On waiting for a decision

December is always a busy time in agencyworld. Clients want plans for 2005, and prospects want to get their new agency on board ready for the New Year. Even on Thursday this week I had a call from a company wanting to complete its selection process this side of Christmas.

So, it’s always a run for the line towards the holidays. And we pitch and pitch, in order to get the year off to a good start. But then comes that magic moment, when all the pitches are done. And that’s when the waiting starts.

Now I am not good at waiting. Patience may be a virtue, but it’s one in which I’m sadly lacking. Abraham Lincoln reputedly said, "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." Nowhere is this more true than in new business.

We recently did a pitch for an emerging firm, in which we pulled out all the stops. We’re down to the last two. References are being taken, which I’m sure will go well for both firms. I enjoy the end-game of a selection process, trying to imagine what the criteria are and how we fared. Thinking what else I can do to shape the outcome – response opps, extra information, extra meetings.

But I hate the sense of anticipation. Every time the phone rings – it could be them. Every email which pops up from them could put an end to the anguish. My nails are bitten down to the elbow, but still they play a straight bat. It’s sometimes hard to concentrate when in this ‘love-sick’ state.

And so I’m looking forward to next week, when decisions will be made. Win, lose or draw, I just want to know. I love the anticipation but it’s also one of the worst parts of the job.

Edison advises us to hustle while we wait, but once you’ve hustled (and stopped at hassled) – what can you do? Just wait I guess.