us for a chat on +44 (0)20 7836 3678 or email Amanda Francis


The 2014 new business prospect bugbear list

I have read two articles in the past week, revolving around lists of personal annoyances. Loud conversations on mobiles, eating smelly food on trains, people standing on the left side of the elevator, commuters reading over your shoulder, rucksacks!! Don’t get me started on rucksacks!

Over a few festive beers at Alchemis, we devised a list, which inevitably drifted into the world of sales, clients and prospects. With 2,000 new business meetings being set a year, the odd bit of misfortune, rudeness or just downright stupidity is inevitable and below is our top list of occasional events that make us pull our hair out and ask “why?”

Anyone involved in new business will relate to these and it may be too much to expect this to change in 2014, but we can hope.

Prospects that:

  1. Won’t just say yes or no – don’t keep us hanging on! If you don’t want to arrange a meeting, tell us so. Similarly, if you are interested, let’s get that date in
  2. Are late for meetings – it never fails to amaze me how rude people can be. Our clients have made the effort to get there on time, often from long distances. Please show some courtesy
  3. Move meetings at the last minute – why would you do this? OK, so there will be the odd personal emergency, but moving a 10:00am meeting at 9:30am is just not on
  4. Decide to leave the company – a bit tongue in cheek, granted. I’m sure over the past few years, this has maybe not been through choice, but it is a real frustration to have a prospect leave between call and meeting or almost worse between proposal and decision!
  5. Bail on a meeting, but send a junior – we would rather you just rearranged. We have nothing against your executive, but we arranged the meeting with you for a reason
  6. Take a client idea and turn it into a brief and competitive pitch – this is a real bugbear. Our client has done the hard work. They have taken a problem, devised an idea, proposed that idea and then suddenly another agency becomes involved. Naughty!
  7. Don’t read the information you send or claim they haven’t seen it – you asked for it! We know you probably want us to jump through one more hoop before you commit to a meeting, but at least have the decency to read what we send
  8. Drag their heels on a proposal – I know this has been a frustration of clients. It all looks positive, we keep chasing, but……….the decision is delayed by another 4 weeks. Tenacity is key here. We have lots of examples of proposals turning into projects 6-12 months later
  9. Don’t respond to emails – I feel I need to counsel clients on this. They have the meeting, they send some information and then……..silence! Don’t get upset by this. Whilst we believe that every email should receive at least an initial response on the day it is sent, unfortunately, it seems that this is not the view of many
  10. Don’t pay on time – clearly this frustrates us as it has a knock on effect and many implications. We are very protective of our clients. Most are small to medium agencies, as are we, and as such we understand the difficulties of managing cash flow. Often it is the big blue chips who dictate terms
  11. Won’t provide honest feedback – give it to us straight. We are thick skinned. If you have had a meeting and you don’t think you can work with our client, tell us and let us know why. We work closely with our clients on their positioning and proposition and new business meeting performance. This is useful for us. We can also chalk you off and focus on the prospects that do want to work with our client

Watch out next month. What frustrates us about clients!!

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