The agency that falls asleep at the wheel – even when they are only moving at a slow, 5 mph – will suffer.

We are in the middle of a search for a National professional organization, helping them find a better marketing agency.  We just completed the Q&A/Chemistry call phase of the search.  We initially identified agencies for the client, had them submit RFIs, and then narrowed down the list to a group of four finalist we were interested in having present in a final pitch presentation.

Typically, post the selection of the final group of agencies, I like to give the agencies a chance to speak with the client.  Gives them a chance to get questions answered about the client’s business, their category, and their past agency relationship (among other things).

It also gives the client a chance to “get to know” the agencies.  Helps them get a sense of their personality, their organizational skills, and their smarts to some extent.

Never in the two years that I have run the business has what I’m about to tell you, has occurred….but hey, there’s a first for everything.

One of the four agencies did such a poor job of organizing their conversation with the client, such poor job of asking smart, strategic questions, and came to the call with only two people (one of which was their new business guy), that in the end, the client decided that they didn’t want to move that agency to the next phase.

Reason I bring this to your attention is because I’ve made the point about evaluating at every point in the search process – and this example clearly points out the reasons why.

Don’t gloss over any part of the search.  If the agency isn’t going to take the “dating” process seriously, what’s going to happen when you bring them on board as a partner?

The same – or worse levels of service and attention to your account?

Just like you expect the agencies to take it all seriously, you (or your search consultant) need to do the same.