Your Clients Are Someone Else’s Potential Clients

23 05 2008

On my wedding day, my dad said, “David, treat your wife like you’re still courting her and you’ll be a better husband.” What he meant was that her saying “I do” didn’t give me the right to get lazy about our relationship and take her for granted. The same advice should be repeated often in the agency world. We court potential clients with vigor, but sometimes settle into a routine with current clients while producing work just good enough to keep the relationship going.

Clients don’t deserve a less-than-stellar agency marriage just because we’ve been together for a while. Here are a few of the ideas I live by to stoke the fires. Feel free to share some of your tips for doing the same.

What’s the Big Idea? Deliver at least one new, UNSOLICITED idea to your clients each month. Providing your clients with these on a regular basis shows that you constantly think about their businesses. Don’t wait until your 2009 strategic planning meetings to bring fresh ideas to the table.

Relive the First Date. Prepare for your next client meeting like it’s a new business pitch. Whether they say anything or not, your clients will notice the difference. And they’ll feel important.

Pop the Question. Ask your clients about what’s keeping them up at night. There’s a chance it may be something they haven’t shared with you yet. Bring back to them ideas that chip away at the mountains in front of them. Better yet, bring back ideas that pulverize said mountains into mole hills.

DO Sweat the Small Stuff. Most clients forgive the occasional grammatical error in the news release, the sub-par draft media pitch that has a great chance of ending up here if it ever sees the light of day or the missing page in the PowerPoint presentation. But overlooking the details regularly is inexcusable. Whether you intend for it to or not, it tells clients they aren’t important enough for you to sweat the small stuff.

The most important tip, in my humble opinion, is to think of and treat your current clients like potential clients. It’s your best shot at producing great work, becoming indispensable to their businesses and squashing the chances they will run off with another agency.