3 Foundations For Strong Client Relationships

CodyDamon
Cody Damon President, Media Cause

Posted on March 12th 2011

I always admire those folks that have genuine relationships with their clients. It’s a tough dynamic to perfect that’s for sure.  On one hand it’s purely the humanity of a relationship and connecting with someone. On the other hand, the business of agency life sneaks in, assuring that the relationship is profitable. It’s a tough balance and one I haven’t absolutely perfected yet.

Nonetheless, here are three simple foundations I learned that have helped me grow into a better marketer and dare I say, a better agency man.

1.) Trust – Sometimes we want to jump right into an aggressive sales pitch about how we can provide so much value and ROI. We talk about our previous successes and proclaim expertise about areas that potential (or current) clients have no understanding. To them this sounds like a used-car salesman pitch. And it might actually work, but that’s a numbers game and you have to get in front of a lot of folks to make that work.

2.) Patience – How do you instill trust? You teach! You teach platforms, you teach basics, you teach how to tweet (Chrysler and their former agency wish they read this a week ago), you build capacity so your clients understand the value that you are bringing to them. I work primarily with non-profit clients, most of which do not have digital marketing staff, so it’s essential that I spend quality time explaining the platforms and tools before I start selling how effective they can be.

3.) Humility – This is actually a measure of success. If you have built trust and built capacity you shouldn’t be surprised when a client figures out something before you do or when they know about a tool before you do. You should be proud that they are investing in what you have taught them. We all know how fast digital moves and its hard to stay on top of every single thing, so have some humility when a client has a great suggestion or discovers something new about a platform. This will go along way to keeping their trust and when you have to switch from teacher to salesman.

For more musing from the trenches, be sure to follow me on twitter @codydamon

CodyDamon

Cody Damon

President, Media Cause

Cody is President and East Coast client lead at Media Cause, a digital advertising agency that focuses exclusively on the non-profit sector. Media Cause works with non-profits to develop strategies that cultivate, nurture, and engage people around their mission. With offices in Boston and San Francisco, Media Cause is fortunate to tap into a wide range of experts either as advisors, employees, or volunteers.

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Comments

Reading your post has been a great releaf for me. What you described in the exact order is exactely my approach, my attitude and my way of thinking reflected into my business development activity. Until now, I even had the idea that somehow, someway I was doing something wrong. I believe that this is the right approach, but it must come first from your characther, your personnality, your nature rather than from a "training class" or a "master".

If I may add something is that there is one pitfall to this approach: it takes ages before you will get any positive and tangible result. Be prapared to put your patient to the hardest test. If you win, when you'll win, the customer will admire your approach, will trust you and will respect you.

Thank you Damon.

Luca

Thanks for the comment and the retweet Luca! I agree that this process takes longer, but is ultimately more fruitful. Good luck in your endeavors.

Ciao

Cody

I totally agree.  And if I may add, one of the things that should come first in every client relationship is transparency.  Transparency plus the things you mentioned would truly help keep your client relationships last.