But, I take exception with Robb’s Agency Pitch Mistake #18 in which he says, “…Agencies often think if they low-ball their price in a new business competition, they increase the likelihood of getting selected.”
High says a client decision is based, instead, on feedback such as, “I like them and I trust them.”
I agree that chemistry is key. But, and this is a big but, many prospects refuse to provide ANY budget parameters whatsoever during a search.
They’ll ask you to “think big” and “show us how creative you can be.” Others will list their business challenges, and ask for strategies and tactics (all gratis, needless to say).
Then, if an agency is so fortunate, they’ll be invited to a final round of in-person presentations with the prospective client decision-makers. That’s where Robb High’s likeness and trust factors come into play.
But, and this often occurs, when the agency completes its presentation and presents a suggested budget, there’s a nervous laugh, followed by silence. Then, a senior executive on the client side will ask, “What could do within, shall we say, far more modest budget parameters?”
I’m not sure why this bizarre mating ritual occurs as often as it does, but it does.
And then a day, a week, a month (or, sometimes never at all), a call or e-mail will be placed or sent by the prospect thanking the agency profusely, but explaining they selected a competitor who seemed to “…be able to do more with less.”
In other words, they selected Robb High’s low-ball agency.
It’s not pretty. But, it’s life in the agency business. And, try as hard as we do to pre-qualify prospects at the very beginning of a pitch, many invariably hint that budget isn’t an issue. They’ll say they want the smartest and most creative partner. What they fail to add is, “We also want a low-ball budget.”