The three very “different” Wise Men

Three Wise Men

I don't know which gift is best!

In we went all three of us, armed with our presentation slides, our printed copies to leave behind and mock-ups  of  possible adverts and a clear idea of who was going to cover each of the different sections. At this stage we had been through a detailed briefing meeting and spent days working to bring it to this point.

This was quite a complex pitch as there were a few different businesses all under the one operation and our proposal had to incorporate all of them. We felt really confident as we had a lot of unique experience in the different aspects of  their business, which we felt would be a huge asset in working with them.

Our presentation was very detailed, demonstrating an understanding of their proposition, an understanding of the communication challenges and objectives, and outlining clearly our approach including some clever initiatives that would drive media coverage and most importantly increase business.

We were pitching to the “Three Wise Men“, the key decision makers including our main point of contact, the Marketing Director. The presentation went well, there was a good level of engagement and discussion around some of the proposed initiatives. Our allocated time ran well over due to the level of interaction, which is always a good thing as long as it is constructive.

The presentation came to an end and as we left we could see one of our competitors waiting  outside ready to make their pitch. Apparently in total the Three Wise Men were taking proposals from three different agencies.

About a week later I received a call from the Marketing Director to pop down to have a “finalisation” chat – it looked like we were in!! I had been quietly confident but in this world nothing surprises me so I never get carried away with it.

I met with him and sure enough Fuzion were chosen and now it was all about getting the whole plan going. As we relaxed over lunch I asked the Marketing Director how he would have summarised each of the different pitches – I would never ask for copies but I must admit I was curious as to how each of us was different. We are never really in a position to find this out so I was bursting to get a fresh perspective on content, substance, style and delivery.

He opened up …. “Well, each of the presentations were quite different. One was very fancy, with bells and whistles and a little gimmicky, another was nod nod, wink wink, we know everyone, we will promise you great coverage and yours was somewhere in between!” …. what a summary!

He wasn’t finished, and this was the part that totally blew me away .. “Each of the three of us preferred a different presentation so in the end they left it up to me to decide and I chose Fuzion as for me you were clearly what we were looking for” … there wasn’t even a consensus!

There was a big lesson for me in all of this – we are all different and have different styles, likes and dislikes, we have different backgrounds and different collective experiences, we come from different places and carry different viewpoints and prejudices and even when you have broken your back on a proposal and think you are in prime position it often doesn’t matter – sometimes they just like the other guy!

A week later we got a call to say that the arrangement had to be cancelled as the place went into receivership..

Great win for Fuzion!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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4 Responses to “The three very “different” Wise Men”

  1. Peter Fry Says:

    I had a similar experience. Met one of Ireland’s top advertisers told them and showed them things ad agencies had been in and hadn’t mentioned, was told what I was saying was logic yet they went to an ad agency who tried to do some things I had related but to this day they are doing things wrong. No place for the ‘little’man!, the power of being in an agency when dealing with blue chips and large corporates

  2. Sue Says:

    Morning Greg, looking for another blog from you… I think it’s called ‘no, is better that nothing.’ I want to share the link with other small businesses. It’s an excellent blog.
    In response to your son’s plight, potential customers have no idea how important that a returned phone call, even to say ‘no’ actually is. The key element in my opinion, is what I mentioned earlier…the customer has no idea!! I think that many customers don’t like to say no, hence you hear nothing. I know that in my husband’s furniture business, he can often spend a lot of valuable time with customers, listening,designing, drawing to hear….. nothing! He finds it soul destroying, like your son, it’s the nothingness that he can’t abide & yes he does take it personally, as he does say it’s hard not to when it’s your own business, you meet the customer, you prepare & execute the pitch. Recently, a potential customer that my husband had spent quite a bit of pitching to called his message minder directly & very politely explained why she wasn’t going with the job. He was annoyed that she hadn’t spoke to him directly…whereas I felt that it was fine, at least she did make that call.To me ‘no’ is definitely better than nothing!!! He read your blog last night & was delighted to hear that your son is frustrated by ‘nothing.’ But to me the all important message is that the customer just doesn’t like saying no, they prefer to say nothing, so don’t take it personally as it is not usually meant that way…

    • Greg Canty Says:

      I think you have hit the nail on the head Sue, most people just hate saying “no”, so as frustrating as it is just don’t take it personally!

      The important think is to dust yourself off and approach the next prospect with enthusiasm and give it 110% and let the “yes” make the “no” disappear!

      Thanks for sharing his story Sue.


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