STATUS: Snowy, cold day in Denver. Perfect for getting a ton of work done.
What song is playing on the ipod right now? I FEEL POSSESSED by Crowded House
I had a lot of fun giving a talk at CU-Boulder on Saturday. I had a tough act to follow in Lynda Sandoval, another Denver native and terrific writer if you haven’t checked out her stuff. (And see, I don’t just talk about my own clients. Lynda is actually with Jenny Bent!)
And a perfect transition for today’s rant. One of the attendees at my talk asked a really interesting question, one I’ve never really been asked before. A gentleman asked me to discuss the competition between agents and how we handle it.
I think I babbled my answer because it really was an unexpected question and one that’s hard for me to answer because I don’t really see myself or my job as “in competition” against other agents. As y’all know, I have a lot of agent friends. In fact, I belong to two Yahoo chat loops where agents talk, share and support each other. One of which we humorously dubbed the Agent Cartel and we plan to give a workshop together (at least 10 of the agents in the group) at RWA in Atlanta.
Do we all rep the same stuff? For one loop, not really (but we’ll often forward projects on to the loop that sound interesting but don’t fit our lists). For the other, we do but I don’t think any of us feel like we are in competition with each other—although technically we might be vying for the same projects.
For the most part, I believe (and so do my agent friends) that there are a ton of good projects out there and it’s our job to go after and find them. You might even go so far to say that certain clients and projects are meant to be with certain agents (isn’t that a lovely thought?).
If there is a hot project and another agent gets to it first, well, I need to move faster next time.
When I’m vying for a client who has a couple of agent offers of representation on the table and I fear one of those other offers might be from an agent friend, I don’t ask who else is interested. I don’t want to know if I’m up against a friend. That way the best woman for that project will just win.
I will ask about the other agents involved after the fact and if it’s a girlfriend who has landed the desirable client, she has to buy me dinner the next time we are together!
Now, I’m sure y’all realize that not all agents think like this. Agents can be any and all different types of personalities. I’ve certainly met other agents who were outwardly nice but I did sense a paranoid edge–that they were sizing up the competition in order to best see how they could get a leg up. Needless to say, none of those agents are part of my circle of biz friends.