It's a Hand-Off, Not a Duel

Wednesday, June 7, 2006 | comments

We recently took over an account from a competing agency. There was a "hand-off" meeting as part of the transition. I wasn't at the meeting, but my agency colleagues --- as well as the client contacts who were present --- were shocked by the displaced agency's graceless lack of professionalism.

Look, these types of meetings are never easy. I understand that our competitor lost revenue and prestige when the client decided to take a new direction. But that's business. Win some, lose some, right?

Consider how badly this one dumb move could hurt their business.
  • The client will never again consider calling that agency.
  • The client contacts present during the hand-off meeting won't ever call them into an agency review, when they invariably move on to their next gigs.
  • I will never recommend this agency in instances where we might have a newbiz conflict.
It gets worse. We talked about their poor attitude in an HQ staff meeting:
  • 50-odd PR people in the Boston market now consider this agency to have a "black mark" against it.
  • They won't ever interview there as prospective employees.
  • They won't ever think to invite that firm to compete for their business, if they ever take an in-house marketing post.
All because some agency VP got pissy about turning over a few memos and databases.

Burning bridges is bad business.
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