I remember doing an agency review once for a major client.

We were meeting with many of the big shops on the West Coast.

At one agency everyone came into the room and was greeted and getting coffee and sitting down and getting settled.

I remember something that I heard thru the power of silence.

I was unpacking close to the coffee area.

Somebody from an agency said hello to somebody else from the same agency.

Great to finally meet you they said.  I have heard great things about you.

Likewise their fellow agency member said stirring cream into their coffee.

Sounded like they had just met themselves for the first time.

At the wrap of the presentation the agency lead spoke to summarize that had a well-oiled experienced team.


I interpreted it a dedicated team of company strangers.

I have sat in many conference rooms doing reviews and have heard things I would never say. Here are some other ones.

We got together yesterday.

Most clients would feel that their account deserves more love than getting together the day before you are meeting them for the first time.

You got together yesterday to talk about some ideas you are presenting today.

That doesn’t sound like a lot of preparation.

Bad thing to say. Implies many things like late on projects, limited time on my business and stretched resources.

We don’t know much about your business.

Bad thing to say.  Clients want agencies that want to learn about their business quickly when they are changing shops.

They don’t want to spoon feed you.

I know that all agencies want to use a disclaimer in case they make wrong assumptions but many client problems are low hanging fruit.  The same issues often come up at different shops.

I have never had a client criticize an agency for talking about their business.

Hey most clients just sell stuff.  It is really not that hard to learn about their business.

When I did a search for Jenny Craig the entire pitch team had gone on the Jenny Craig diet.

Better thing to say is we tried to do a deep dive into your business given the time allotted and we learned a lot.

Better thing to do is to have the room wallpapered with material relevant to them.  Their ads, competitive ads, photos of stores, etc etc etc.

A client war room always gets points and big numbers on the sweat equity piece.

The best way to avoid such mistakes is to rehearse but for many agencies what’s a rehearsal?