Episode 159:

Client relationships is a frequent topic on this podcast. In this episode, we focus on what it takes to cultivate strong and mutually beneficial relationships with clients.

Dr. Mario Vafeas is on the faculty at The University of the West of England in Bristol. His work in agency-client relationships is the result of research, study and real-world experience.

He brings a pragmatic approach, backed by the data, into the conversation.

Buckle up because it’s a deep conversation, packed with takeaways to use in your own agency. Through deepening your relationship with clients, and providing the right kinds of ideas, training and other added value, you can really set agency apart, increasing your client and employee retention. You will truly be a trusted ally and co-creator with your clients and prospects.

Prior to joining the faculty at UWE, Mario spent 20 years in branding and design consultancy and several years in brand management at HJ Heinz and Harveys of Bristol.

As well as undergraduate and masters teaching, Mario is involved in knowledge exchange projects with SMEs, and research in the field of buyer-seller relationships and value co-creation.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing. He is also a DMA (West) Regional Council Member, and a Certified Digital Marketing Professional (Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing from the Digital Marketing Institute).



What You Will Learn About in This Episode:

  • How to both share ideas with and learn from the client
  • Drawing from other industries to bring depth to your work in the clients’ industry
  • Why external agencies need to focus less on producing “stuff” and more on producing insights and big ideas
  • Communication with clients does not come with a template – each client relationship is unique
  • Why you get more business opportunities when you take time to meet and check in with clients
  • How to build relationships through coaching clients in best practices
  • Adding value through offering training opportunities to clients
  • Being proactive in making clients’ lives easier
  • How to behave less transactionally so clients believe you really want a relationship
  • How coaching hits all the big C themes
  • Why great work with clients is co-creative

The Golden Nuggets:

“Clients actually don't think they know everything. They don't always feel confident. We can help them gain confidence.” – Dr. Mario Vafeas Click To Tweet “If you want to be a partner with your client, you've got to build that relationship. Go see them face-to-face.” – Dr. Mario Vafeas Click To Tweet “Part of building trust in a client relationship means understanding their budget; not trying to stick your hand in their pocket at every opportunity. Demonstrating care beyond the paycheck is how you build trust.” – Dr. Mario Vafeas Click To Tweet “If you are telling clients you want a relationship, don’t act in a transactional way. Don’t line item every little thing and charge them for it.” – Dr. Mario Vafeas Click To Tweet “As long as we focus on selling stuff to our clients, rather than offering deeper insight and analysis, we become less and less relevant.” – Dr. Mario Vafeas Click To Tweet “Ultimately this whole client-agency relationship relies on both parties actually delivering. It can be a real co-creating relationship.” – Dr. Mario Vafeas Click To Tweet


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Ways to contact Mario Vafeas:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!