Some people like to make sure they check out all the options before they make a purchase.  I love my wife dearly…but she’s one of those.  While it’s certainly the thorough way to manage a purchase, I’m not sure it’s terribly efficient.

At some point there is a diminishing return associated with the time spent looking for the best of the best and the incremental value of your ultimate selection.

The same principle holds true when searching for an agency.

Too many options will result in more of a cursory look-see at each agency’s value, headaches associated with having to spend so much time  looking at so many RFIs, and the risk of making less than solid selections due to the fact that you aren’t digging deep into the true value of each firm.

I recently ran into this with a search we got involved with.  The client pushed out his own RFI to a large number of agencies, then asked us at RSW/AgencySearch to provide him with some of the best in class agencies we could unearth.

All told, there were about 15 RFIs submitted for this search – far more than we would ever recommend for a search – if we were managing it exclusively (typically we like to present 6-8 agencies in an early phase of a

The client admitted being overwhelmed and admitted not digging deeply into each and every agency’s RFI.  Some of these agencies spent a good deal of time laying out their thinking and presenting their work – but without a deeper look, it’s possible some of the great agencies may have been lost.

So what to do?

How do you avoid this -AND – still get great options and talent?

Dig deeper before shooting out RFIs – or get your search firm to do the digging for you.

Spell out the criteria you’re looking for upfront – define a scope of search so you have some pre-agreed -to criteria to make the process more objective.

Be very specific relative to what you want each agency to respond to and suggest that while they can certainly step outside the box in how they respond to the RFI, it is critical that all the data requested be there.

And don’t be afraid to ask questions.   You’re the one running the search, so inquire away.