Do Your Clients Consider You Indispensable? Here’s How to Make Sure They Do
During my days on the agency side, one of the biggest challenges was continually bringing new thinking to the table to help my clients grow their businesses and achieve their objectives. I can tell you, there’s nothing worse than missing opportunities because you’re out of the loop regarding the latest trends and innovations.
Imagine sitting in a client meeting and hearing the marketing director say gruffly, “I read yesterday about this new [greatest marketing innovation ever]. Why didn’t you guys know about that?”
Talk about turning up the heat. Does this conference room suddenly feel hotter than an August day in the bayou?
This kind of disconnect in the agency/client relationship is all too common. A Hall & Partners report, From Mad Men To Sad Men, which explores the state of the client/agency relationship, identifies three pain points they say are destroying this relationship:
Agencies do not understand their clients’ business
Agencies do not understand their clients’ customers
Agencies do not understand technology and innovation
So how can you show your client the value you and your agency deliver, and make sure these pain points are not roadblocks in your relationship?
Here are four simple things you can do right now to be the hero, not a zero:
1. Know your client
This talks to pain points one and two. Focus on discovery. Make the effort to learn about the your client’s business on more than a superficial level. Understand their brand strategy. Find out what their customers are up to. Learn about the concerns that keep their top execs up at night. Figure out how you can tie your company’s value proposition to their strategy, pain points and risk tolerance.
2. Take the pulse of your relationship
Schedule regular conversations with your client to find out how they’re feeling about the work you’re doing, the level of service you’re providing, and the creative thinking you’re bringing to the relationship.
These need not be formal status meetings but rather casual check-ins. Think a quick meet-up at Starbucks rather than a reserved conference room with printed agenda.
3. Listen, listen, listen
Whether you speak to your clients on a daily basis or only periodically, it’s important to get the most out of every interaction. That means truly listening to what your clients have to say.
“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” — Bernard M. Baruch
Let them share without interruption information that is important to them, whether it is directly relevant to your current project or not. Understanding your client’s mindset can positively impact your relationship and enhance their confidence in your ability to help them reach their strategic objectives. I’m not saying remain silent or don’t contribute to the conversation. Only that you need to make sure it’s give and take and you’re not just pushing your own agenda.
4. Stay ahead of the curve
There has never been more pressure on client/agency relationships to deliver value and provide a strong return on investment. How can you add value? By making sure it is you, not your competitor, that is introducing your client to the latest thinking, important trends, and relevant new technologies.
This speaks to pain point #4. If you’re on top of industry trends, understand where the market is headed and possess deep knowledge of your client’s business, you can bring to them innovative tech. You can deliver a strategy that helps them leapfrog their competition. You can prove your value.
Here’s what I mean. ViewPoint has a client in the pharma/biotech space that was finding it difficult to tell their brand story at conferences and trade show because of the sheer number and size of their products. They came to us with a challenge: provide a compelling way to talk specifics about their products that doesn’t require spending a fortune shipping equipment back and forth to events, or dealing with reams of collateral.
When devising a solution we did deep research on the company, their products, the types of prospects they wanted to attract in their trade show booth, and their openness to technical innovation. Information in hand, we answered their challenge by curating their digital assets — product specs and marketing collateral, images and videos — and crafted an engaging narrative using ViewPoint’s sophisticated touchscreen software.
The interactive experience we built is intuitive and allows our client to effectively tell their story, while presenting any of their thousands of products in as much or as little detail as their audience needs. (And thanks to the visually impactful nature of ViewPoint, the touchscreen experience helped draw more visitors to their booth. A bonus!)
At the end of the day, building a solid relationship is all about being an indispensable resource to your clients. So do your homework and your clients will show their appreciation with new business.
At ViewPoint, we’re focused on bringing creative new ideas to the table, for our own clients and for clients of our agency partners. If you’d like to discuss how ViewPoint can help you deliver even greater value to your clients, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.