Top Ten Things Buyers Can Do To Make Their Lives Easier

Last week I wrote a column that seemed to cause a lot of discussion and sensitivity. Of course, sales people wrote in, asking, "But what about (planner) buyers?" You didn't think I'd skip over us, did 'ya?

Before I get into this again I'll say it again: This is a quick-hit overview that truly cannot encompass all the wrongdoings and misbehavings of the industry. It's also not a time to take shots. If you wish to stoop to that level, do it on the Spin Board.

So again, this is a compilation of observation and feedback I receive from sales reps and vendors about planner/buyer types. It is important to me as a writer and as a VP of Interactive media, to hear what others are saying. Certainly I don't get much out of certain random stealth messages on the Spin Board. However, many of you have written with a lot of constructive criticism. I applaud you for that. Of course much of this is common sense coupled with proper manners.



Here goes (in random order):

  1. If your phone is ringing off the hook, find a way to manage your calls. I know many agencies (mine included) do not forward account lists. Keep this in mind. It is a reps' job to call on your agency. If you cannot handle the flow of calls, have a planner help you.

  2. Consider the job of a sales person. They have many people to contact on both the client and agency side. They are dealing with as much churn as you are. Many of their companies have downsized as well. They are on the road constantly. They have serious numbers to hit in an uncertain economy.

  3. If you agree to a meeting, it would be more fruitful to forward information on your agency/accounts to avoid the canned dog-and-pony show.

  4. If you set a meeting make sure you attend. Pat from 360 Youth told me that many people send junior folks in place of them. This is unacceptable. He went on to say think of the time spent arranging the meeting, preparing the presentation, traveling, dealing with cars, planes, etc., booking a hotel room, etc. The list goes on.

  5. Duh... make sure you have a room and show up on time (with business cards).

  6. If you/your team needs an RFP submission or information, don't just email it. Call beforehand or after to let someone know it is coming. Make sure you walk your rep through it. I was horrified to hear that oftentimes agency people leave out important things like: the client name, flight dates, target, when the document is due back... Come on people!

  7. If you receive a proposal, RFP, other and don't recommend it, please call the rep and let them know why. They've worked hard in getting you this information.

  8. If you are doing (or want to be doing business) with someone, have regular touchpoints. Let them know what you are thinking about in terms of strategy for the account. Many people wrote in last week highlighting the importance of sharing information. This will only help you and foster the relationship.

  9. It's not always about pricing. Don't hammer someone on numbers for the sake of hammering them. Be fair. Look for the plan that will make your client shine. If you receive something that is close to what you are looking for, don't can it right off the bat. A simple phone conversation will most likely serve to enhance the plan on the table.

  10. Go to industry events. Get out and meet people. Introduce your team to their team. Relationship building is a key to success for everyone.

So, I'm sure I missed a bunch of items here but I have a word count and this is a top line. I think these are the common threads. This time I want to hear from the agency people. I know you are out there. Although no one would (or could publicly) admit that their team has done any of these things, you know they exist. Tell us what's horrified you lately.

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