Building a Foundation From Day One

GotRespect1Mutual respect. Open, honest communication.  At Tanner Friedman, we talk about it a lot and, moreover, practice it, inside and outside the walls of our offices. Matt touched on it again this week in how we prefer to work with media. This time, I’ll talk about clients, or more appropriately, prospective clients, by telling a brief, true story.

About six months ago, a potential new client contacted me after being referred to our agency by a respected Detroit media editor. We spoke briefly by phone and scheduled a time to meet at Tanner Friedman. Within days we were seated at our conference room table and proceeded to have what I felt was a very productive

2-hour meeting to discuss this entrepreneur’s successful background, new venture and key goals as well as the experience, capabilities and fee structure of our agency. As the meeting ended, it was mutually agreed that our organizations appeared to be a good fit for working together and a proposal was requested.

Proposals take time and thought and though we will not prepare specific action plans until hired, we do generally relay a possible approach and potential tactical areas for consideration. In this case, a proposal was drafted and sent to the potential client, followed by follow-up calls and emails over a several week period. The response: absolutely nothing.  No acknowledgment of proposal receipt; no notification of being busy; no note that the individual was moving in a different direction or entirely uninterested.

Months passed and, about a week ago, this individual contacted me again, requesting a discussion regarding a different project. We communicated briefly by email before my messages once again seemingly disappeared into an abyss of silence. My final note to this individual: Respectful communication is a two-way street and a prerequisite for working with Tanner Friedman and that the prospect of our working together was obviously not a good fit. I have yet to hear back. It’s better that way.