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The Art of Client Service by Ian Schafer, Robert Solomon

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Chapter 27Client Presentations Are as Important as New Business Presentations

Agencies treat new business presentations with the intensity and urgency of opening night at the theater.

Everyone knows what's at stake. There is careful consideration given to casting the presenters. There is heavy investment in staging and props. Every word of the script is thought through. The pitch team rehearses. Then it rehearses some more.

But with existing clients, everyone at the agency is so busy making the work that they often neglect the presenting part. With clients demanding faster and faster turnaround, and with agency staffs sliced to the bone because of financial pressures, the problem has grown acute. Almost every account person I know can tell stories of flying out the door to make a client meeting while jamming work completed just minutes ago onto a laptop, thumb drive, or presentation case. Rehearsal, such as it is, takes place in the 15-minute cab ride to the client's office.

Yet client presentations are at least as important as new business presentations, if not more so. The stakes are just as high, if not higher. The only thing worse than losing a new business pitch is losing a client. If you don't pay attention to client presentations, if you take them for granted, that is the risk.

Client presentations, like new business presentations, are about theater. A bad presentation, like bad theater, often leads to a bad ending, with the client unhappy and the agency scrambling to ...

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