The Business Development Story That Changed Everything for Andrew Robertson

Mo asks Andrew Robertson: Tell me a business development story that you’re particularly proud of.

  • Andrew tells the story of a client in London that BBDO had been working with for 20 years and how they lost most of that client’s work after delivering a terrible piece starring John Cleese.
  • Instead of bailing on the client completely, Andrew and the team decided to stick with the unglamorous work that remained and deliver excellent results for the client, knowing that eventually, the rival company that won their former work would stumble.
  • By sticking with the client, they had the opportunity three years later to offer a new brand campaign, which was informed by the fact that they were still involved in the business and understood their needs.
  • Andrew signed Jamie Oliver, who wasn’t quite famous yet, after scouring London on Easter weekend physically to find him, and landed the business again.
  • Andrew learned three key lessons from the experience: be gracious on the way out, treat a rejection as a “not for now,” not a never, and the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.
  • Even when you get fired, those relationships are still valuable and worth keeping alive.
  • We show our true selves much more in defeat than in easy victories. How you behave during the bad times says much more about your character than when things are good.
  • People are human, and it’s always hard to fire someone you’ve built a relationship with. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be, and keep adding value to the relationship after the fact. How you behave afterward will be remembered.
  • Even if you don’t win a project, that’s an opportunity to ask for feedback and give the prospect the opportunity to stay in touch. One loss is not the end, it’s the beginning of the next potential project.
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