Have you heard the saying, “Patience is a virtue?” Well it is, but there’s more to it than that. Over the last three months, I have had an abundance of client situations where the essence of patience was forgotten. I know that times are different and weird right now, but that is all the more reason to have patience.
Let me cite some examples and our feedback on them.
- A property was asked to prepare a proposal by a brand. The criteria were well laid out. The sponsor noted the rights fee budget, activation budget, timelines, and of course, the top three goals and three secondary goals. They also outlined a timeline for getting back to the property with questions and an answer. The property delivered their proposal and waited. Over the next 2-3 weeks, they constantly complained they had not heard anything back (other than a note of confirmation that the sponsor had received the submission). The timeline for a response was four weeks and this client was anxious. As they pointed out to me, “We need an answer, because the event is coming up and we need to go to print” followed by, “We need an answer from them because we have someone else interested.” I replied that they knew the decision-making timeline was four weeks. They should have recognized that, if they are going to print in three weeks, they should not be offering those print visibility assets! And if you have someone else interested, did that happen in the last three weeks or were you courting them previously? When you have a timeline, respect that timeline and fill your time doing something else, rather than bitching and complaining that people are not working within your timeline!
- Another property had the issue of “hurry up and wait.” Scenario: The sponsor had asked them to submit a proposal (which was nowhere near as organized and detailed as the example above) and needed it done in less than week “because they needed to make a quick turnaround decision.” The property delivered within the week (not their best presentation, but good enough based on the timelines, demands, and lack of information). Then, two and-a-half months later, the sponsor still had not responded. The property followed up several times to no avail. I am sure the brand was probably annoyed at so much follow up, but their failure to communicate at all (a response saying that things had changed, timelines had changed, or whatever is common courtesy that seemed to be beyond this brand), in my mind, justified the barrage of follow up. If you don’t want your prospect to be impatient, then communicate with them. Just last week, the property got a response. They “won” the business, but the brand had slashed the budget by 40% and added over 50% in requested value to the agreement. We recommended to our client that they walk from the deal for two reasons. First, the sponsor obviously did not see value in what they were receiving, so why sell them product that they probably would never be happy with no matter how low the price. Second, is this the type of organization you really want to partner with—one that pushes you to deadlines that are unrealistic, then fails to meet their own deadlines and discounts the value of your product? That’s not a client I want to partner with. The property walked from the deal. The agency representing the brand said they couldn’t do that and our client said, “We just did.” The agency then had to go back to its client and explain why they could not strike a deal. I would have loved to have been a fly on that wall! Patience is important, but mutual respect of others’ time is just as important.
- We were working with a sponsor. Their investment had been made pre-COVID for several years. Obviously, COVID threw a wrench into everything. The sponsor, though, worked with the property to get what they needed. They worked with them to extend the term of the agreement to ensure make-goods could be met based on total value. This all took time. The property did not have the expertise to know how to manage such a situation. Our client had the patience of Job. It was amazing. They understood the situation, worked with the partner, provided guidance and advice (even engaged us to work on behalf of the property), and deepened their already deep relationship. Both parties will do well by the outcomes. But they had the patience to make it work, and make it work correctly, in the interest of both parties. It was music to my ears.
Joyce Meyer wrote, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait—it is how we behave while we are waiting.” No truer words could be spoken, especially during these times.
Please remember to stay HIMPS! (Healthy, Isolate when possible, Masked, Physically distanced and Safe!).
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