The Hazards of Potential Customers

April 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment


An approach from prospective customers is exciting and makes you feel wanted, but it can be hazard for your business and your current and prospective customers.

Years ago I worked for an agency and they specialised in the pharmaceutical industry. The agency was successful and the creatives could take a complex issue and communicate it very effectively to the target market which was medical and pharmaceutical practitioners.

One day the agency was approached by a prospective customer, whom I had been a client of and they wanted us to pitch to launch their new health care product. Great we thought, the only thing was that the product to be advertised and promoted was for consumers and except for a couple of us the agency did not really have the experience in this area.

We pushed ahead with the pitch, which included development of a communications strategy, creative, media plan and a promotional program. Did we win the pitch…No.

The prospective customer’s needs and expectations were outside of the agency’s area of expertise. In reality we should have declined to pitch and recommended other more relevant agencies. Also if you count up the time and money spend on the pitch, it was truly a loss for the agency.

The 3  lessons I learnt and apply to our business today are:

  • Keep within your niche and expertise as you will build better customer relationships
  • You can always gain the expertise but meanwhile you could lose the focus of strengthening your current customer relationships
  • If you can’t meet a current or prospective customer’s expectations or needs, then help them select some other company that can. This can be tough for the ego, but better for the customer and they will remember.

Have you had this type of experience and how have you handled the situation? Please share your story or tips.


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Entry filed under: Customer Relationships. Tags: , , , , , .

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