In honour of the month of lurveee, we’re going to be sharing some of the best relationship advice we have learnt through our professional client partnerships.
One of our biggest and longest-standing relationships is with Adriatic Furniture. We met on a warm summer night. They had the ambition, we had the ideas. There was an instant connection which then flourished into a 15-year long romance that is still going strong. We’ve had our ups and downs – and even a “break” at one stage to figure ourselves out. After all, like any relationship, it’s not always going to be chocolate and roses. A client/agency relationship is similar to a marriage: it takes work – you have to keep on building and nourishing the relationship along the way.
So, if you’re hoping to make sure your next client relationship is ‘the one’, be sure you pay attention to these six tips…
Eye contact, tick. Charming smile, tick. Friendly demeanour, tick. Give them your willing, undivided attention; you want to impress your client from the first moment with your professionalism and character. Excite them a little, show your personality and sweep them off their feet – and show up as your most authentic self, because that real connection is crucial too.
The way you communicate with your clients is going to define your entire relationship. Don’t try to impress them with marketing jargon. Keep it simple, ensure they understand you, and most importantly, LISTEN to them and what they have to say. No one knows more about the brand than the client themselves. The last thing you want is to put time and effort into solving a brief that was misunderstood from the beginning.
Every client is unique and will have different expectations of how you should operate together. You need to establish these expectations early to ensure they are fulfilled. Would they prefer weekly or monthly catch ups? Are they a formal meeting room or a casual coffee catch-up type of client? All the little things matter – make sure your client is comfortable and satisfied with your arrangement.
Have you ever experienced trying on clothes in a store that you KNOW look bad on you – yet the retail worker insists it looks great and that you should buy it? We all know in our gut when something is off. If you try to sell your client something without their best interests in mind, they will sense it. This not only creates trust issues between yourself and the client, but also seriously damages your reputation and credibility in general. There’s an art to delivering honest truths without hurting or offending your client, and in the end, it’s better to walk away from something than work on something you don’t fully believe in.
If you say that you’re going to do something, make sure you follow through. That’s the bare minimum. From there, you can only go above and beyond. Find ways to provide a little extra value or a personal touch, such as participating in your client’s events outside of work. Showing your support in ways other than what you’re being paid or expected to do goes a long way.
Sometimes good things come to an end. If you can feel the relationship turning sour, it’s best to nip it in the bud early. You need to have an open and honest conversation about whether you can salvage the partnership with some fundamental changes or whether it’s better to go your separate ways. Be careful where you tread during this time as a negative end can be the difference between bringing on another client or not. Word of mouth travels a lot further than you ever will.
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Every relationship will have its own unique needs, dynamic and way of functioning, but hopefully these six tips will help you build a solid foundation for long-term harmony and compatibility with your next client relationship. Or, if you’re a client still searching for your perfect agency partner and like our approach, remember that every great relationship begins with a first step. If you’re ready for a genuine connection, send us a love letter at firstname.lastname@example.org