This email exchange is almost all verbatim. I removed the names and identifiable facts.
Potential Client:   “It was a pleasure visiting your website and speaking with you today, Bruce. I have attached our ad agency RFP (Request For Proposal).

We look forward to your proposal. If you have any questions please contact me.”

Agency:        “Attached is our response. Because we specialize in your industry we feel confident we can exceed all of your requirements.”

Everything

Potential Client:   “We can tell you put lots of hard work into this.

We will have a meeting room with projector. Let me know what else you need.

But please sharpen your pencil.

We will be looking for you to drill down on creative, suggested media, social media strategies and spend based on demographics.

Please confirm you are on board and we will proceed.”

Agency:        “We are excited by the prospect of helping you build a great creative program and we are eager to undertake the next step.

See you next week. Thanks for the opportunity.”

Potential Client:   “Just received note from my bosses. As soon as you have creative they want a preview before confirming presentation. I’m just the messenger here.”

Agency:        “Do they want to see existing creative we’ve done for other clients or custom work for you?”

Potential Client:   “Creative ideas for us. The other agencies did submit customized creative samples, teasers if you will.”

Anything

Agency:         “We appreciate that ownership wants to see our ideas before the presentation.

We hope they understand our ideas are our most valuable assets and we take them very seriously.

As you can see by our insightful RFP response we have more knowledge, understanding, and successes in your segment than any agency anywhere.

We are excited to share that knowledge with you to create powerful work. We are not willing to share our ideas before we have planned a strategy with your input nor are we willing to do that for free.”

Potential Client:   “I will share your comments and get back to you.”

Did we get the meeting? Have we won the business? What do you think?

When a potential client asks for free ideas, a short turnaround time, AND lower prices before we’ve even met, what’s the chance that it could possibly turn out well? This is a presentation we won’t be making.

After all, to win business we will do everything. But we won’t do anything.