Trust is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the stuff that builds friendships and, coincidentally, great business partnerships.
In 2014, Rubin Postaer and Associates partnered with USA TODAY to conduct a survey on the current state of the client/agency relationship. What is the one factor they found that fosters the most success for both the client AND the agency? “Clients trusting their agencies.” It’s the naked truth.
Of course, it can take a while to get to that point, right? Strong, trusting relationships don’t develop overnight. It takes an intentional effort to get to know your clients and a true desire to solve their needs. Putting in the extra effort will pay off in the long run, though, and will likely result in more business on both sides in the future.
How to Make That Magic
When I worked with Disney, I learned the true meaning of a mutually beneficial relationship. I had to establish trust with my potential customers before I even began to sell them their best-fit ticket. The same principles that applied to my job as a vacation planner are the same ones that we use at Clairemont to build our long-standing relationships with clients. Here are some cornerstones of a solid agency-client relationship.
- Listen (actually listen) to their concerns. This doesn’t mean to smile and nod and start planning your reply the second the other person starts talking. Above all, the purpose of PR is to serve clients’ needs. So, be ready to actively listen, ask questions and confirm with the client before your brain starts running a mile a minute.
- Don’t promise something that you can’t deliver. If a client request is impractical or unlikely to succeed, be honest about it and suggest an alternative. Transparency, even when it involves sharing bad news, is infinitely better than promising something that never gets done.
- Be consistent. Communicate deadlines with your client and meet them with exceptional work. Return phone calls. Show up to meetings prepared and on time without fail. A series of small steps adds up to one giant leap towards a strong, trusting relationship.
- Constantly communicate. Throughout the project, the most important thing you can do is check in with the client. Is he or she getting the desired results? At the end, what did he or she wish had gone differently? What will you specifically adjust now or in future campaigns?
- Go the extra mile. Always. Do the extra work, the hard work, the creative work. Take genuine interest in them as a person (which we do!). As the saying goes, you’ve gotta be a friend to have a friend.
Itching for an agency you can trust? Let us show you how it’s done.
Written by Jessica Winesette, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill.