Imagine this scenario: a potential new client calls and wants to hire your company.
Great, right? Who couldn’t use the new business?
Now imagine this: the potential new client is a kind-of-sort-of-maybe competitor of one of your current, longtime clients.
What do you do? Do you take on the new business, or do you pass? Do you call the current client or hope they don’t find out you’re working with the competitor? Does the appeal of something new and shiny outweigh loyalty to a client?
This type of situation happens often in our industry. It’s even been a storyline on “Mad Men,” when Don is forced to drop Mohawk Airlines as a client for the chance to pitch American Airlines. A cool, new client wants in and you push an old, frumpy client out of the way.
Thankfully, that’s not how things are handled at Imagine.
Last week, we ran into a situation where a potential new client had called to hire us to rebrand their company. During the initial conversation with Brian, it was revealed that they had come across our name through another client. That wasn’t so unusual; a lot of our new business comes from referrals from other clients. But something was fishy and through more conversation (and a little digging), we found out that this potential client was a competitor of one of our current clients.
I placed a call to the client in question and asked if they would be okay with us taking on this company. Our client wasn’t thrilled at the idea but understood if we wanted to take on the project. Business is business, after all.
We had a decision to make. Do we take on the new client and jeopardize the solid relationship we have with the current client? If we pass on the new client, would we miss out on other opportunities? Brian and I went back and forth on what to do. Leaving the decision in my hands, Brian asked me a very important question: What would I think about Imagine if we took on the new account?
We ultimately decided to pass on the new client. It just didn’t feel right, for a multitude of reasons. We at Imagine pride ourselves on not being a “typical” ad agency. We don’t trash talk competitors, we put clients’ needs first, and we don’t chase the dollar or glamour. Employee input is taken seriously and, more importantly, as employees, our opinion of Imagine is valued. I’m proud to work for a company whose actions speak louder than words.
Nadia Zerka is a client relations manager at Imagine Communications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.