It’s a huge privilege to do work that you love in the service of people that you love. As agency owners we get to decide who our agency serves. Why would you work for anyone you don’t genuinely love?

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Hey, everybody! Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. This week, I am coming to you from Orlando, Florida on Disney property teaching the Money Matters Workshop. I’m also a little sad this week because my Dodgers did not do so awesome in the postseason but if anything can put me in better spirits, it’s two things: Mickey Mouse and hanging out with agency owners talking about how to make and keep more money. So that’s what I’m doing this week but what I want to talk to you about is what you’re doing this week. So I’m a huge believer in that there is a specific role So I’m a huge believer in that there is a specific role for agency owners when it comes to clients. In the research we just did in 2019, part of the Agency Edge research series, one of the questions we asked of the participants, so people who hire agencies, is what role does the agency owner play currently in your account and what role would you like them to play? And the fascinating findings were that they really do want to see you but they want to see you in a very specific way. They don’t want to see you in the day-to-day work, they don’t want to see you in on status calls, but they do want to see you in strategic conversations but they also want to see you in social settings. They want to just sit and talk with you about business. So this aligns perfectly with what we teach called “client owner love meetings.” So what that means is you the owner have time with whoever your sort of equivalent is on the client’s side, might be the business owner, might be the president or the CEO, however you can get to the top of the food chain. And depending on the value of that client to your agency and the size of that client, anywhere between one and four times a year, I want you to have what we call a “client love meeting.” And what that means is that’s you reaching out to them and it’s not you going to see them during business hours, it’s not you sitting down with them in their conference room, it’s not around a work discussion, it’s a, “Hey, let’s grab breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner, drinks, golf, theater,” whatever is their thing and something that you can share. And the purpose of that client love meeting is a couple of things, number one: For you to demonstrate and articulate the gratitude you have for them as a client. “Hey, you know what? We really love working with you, thanks for letting us do really creative work, we’re so excited about the results we got on this, it makes our team really fired up when we can deliver results like that,” whatever it is about that specific client and you want to be specific, that you really value about them. Two: You want to ask how the team is doing. Are we exceeding your expectations? Is there something else you would like to see our team doing that we’re not doing today? And the third one is just to have a conversation around their business. What’s going on, new competitive landscape. Is technology changing something for them? It’s very much an owner to owner conversation or leader to leader conversation that is really just about sort of having that high-level conversation that only someone who owns a business or runs a business is capable of having. So it’s a very high-level conversation, it’s not about the work, it’s not about projects, but I will tell you this: That in most cases, probably I’m going to say 75% of the time, when you have one of these meetings, at some point in the conversation, that CEO or business
owner is going to say, “You know what? We’re doing this thing, whatever it is, we’re launching a new product, we’re opening a new location, we’re having a hard time recruiting, I’ll bet you guys can help us with that.” So often, you will leave that client love meeting with a new project or a new opportunity or a new request for a scope of work but that is not your goal, it’s not your focus, your focus is gratitude, your focus is checking in on how your team is doing, and having a conversation that allows you to be the thinking partner to that CEO or business owner. A lot of times they are operating very much in a silo. Maybe they can’t talk about they’re worried about the recession or other things with their team members and they may not have other people to talk to about their business but you are safe, you already know a lot about their business and you’ve been around the block a couple of times so they know that you have the same perspective in terms of your experience that they do. So here’s how that works, so I want you to make a list of all your clients in terms of both size of AGI and profitability. So two columns, three columns, client name, AGI, profitability. And based on that, I want you to decide how often you should have these client meetings. Now if your clients are out of town, should you get on a plane? Absolutely. If they’re going to be at a trade show or an industry event, can you tie your client love meeting to that? Absolutely. But if you get down to the bottom of the list and you’re saying, “Not worth my time, not going to do it, no, no no,” I also think you have to ask yourself the question: “Then why are they a client?” Every client deserves a little bit of your time and attention. And if they don’t, if they’re not that valuable to the agency then you really do have to ask yourself what they’re doing on the roster. So if you do not calender these, so if you do not start putting the list of clients on your calendar and start extending the invitations because you know how busy these clients are so it may take you a month or two months to get on their calendar. So I always, on your calendar, I always want you to try to be scheduling the next quarter’s worth of client love meetings. So if you have a ton of clients, you may have to divide this up amongst your leadership team but ideally, this is an owner to owner or owner to CEO kind of a situation, I think you’re going to be amazed at A: The goodwill it brings you, how much your client appreciates the fact that you want to spend time with them and that you’re investing in them and that good new work comes out of it. So go take a look at your client list and schedule those client love meetings. All right? Talk to you next week.

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