How do you select experts to do a job for you? You don’t want to duplicate yourself and probably look to hire someone who knows stuff you don’t and you can barely check. Here are some tips straight from the pitch team.
I realized what a headache this can be, when I renovated my house last summer and had to selected the team to do this. I quickly knew I would be needing an interpreter, an orchestrator and a team leader to get it done. You want good people in your house, but there is no way you’ll be able to find, select and run a team of carpenters, plumbers, door hangers (yes, it’s a profession). I found a good builder to do that for me.
Seeking advice from people you trust and who know the specific area, is often the shortest and safest route. And you should do that too when selecting branding professionals. Below some considerations from me, having been the one to select experts and teams many time. Let me know if this is helpful at all.
1. Objectify– Know what you are looking for
This applies to vacancies as well as to hiring experts or agencies. Even if you don’t know what the drug is you need, you can describe the complaint as precisely as possible, and then check how many offered solutions will adequately actually remove that pain.
I always set up a list with features or characteristics that are important to me. In the left margin I list the features and each applicant or agency gets 1 column and I literally mark them and ask the selection team to do the same. I know what I am looking for, so per need I can tell how well the different ‘offerers’ score. This helps not just in understanding your preferences and voting, but also in discussing differences in perception in a group of selectors. You’ll learn about what is important to your co-selectors.
Plus you need this because your memory is simply not capable of remembering all 20 variables from various parties. The brain has the task to spare processing capacity and starts summarizing before you know it. In this case you want to keep track of all the individual elements, and you want to weigh and compare between the parties.
I will mention a few features that you will probably want to include in your list: “understands my business sufficiently to act fast”, “has qualities to be a sparring partner at the right level”, “can execute”, “is able to convince internal decision-makers”,”is able to bring across knowledge”. If you select people/agencies along these elements, plus “planning skills”, “available when needed”, “tactical”, “creative” and other criteria that are important in your specific situation, you can compare at a later moment and adequately discuss with colleagues.
Do not forget the important internal debate about the criteria. Maybe you do not agree on the criteria or the scoring, or you revise the criteria after seeing the parties. That is not bad. An overview like I described will help in the discussion and enable you to think and talk about them openly and transparently. Feel free to email me if you would like to see such a sheet for inspiration. Happy to share.
2. Click does not count
Of course click counts, but stay focused. I click with a lot of people with whom I should only drink a glass of wine or something, but should not necessarily work with. There is click and click.
Don’t go with the charming people, unless ‘charming’ was on your list. Check if the person you have been talking to, will be actually be taking care of your account.
It belongs to the first point ‘objectify’. Yet I mention ‘click’ separately because it easily makes things unclear. It also happens the other way around: people with great skills but substantive lesser social skills get rejected for positions in which sales techniques are not even important. Even though it is not a criterion, charm affects all of us tremendously.
One thing I like to mention is: be aware of accents and if someone is addressing you in a second language. People talking to you in a second language, always carry a handicap. They are probably 10 or 20 IQ points more intelligent than they appear to you as they are managing the interface of language constantly.
Try to look through all this and just touch upon issues like integrity, like-minded values, skills and substance; which can also be a form of click
3. Never select on price
This was hard when I selected my home renovator, cause when everything is expensive you want to bill that looks least bad. But i stuck with the principle and it worked out. Comparing quotes in tenders is almost impossible (unless you provide RFP type of lists to fill in), but it has to be done anyway. Price matters….
Be conscious The ‘cheapest on paper’ might underestimate (consciously or unconsciously) the process and might charge you later or you are left with incomplete projects. I learned in my process that the cheaper builder had scoped very slim which would have left me with unexpected costs later.
But even more importantly, if he/she is not good or not delivers what you needed, then even half of the bill will be too much.
We all know quotes like:
If you think a professional is expressive, try working with an amateur.
Think of what it costs to fail this or not do it.
In the case of equal criteria the price can be the deciding factor, but equal ability is hardly ever there.
Studying proposals is a very educative exercise any way and in any choice you make, you probably lose something you liked in the other party. Talk about that with co-selectors, the suppliers, applicants and maybe you can get best of both.