Sometimes we come across a marketing firm that really wants, or needs, a new business win.

classic story of a new business win

You want to win the new business race going away.

Somehow they were able to get the opportunity, only to let the everyday distractions get in the way. Time, opportunity, and eventually the prospect all slip by. We all do it: get distracted, and fail at the little things that show we really want this account! Do these things and you win because you’re in the lead.

From the very first contact to the invite to pitch your agency must be:

  • The most interested
  • The most questioning
  • The most excited
  • The most helpful

At the RFP stage:

  • The best designed response
  • The best packaging
  • The most professional
  • The most tantalizing

At the agency tour stage:

  • The best organized agency
  • The cleanest agency
  • The most exciting agency
  • The best looking agency
  • The best positioned agency
  • The most interesting people
  • Looks like something on TV, or a dream, magical

At the final presentation:

  • The best presentation overall
  • The most professionally presented
  • The best room set-up
  • The best presentation team
  • The best rehearsed agency
  • The clearest recommendations

Key thought: It’s difficult to win first place from back in the pack! But it sure is easy to lose with one simple mistake!

An Odds on Favorite Tough Lesson:

And they’re off… 

Recently I was helping an agency overseas where the competition was really tough. The agency was invited into a highly-competitive shoot out with the best agencies in the country. With our help the agency had taken the lead from the start. They were the most interested, sent in the best RFP, offered the best tour.

Jockeying for position…

We had decided early to win on strategy, not creative. We tantalized the prospect with our strategic development process using the presentation tour process where we demonstrated how Benefit Testing worked. The prospect was hooked.

Into the backstretch…

But at the last minute the creative director came up with a flash of inspiration built around a new line that was “soooo perfect.” There was only one problem, however. The new line was off strategy. The creative director convinced the agency owner to change everything at the last minute to the new line.

Photo finish… 

The prospect, Body Copy (focus is on process, details, experience and price) to the core, spotted the mismatch, and in the midst of the presentation, stopped everything and demanded an answer. The agency had none. Later we found out the agency had won the account with the Benefit Testing process and the tour and all they needed to do was show up at the presentation and not make a mistake. That didn’t happen and the largest account in the country went to another agency. That one hurt.

Photo by AndersStangl