KB+P to Schmidt: If you’re prepared, so are we

I was a bit taken aback at Bob Schmidt’s column [“Pitches in the Dirt,” March 15] in which he criticized our handling of a new-business prospect he brought to our offices a few years back. I’d like to point out that this “mystery prospect” arrived in our offices (along with Bob) having no set budget, no process for agency selection, no timetable and, worst of all, no indication of either the specific nature of the product or even the name of the company.

Given all these factors, it is no wonder that we did not take this so-called prospect all that seriously. In fact, after our meeting, we were told that there would be no agency hired at that time, proving that the entire fiasco (as we suspected) was a big waste of time.

If search consultants want agencies to show up prepared and motivated, they also have to be prepared with at least the basics: budget, product, company, process, timing. Otherwise it sets off our finely tuned “antennae” that trigger images of all the wild goose chases and wasted time and money we’ve all spent going after phantom accounts that never materialized.

Search consulting is a real and meaningful business, and those who truly practice it for a living are as professional at what they do as agency types are at creating advertising. I am pleased to say that standards for search consultants have risen dramatically over the last few years. I hear there are even searches going on to find search consultants, and these are more and more mimicking the rigors of an actual agency pitch. And thank God for that!

Jon Bond
Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners
New York

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