To win you musn’t losePosted: March 30, 2009
OK so that was an awful headline but the point I wanted to make is that in these unusual times PR agencies and for that matter a whole range of other consulting businesses, need to rethink the way they approach new business. If they want to win more business, they may well be better off pitching for less. This may sound rather illogical but my point is that right now it’s not uncommon for the number of firms bidding on a piece of business to be double the normal size. This has happened in part because clients are being really risk averse and want to make sure they are getting the best ‘value’ but also because agencies are having a hard time saying ‘no’. I’d urge agencies to start saying ‘no’ for several reasons:
1. They can commit resources to pitches they actually stand a chance of winning, instead of having to pitch anything that has a check book.
2. They will suffer fewer losses. A large number of pitches are predetermined during these times and many of the agencies taking part stand no real chance.
3. Staff will appreciate being set up to succeed rather than fail.
4. By saying no they will be teaching the clients that long agency pitch lists are not really needed
5. By saying no they will sometimes make the client want them even more. Forbidden fruit and all that.
So next time you are asked to pitch for a piece of business, ask whether this really is the right one. People can deal with failure in a growing economy without too much difficulty. Successive failure in a tough economy could demoralize some agencies. Pitch less, win more.