If you were robbed Hsshhh Just Be Quiet
Just to set up the context. We are a leading independent Loyalty service Company in India. A labor of love and a pinnacle we have reached after of a lot of hard work by a few hundred people. Also we firmly believe that we are here because we did something right. Not because we were benefited by anyone’s benevolence, government policy. We have survived where hundreds others have failed because we have patronized labor over luck; satisfaction over fame and innovation over theft.
So now here is the story. Of late, we have managed only a few new wins compared to what we used to. Since, we had accounted for more losses than the wins; it was time for some awakening. Initially, we interpreted our losses as a result of perceived incompetence but it was actually a different story. You know our rightful upbringing taught us to look first at your follies before pointing fingers. However there was not much we found to be at fault. The truth emerged that we attributed our losses to an old yet popular phenomenon which is customer desire of delinking costs with product or service quality. We lost new business pitches because clients like our ideas but not at associated costs. Under the circumstances that the client does not want to pay, they obviously stopped talking to us and look for alternatives. We were eager to find out if the clients had become poorer or were it that we had become animals of greed and contempt by demanding a higher price for our service levels.
We all know how difficult business pitches are. They take a lot of you. I really mean a lot. viz,; understanding an alien business, visualizing it, crafting state-of-the-art presentations, multiple iterations, making them look good, managing your mind, looking for new words and ideas to talk of, thinking of impressing them, thinking of wearing your best, reaching on time, finishing all pending calls from clients, family, friends so that they don’t complain in middle of it, coping with other mess at work besides managing a straight not-at-a-battle mindset, trying to retain focus and immerse yourself and concentrate on the fish eye of securing that business.
And those hours of labor, translating into a few hours or more of your presentation slot ( a nrecent one was 8 hours at a stretch) amidst ten other wise companies like you who have been exactly same spot before or after you and did their the best to prove themselves as a best suitor to lock the business. And all of them but one, meet up with the unfortunate fate that your best ideas, concepts, strategies will be shamelessly taken away (of course free, with no obligations) and shared with the least expensive bidder(often with least intellect) with no demonstrable credentials or merit on the concept and asked to execute at a fraction of the cost. And one or the other company of those ten depressed by some reason complied. And all this being done silently under the white, sacred robes donned by the custodians of these ethical corporate organizations.
This is the umpteenth time that this has happened to us making us lose the inherent faith in humanity, business and ethical standards of governance. And wonder what about the intellectual abilities, massive competencies we have built for? Only to be taken away, just like you set up a shop and people walk-in, pick up what they want and leave, as if we were living in a ghost town? And this happened with some blue-chip clients managed by top league pedigreed professionals. Sort of the ones you see in business magazines, business shows on television delivering their two bits on corporate governance, ethical standards of brand and blah, blah, blah!
I mean how many times more should I stop myself from calling the client to ask him why he has done, what he has? Just because of the inherent fear that we might lose an opportunity further down the years?
And how many times should I pour myself a few drinks and drown myself in remorse?
And how many times should I light up a cigarette only to inhale and exhale poisonous smoke only to give me a temporary respite while cursing them with choicest expletives?
And how many times should I tell myself and team that “look shit happens” and that we have been on a lose stomach for a while now and be prepared for that shit to happen again just because shit happens to anyone, anytime?
While in business for fourteen years, we have realized that this pitch commotion at client-agency environment, intellectual theft, fake client standards, agencies under preparedness and working on someone else’s idea etc are a part of our lives. We invariably chose all this when we made a choice to be in this business. We can only cringe about it, shed a few tears, down a few pegs, smoke away your agonies, curse a bit on yourself and your destiny, try to sleep while all this is painfully traversing thru your mind and then get up in the morning and wonder which one would be the next client pitch you have to appear for?
Do everything of above except don’t raise a voice. Don’t cringe. Don’t cry in public. Because if you do, everyone would know that you were robbed. And then they will make fun of you as if you were a child and have pissed in your pants. You may be mocked by your other clients and they would only want to disassociate with any losers, because you are one for sure as you just lost another pitch. And they are a client after all of the same pedigree. Unless there are some good human beings, a few at least!
Hssshhh! Losers don’t talk. Not on a social platform like this- a reputed public relation adviser guarded me. They just go in a hideaway and silently wait for another loss as you are an agency and have every right to be in a state of dysentery, forever! Or at least when any prospective client we are bidding for, wants us to!
Yes, Shit happens!