Everything we’re about to tell you in this post might seem obvious. But if you really stopped and thought for a minute, how many times have you dismissed a prospective partner’s request for a call or meeting in favor of them just sending a slide deck or sales collateral? It is the easy route and it makes sense—you probably have plenty of people trying to pitch your business. And you don’t have time for that because, well, you’re trying to make money for your clients. But we are here to tell you that this isn’t always the best approach for vetting which partners might be the best fit for you. Here is what a media kit won’t tell you and why it can pay to just take the meeting.
1. Their passion: Don’t get us wrong—words matter. A well-written, beautifully designed sales sheet carries a lot of punch. But words on the page don’t speak—only a person can tell you about how passionate they are about what they do and what they can provide to you. The fact that they stay up late and get up early to make sure their clients’ campaigns are not just running, but optimized and performing at their best. The fact that this business is like their baby and they will nurture you and help you grow. The fact that they are certain they know your pain points and business needs and can come up with solutions for you. All the extra work they will put in to make sure you’re happy. You can’t read passion on a page—it has to be experienced straight from the person’s mouth.
2. Their expertise and experience: “Twenty years of experience in digital,” a roster of previous clients and employers, testimonials. It all matters—but what you miss from reading a sales sheet or a website is the story of the person pitching you. How they solved a challenging problem for a challenging client and won their business again. How much they know about the industry, its trends and pivots. How they foresee where things are going and how they might impact your business before you even do.
3. Their style: Being compatible with how a partner communicates and works is something that can’t be measured off documents. You have to talk to them to get a sense of whether it will be a fit. If you dismiss a prospective partner based on their sales deck, you are missing an opportunity for what could be a great style fit for your business. You will work with your partner perhaps as much as you do with your coworkers. Why wouldn’t you want to hear them in action to judge whether or not they would fit with your culture and ways of working?
Early last year, P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard called for our agency to grow up and rethink how it’s doing things. We ask you to use that call-to-action to reconsider how you choose your partners. Take a minute and take the meeting.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons