My son, who is 18 and a proud first year at UVA, used to always want us to watch him when he was a little boy.  “Watch me, watch me!” he’d always say.

It was all about him and rarely about his siblings or others around him.  In some respects, it is still all about him.  Old habits are hard to break.

I was reminded of his behavior as we finished an agency search the other day.  The debrief from the client cited reasons of “me-ness” for not wanting to pursue the two losing agencies that were in the final consideration set.

I’m sure you’ve seen it…agencies that do nothing but talk about their greatness.  How cool their work is, how many awards they’ve won, etc.

It was nice to see that the agency that won was the agency we represented.  The other two firms came in from the independent selection process of the client.

The agency we presented focused on the client, talked about the client’s challenges/problems, offered some meaningful solutions, and only briefly talked about themselves.

So What Does This Mean for You?

The next time you conduct an agency search, make sure you are either very clear relative to what you expect of the agencies during the final pitch presentation…or you say to yourself that you don’t care – as your intent is to see the true colors of the agencies by letting them take the presentation where they take it.

We recommend a bit of both.  Be specific in terms of what you want them to address during the presentation, but don’t give them counsel relative how they should organize the presentation or what they should present.

Let their actions do the talking.  How they operate in the pitch is likely to be the manner in which they will likely operate when they are your agency.