Nice to meet you. How big is your budget?

If “How big is your budget?” is asked in the first 20 minutes of meeting with an advertising agency, you should try to get out of the room as fast as you can. Here are a few ideas for quick exits: 1) Make your best ring tone sound, answer phone, pretend to listen and then yell, “Oh my lord!” Then quickly walk out. 2) In the case that you have no phone, drop to floor and fake a seizure. If they stick around and try to care for you, shout “leave me to heal” in between every few flops. 3) Don’t feel like being active and would prefer the agency people do the running, then reply to their question with, “We are hoping to form a pro-bono type relationship this first year.” Then watch them scramble for the door.

Seriously, some agencies simply are not focused on your success. Their primary focus is how much they can make off your account. It’s a depressing thought, I know. It suggests dishonesty and greed. But this is business. And that mentality, when well-disguised, can be very profitable. My point is this: no matter what your budget size, your agency partner should be passionate and fully focused on using its talents to help you reach your business goals. That’s why we’re here. Here to help you, not take a handout. Honesty, integrity and a genuine love for doing good work exist in a lot of advertising agencies. Make sure yours is one of them.

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