Relationship Status: It’s (not that) Complicated

by Common Thread Collective Collaborator

Mar. 29 2016

Four steps to creating stronger relationships with your clients from one account manager to another


Client/agency relationships are a lot like online dating. We may not be far from swiping right (for approval) or left (for disapproval) when it comes to client/agency match-ups in our worklife. Receiving a rough draft proposal is like getting flowers from a new crush. However, once the initial connection is made and ink hits the paper, building a strong and fruitful relationship is what matters–for better or worse. Here are four ways to keep the sparks flying:


1. DTR! Define the Relationship

There comes a time in every new relationship where you have to have “the talk.” Are we dating? In a relationship? What is this? Much like a young romance, when an agency signs a new client, there is potential for confusion. It’s important to establish a clearly defined list of deliverables, expectations, and roles. Account managers should take the lead and ensure that there is a specific road map in place with a clear understanding of success for both the client and the agency. Meeting a clear, agreed upon definition of success makes long-term relationship building infinitely easier. Meeting your definition of success, but not the client’s will make your relationships last about as long as Taylor Swift’s.


2. There is no such thing as a bad question

Actually yes, yes there is! In the online dating world, you are likely going to talk to a lot of people before you find one you really like. You might make awkward small talk with one person (or seven); but you might also have a deep conversation with someone whom you really connect. When it comes time to meet in person to get to know him or her better, repeating a question from your last conversation might trigger the sense that you have a horrible memory; or more likely, that you didn’t care enough to pay attention. It’s no different when account managers work with clients. Asking questions is an important way to get to know the client, their brand, and their story better. Questions are the key to unlock common purpose and set goals. However, the act of listening to the client is equally as important.


3. We don’t need to see each other everyday…just every other day…

As an account manager, it’s your job to engage the client. Setting up regular calls opens the line of communication. Ghosting is a practice you do NOT want to participate in. This is when one person in a relationship completely cuts off communication without even so much as a “goodbye” text. Repeat after me, “communication is key!” Granted, extreme cases exist. Uncontrollable events happen and situations come up that require immediate attention; but don’t let it burn out the flame. Updating the client on work progress will not only engage them to provide feedback (and help you do better), but it will also help guide the project in the right direction and ensure the client is happy. You’ve heard the saying, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?” The same is true of clients. If your clients aren’t happy, you won’t be either.


4. Don’t over commit

The dating pool has expanded with so many online dating apps to choose from. If you wanted, you could line up three dates a day with little effort. Why not? Saves you time picking out outfits and traveling to and from your favorite date spot. Who cares what the waiters think? However, keep that up for long and you may burn out fast. That mentality isn’t ideal for long term romance either. At CTC, choosing to grow our client list means that we are selective in who we work with because we take a long term approach to ensure we provide great service to all our clients. There is power in quality over quantity.

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