Your firm’s likeability, often called “chemistry,” describes the relationship between your firm and a good prospect. Most leading search consultants rate chemistry as the most critical tipping point that either leads to your selection or to your firm coming in “second.” However, chemistry is the hidden part of new business because it’s never mentioned in the trade press, it’s not talked about in meetings, and it’s very difficult to say “we liked them better” when asked why that firm was selected.
Marketing communications is a people business. And people work with people, not firms. When we work with people we like and respect, we continue to do business with those people. This is called “good chemistry” and having good chemistry with our prospects is the most important way to grow. The #1 reason firms get hired is good chemistry.
In a formal review, the belief is any one of the agencies can do the work – why else would you be in the pitch? All else being equal, the prospect ends up choosing the agency they like, the one they can see themselves working with, spending time with, the one they trust the most.
Understand How Chemistry Wins New Business
Creating good chemistry with people is not as hit-or-miss as you may think. People’s personalities and how they interact with the world can be categorized into patterns and profiles. Your firm must learn to understand these patterns, or profiles, prospects come in so you can adopt a way of dealing with them to achieve “good chemistry.” We’ve trained many agencies in profiling and how to put prospects into one of the four major prospect quadrant called Headline™, BodyCopy™, Logo™, and Illustration™.
Your team must understand how to recognize the personality profile of prospects based on the way they talk, how they act, what they wear and what their offices look like. All of these and more offer clues on their profile.
Once you have an idea on the prospect’s profile, then you must understand how best to modify your team’s behavior to make the client more comfortable and strengthen the relationship. For example how should you present your ideas to the prospect? What type of entertaining would they most like? And most hate? Which prospects will buy risky creative? And which ones wouldn’t? And when should you present options? And why you should never present options to some prospects? Shifting your approach tactics for each prospect really helps your firm’s likability.
Agency Leader Checklist:
- Make sure your new business team understand the basics of personality profiling
- Make sure your new business team shifts tactics to match the profile of any prospect they see
- Make sure your new business team understands that what wins at one stage (process in the RFP stage, for example) might count for little at the next stage (agency presentation stage, for example) when new people (different profiles) are now sitting in judgment.
To win more new business you must understand why it’s not the creative you show or the range of integrated services you present, but rather accounts are won on how you promote your likeability every time you meet the prospects. This allows you to walk away at the final presentation with the account in your pocket because the prospect liked your firm better.
Chemistry is the most important part of any new business effort. However, few agencies know how to win new business by using the unfair advantage of Chemistry. You must learn how your agency’s basic likeability is projected in everything you do and say and how the new business choices you make shape your firm’s likeability early in the review. And then control your new business destiny.Photo by ~iamanaira