Upon first considering this question of whether or not to share your creds with a prospect, some agency folk might have initial reactions along the lines of: “Yes, of course! How else will they hear about our great work if they aren’t open to an introductory meeting yet?” or perhaps: “Our creds perfectly represent what we do. Why wouldn’t we want to share them?”
Indeed, you may be keen for brands to see your work – especially if they have asked you to send something over - and you may even be profoundly proud of your agency’s credentials. Sadly, it’s not that simple. Instead, a number of factors come into play, including the timing of your email (and how much time the prospect has), as well as the quality of your creds and how relevant they might be to the prospect.
In terms of timing, there are two main considerations. Firstly, where they are in relation to their review periods and current relationships (e.g. if they have recently appointed an agency, they are unlikely to be looking). Secondly, prospects are incredibly busy and, frankly, you are not their priority. As unfortunate as it may be, for want of time or urgency, they may not get to your email at all.
Next comes the question of quality. Many creds include impressive case studies, complete with fabulous facts and figures. However, an equal number inadvertently obscure the key facts and interesting anecdotes. Additionally, a strong agency USP or personality can be negated by creds that look like they could belong to any other agency. Your opinion of your creds is likely clouded by your own experience and familiarity with your agency. A second opinion might shed some clarity and objectivity on how they might come across to a stranger and/or how they could be improved.
On another note, anyone who has ever tried online dating (or written any kind of brief bio) will understand the difficulties of describing yourself comprehensively in a way that actually does you justice. The same applies to credentials. They may not convey the unique energy, atmosphere and outlook of your agency, which you would be able to communicate in person. Besides, people like people more than they do PDFs.
Being able to quickly decide whether to send creds, a one-pager - or simply stick to a well-written email - can be straightforward with a little thought. For example, before you send anything to a new business prospect, ask yourself:
- Did they ask me to send something over just to get me off the phone?
- Will they realistically read through it?
- Will this add value for the prospect?
- Does this offer something new, different or unique?
- How much of it is directly relevant to the prospect?
- Could I send something shorter and/or more to the point?
- Will it leave them wanting more?
Ultimately, it’s down to you to judge whether, after receiving your email, the prospect may be more likely to meet or to hit delete.
Priyanka Patel is a senior account manager at The Future Factory.