Skillful negotiations ensure a mid-market company can hang with the big boys!
I stay politically neutral on my blog, but this one time I must say Donald Trump was right when he stated, “it’s in the art of the deal that makes all the difference between winners and losers”.
Every agency should negotiate better rates for their clients. It’s not only their job, it’s the right thing to do. Finding the client the best opportunities at preferred rates should be the industry standard and it was in days gone by. Unfortunately, today more agencies are tasked with making sure they spend their client’s total budget whether it’s necessary or not to accomplish the goal at hand. Today, many will negotiate a bit to get their clients “a discount”, but keep in mind, the importance of negotiating strong buys has been diminished for many reasons and one reason is it’s not the agency’s checkbook in play!
For regional and mid-market companies with budgets smaller than their national competitors it’s imperative for them to watch the top line, the bottom line and every line in between. While negotiations are typically scrutinized from the financial side only, there are other ways a regional company can benefit from an agency that offers strategic negotiating skills.
Time is a critical factor to the art of negotiating. If an agency has time on their side, they aren’t being forced to take the first or second offer. The extra time also allows the agency to review the offers in more detail, make multiple counter offers and grind away at the media outlet. It also allows the agency time to consider other more viable options because it’s nearly always possible to buy around an outlet if they are too difficult with their negotiations. Remember, the media outlet wants the business even when they act disinterested.
Negotiations mean getting the best rates possible, but it also means getting as much useful guaranteed added value as possible. Yes, I said guaranteed, because if it’s not guaranteed then don’t calculate it into your final costs or planning numbers. A regional company will find that the increased exposure will make a difference to their overall bottom line since the increased attention will lower the cost per point or impression and increase their share of voice which hopefully equates to sales lift.
If a mid-market company can get their agency to negotiate much lower rates and elevated better added value, it’s a big win for the client. No matter what the negotiated scenario is, make your agency either gets you more, lots more for your budget or use less of your budget. A great agency will do both! That’s how a regional company can play big with the national competition.