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We should be better communicators

I’m betting you have said on more than one occasion, “isn’t it funny, given what we do for a living, that we aren’t better communicators?” And you’re right it is funny in an ironic, funny way. But definitely not in a laugh all the way to the bank sort of way. In my work with agency owners and leadership teams, there is almost always a broken line of communication. It can come in many shapes and sizes. It can be a situation where Bob said something 10 years ago and Babette is still clinging to it like it’s gospel even though Bob has long since changed his thinking on the issue. Or Babette made a big announcement at a state of the agency meeting three months ago and is surprised that no one accurately remembers the details. Or Bob made a statement and no one asked any clarifying questions so all kinds of assumptions were made and held for way too long. You know, from your work with clients, that this is not an issue that in unique to agencies. It’s a challenge in every organization. But in small to mid-sized agencies, it can be a killer. It can cause people to shut down, quit, or make a mistake that costs you serious money. How do we solve it? We don’t shortcut the messaging — we may have been thinking about some aspect of the business for awhile, but our team has not had the benefit of walking that path with us. We need to give them the back story and all of the supporting information so they can fully understand the core idea. We can model asking clarifying questions — you know that it [...]

By |April 2nd, 2021|

How to Deal with the Nice Guy Client

Most agencies seek out the nice guy client to work with. They’re easygoing and don’t have many criticisms, which bolsters your ego. Plus, they’re often a steady source of income. But the “nice guys” aren’t always the best clients. I’ve seen an agency that thought it was getting along great with a client. The agency assumed the client was happy with the work it produced and began to make expansion plans with pay raises, increased staffing, and larger expenditures based on the assumption that the relationship would be ongoing. However, because the agency didn’t ask for real feedback and the client was silently underwhelmed, the agency was at risk of losing the “nice guy,” who had been shopping for a new agency. In my experience, clients sometimes vent their frustrations elsewhere, such as to their colleagues or their communities. And if a client isn’t being honest with you, the relationship can’t be strong or meaningful, which means you’re at risk every time another agency comes sniffing around. It’s always better for you to hear the criticism, respond, and take action to keep the customer. When you don’t have clear communication between your agency and the client, you put your business at risk. You’ll work more efficiently, the results will be better, and everyone will be happier if you’re communicating well with clients. Sometimes, fickle or difficult clients can be more profitable. They’re looking for specific expertise, and if you offer it, they’ll find you — rather then the other way around. Although these customers are a lot of work, they know what they want and are willing to pay for it. And their bigger budgets mean larger billings, more work and increased margins for you. How to Spot [...]

By |July 3rd, 2017|
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