In this business of new business there has been an elephant in the room that has been ignored for years and it trumpets every so often with the refrain … “Can you provide guaranteed results?”
… at the first mention of which every single new business agency trots out the same old reply …
“Of course not, if we were to guarantee a given number of meetings then the quality would suffer and surely quality is more important than quantity isn’t it?”
And everyone sagely nods their heads and agree that yes, of course, one meeting a month that leads to a pitch is of more value than three that lead nowhere.
But are we deluding ourselves here? A few months ago we blogged about the agency as a restaurant and let’s reengage that analogy to explore this particular truism (or argumentum ad populum maybe?).
When a provider of a service (in this case new business leads) says that they can’t possibly guarantee a result what are they really saying? That they don’t have sufficient experience to make an educated prediction of the amount of time needed to achieve a client’s desired expectations? Or is it just that they don’t know if what the client wants can even be achieved?
If you walk into a restaurant and order a meal you expect the meal to arrive. It’s on the menu, so surely they have the ingredients and a chef capable of putting the ingredients together in the right way to produce the dish. If the waiter were to come back to you an hour later and say “I’m sorry; the chef has tried, he really has, but he just can’t do it. Sorry about that. He has, however, spent a lot of time trying, so we’ll still have to charge you, hope you understand”, what would you do?
Well I know exactly what I would do (and say!!).
So don’t accept such treatment from your new business agency.
Agree at the outset what the objective is. Get it written down, explore it from every angle, ask yourselves “what will success look like?”
AT Manifest we’ve taken this to its logical conclusion. If we don’t provide the results we have agreed with you can be achieved given your budget then we will continue to work for free until we have done so.