Risking Business: Agencies That Are ‘Pushy’

Since the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, I’ve seen a lot of articles trying to predict the future of agencies. And I’ve uncovered a common theme: Agencies need to be better this year. They need to be faster, smarter, more digitally minded, and more client-focused. But like any New Year’s goals, it isn’t just about adding better practices; it’s about ending the bad ones, too. Unfortunately for most agencies, they’ve become desensitized to their biggest vice: pushiness. As an agency, you may think you’re just accommodating, but research showsthat clients find aggressive sales tactics to be downright pushy. What’s more, pushiness is the No. 1 thing that drives a marketing decision maker to hire, fire, recommend, or ignore an agency.  What do I mean by “pushy?” Of course, you can’t change your aggressive actions if you don’t know what they are. The same study found that people view everything from overt bragging to a lack of communication as pushy. They also define pushy agency behavior as always trying to sell something, making decisions without final approval, making empty promises, and pushing your own agenda. While these actions may help you close deals faster, they’re hurting you more than you realize, and they can actually cause major problems in the long run. Here are some consequences of assertive sales tactics: They erode trust. Brash behavior often gives off the impression that you don’t have your clients’ best interests at heart. They reduce client retention. When you turn clients off with your pushy attitude, it makes it easier for another agency to sneak its way in. They damage your reputation. The industry is relatively small, and if your client complains about your pushy tactics to friends, it [...]