We often meet potential clients who clearly aren’t sure who they should be hiring as a design agency – it’s a difficult decision to make and, aside from price, how can they compare one outfit with another?
Across the table, on the agency side, we’re conscious of not being too pushy. We don’t want to tell potential clients that they’re missing opportunities, doing things wrong, working on the wrong priorities. Our job will be to help a new clients – not make their job more challenging. So we must tread softly and as a consequence much of what we could offer doesn’t get talked about becuase we don’t want to rock the boat.
So – there must be a better way. We now ask any new potential client to agree an agenda ahead of our first meeting and here’s our start point:
AGENDA – Initial client meeting
1. CLIENT – What is your prime objective of this project?
2. CLIENT – Have you tackled a project like this before – what worked, what didn’t, what needs to be different this time around?
3. CLIENT & AGENCY – Agree the top level brief
4. CLIENT – What constraints do we all need to work with – brand guidelines, approval processes, stakeholder involvement, budgets, schedules
5. AGENCY – Explain how we could add value:
Addressing the audience – the proposition
Calls to action
Wider opportunities – connection to other marketing outputs
What are the challenges we see may need to be addressed
6. AGENCY – Explain the practical approach to the project
Breaking the job into stages – client inputs and approvals
Timeframes for each stage and schedules
Basis for costings
7. CLIENT & AGENCY – Can we trust each other?
Client – Explain if there is an appetite for change in your organisation?
Client – Are you looking for a longer term agency partner?
Agency – Give practical examples that show you can be trusted and relied upon
8. NEXT STEPS
Agree a plan of action to move the process forward
We’ve found this outline agenda has helped clients be much clearer about exactly what the want and also gives us a platform to talk about what we could do for them. It’s not a rigid approach, and certainly doesn’t suit everyone, but it’s a good starting point for a conversation.