The Ties That Bind – A Few Tips on Maximizing Client Relationships
November 10, 2016
In our profession, where we juggle multiple accounts and heavy workloads, somedays (read, most days) it’s all we can do just to keep our heads above water. The tactical stuff – like building media lists, writing press releases, pitching reporters, staffing media briefings, etc. – it’s all part of our daily grind. But as PR pros, we sometimes forget that the greatest value we bring to our clients is more than just a deliverable. It’s us. It’s our talent and our relationships. Public relations, after all, is a relationship business. And strong client relationships almost always translate into successful PR programs. We know this to be true, so the question is, how we can cultivate and maximize these relationships to drive better results and be the best possible partner to our clients? Speaking of…
Think of each other as partners
In service-based businesses like ours, the traditional roles of client and vendor are unavoidable. But when a client looks to you as an extension of their team, and not just another vendor, this is when the real magic happens. Being on the same page as far as goals, metrics, marketing strategies, etc., not only positions us to deliver better work, but also promotes a symbiotic relationship in which information flows easily and harmoniously. An open dialogue is key to establishing trust and ensuring successful account management on both sides of the table.
Relate on a personal level
First and foremost, we’re all just people. And people want to feel a connection, especially to those we work with closely. Now this isn’t to say we need to be best friends with clients to do good work, but connecting on a personal level is critical to building a solid rapport. Weekly meetings and calls offer more than just the opportunity to swap account updates. As the most frequent touchpoint we have, these moments are also our prime time to get to know our clients a little better. Remembering little details, like their kids’ names or a story they’ve told you before, can have a big impact on how well and how quickly our client relationships grow.
Don’t be a “yes man”
Clients respect our point of view. That’s why they pay us. If they don’t…well that’s a whole other story. But when we provide sound PR advice, business counsel and drive results for clients, we prove our value. Even when that advice goes against their initial thoughts or plans. We need to feel confident in sharing our strategies, because nobody wants a “yes man” after all.
Change it up
Creating compelling PR campaigns requires the implementation of nimble, integrated strategies and tactics that are clearly measurable. And while a one-size-fits-all model may work at first, it doesn’t mean it will or should work again. It’s on us to avoid getting stagnant with our client work. Instead, we must always be looking for ways to evolve our internal models, to offer up the right mix of services to clients.
But even with these tips and a hundred others, ultimately what makes us indispensable to clients is a combination of hard work, strategic insight, friendship and professionalism. The relationships we foster together are easily our biggest asset, making them critical to the success of accounts, the agency, and our individual careers.