We often hear that all agencies are the same and they often are.  I have written about that sea of sameness.

When I conduct an agency search many agencies that profess to be different send me things that often look the same.

The map of their global reach, their proprietary hocus pocus planning process, their page of logos of large clients, their folks who went to the best schools and worked at the best companies.

Nothing wrong with that.  It all true but the end result is that they all look as if they came from the same egg.

What separates agencies is how they act.

When I am conducting a search I send all the agencies the same piece of information with the same things that I am looking for, the same budget and the same timeline.

That’s when agency sameness ends.

Some agencies call or email me within a couple of hours or sooner and ask if we can talk that day.  Right away I feel their sense of urgency.

Other agencies reach out to ask if we can talk next week because somebody is out of the office for a couple of days.  Next week?  I am conducting an agency review because the client has a problem they want fixed quickly and you want to wait a few days.

If you had a first date and followed up after a few days how do you think the relationship would go?

Then there are the NDA’s.

All agencies react differently to NDA’s.

Some agencies send me their NDA that they want my client to sign.  Companies have NDA’s because they have lawyers and so does your agency.  I expect companies to be run by lawyers.  I don’t expect agencies to be run by lawyers.

When an agency sends their NDA to sign it implies they are bureaucratic and ruled by New York.

I have agencies that were part of holding companies send me back a signed NDA in a matter of minutes.  I can hear the fax machine come on right after I sent it to them.

I have had agencies that were part of holding companies fall far behind in the review process because it took more than a week to get back to me.

The same NDA.  The same set of similar agencies but all with different reactions.

The ones that moved the process along quickest in the end went further down the road as the others were left behind.

In agency searches as in life it is not what you say that matters it’s what you do.