The 7 pillars of great client relationships
Clients, agencies, production companies, we should all love working with each other. Think about it. We spend lots of time together. We launch campaigns together. And we sometimes even know each other like the back of our hands.
But after doing this long enough, there are probably a few memories we’d all rather not recreate.
So how can we forge stronger relationships that feel great? These are 7 tactics that we've found help build better relationships with our clients.
1. Qualify each other during sales
Preventing a difficult relationship starts by thoroughly vetting each other. We’ve defined strict criteria to prevent taking on the wrong work. Those little red flags during sales qualification will probably turn into massive cannon balls of disaster during a project. Really ask if you’re right for each other.
2. Always start with a brief and SOW
Once we’ve passed each other’s tests, the relationship should be set-up with clear communication in a creative brief and a statement of work (SOW) that covers the details of the project. Everything should be extremely clear before any legal documents are presented.
3. Nail the first project
Now it’s time to create great work. We always try to underpromise and overdeliver. Keep in mind that the first project sets the stage for the relationship. Nailing it shouldn’t mean overinvesting and losing money.
4. Conduct project retrospectives
Just like life, working relationships can’t possibly be sunshine and rainbows 100% of the time. Throughout projects, and especially at the end of a project, it’s important to conduct retros where we can speak openly about what went well, what didn’t go well, what we learned and what should be put into action moving forward. This is also a great opportunity to course correct red flags.
5. Don’t be afraid to educate
Information sharing is crucial. We don’t know everything about each other’s business or operations especially if we’re working together for the first time. There’s a lot that goes into making an awesome video. Keep an open dialogue about the process to help set-up a great shoot and what comes next in the post-production process so expectations are clear. For example: “Unfortunately, it’s going to take 20 hours to render this project, so making changes like this will push our timeline out. Is there a compromise that can work?”
6. Pay attention
It’s easy to get caught up in the work and forget about the people. Remember to pay attention to everybody as human beings. Kindness, care, optimism, and straight-talk are all powerful tools for building great long-term relationships. And it’s not just about the spoken word, watch for body language.
7. Key account strategy
Every party involved should have a strategy for future relations. How are we going to grow together? Should we part ways? Take the time to constantly push the relationship forward and remember, we each have the power to do what’s best for our respective businesses.
When things go bad, it’s a painful process that’s tough to recover from. That’s why the key to managing difficult working relationships is doing whatever you can to avoid them.
You have the power to...
- prevent bad prospects from becoming bad partners
- define clear boundaries for projects and hold each other accountable
- understand where you want the relationship to go and make it happen
No go use that power to make some amazing videos.
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