Working in an agency, I know clients can be demanding. Seriously 90% of the ones I’ve worked with were – and when I was a client, well – not every meeting was a pleasant one. It can sometimes seem obvious what a client wants or needs (especially when performance is not on target). But what gets them in the position of totally trusting you like a boyfriend or girlfriend in any good relationship is primarily to do with the following 5 points.
Like in any good relationship, transparency is vital. We got into GDPR because of a lack of transparency. Mark Zuckerberg got called in for questioning because of a lack of transparency. And Google has been slapped with a £44million lawsuit because of what? You guessed it – lack of transparency. Clients want to know what you are doing precisely with their accounts. They pay [usually] quite a lot of money for you to manage their account/s, and that’s not just for results – that is for the time you are putting in. As we know, consistent improvement in performance isn’t guaranteed. Especially when performance is remaining level week upon week, transparency of what you are doing is key to ensure you are worth every penny of their fee.
Generally being on top of things
Based on the above point – the client needs to know you are on top of things. What do I mean by that – be the one that notices when things have gone wrong. And your full planned details on how you plan on tackling the issue and getting them back on the track of success. Everyone knows mistakes happen – but what can sometimes be worse than the error itself is NOT noticing it happened. This is why it is an important daily task to see if there have been any drastic changes in volume, efficiency and return on investment.
Are you not getting the desired reply from your emails? Maybe you aren’t telling the client what they need to hear or precisely what they want to know from an account. Yes – it’s all well and good to let the client know that performance is stable/good and to tell them your list of actions coming up. But you have to think again, what is the client paying for? Well, I’ll let you in on something – they want you to wow them! They want you to show them strategic progress, what are they doing that their competitors aren’t, and how can they be the game changes in their industry. The kind of things that they can pass unto their bosses & head to show the marketing campaign is continuing to be a worthwhile investment. Remember, a silent treatment – like in a relationship is hardly ever a good thing.
Get to know them
Meetings, when you get to know about the client, are so important. Assuming you’ve gotten all the details you need from the client because you know what the marketing targets are is misguided. Having a senior member of your team book a lunch and ask questions like – how are things going with you in the business? Or what kinds of performance will make you look like a superstar to your boss? And less of, how much money do you guys have to spend on xyz. This leads to a level of great trust that gives you and your team strategic reign of the account — a dream situation for most agencies.
Finally – don’t be afraid to correct a client! An upset client doesn’t mean you have lost the contract. In all communications – treat the client [and everyone really] with respect. But it doesn’t mean you are just “yes” men/women. A client pays us to be an expert and to direct the account in a way that makes them stand out from the crowd. When they start giving you directions that don’t make sense or too granular instructions for account changes – it means the trust is waning. Gain it right back by disagreeing with misguided instructions and get back on track with giving outstanding recommendations. You will get a reply to those email, and in my experience, it will include the words – “sure – implement those changes you have suggested and let us know the outcome”. Then all there is to it is following up with insightful analysis.
Giving depth to a client relationship is so important. A client doesn’t want another agency that says yes to instructions but one that takes control of the relationship – takes a genuine interest about what is going on on their side of the business, gives meaningful insights and be honest and transparent about what has gone wrong and what needs to be fixed.