The Art of Compromise: it's an agency/client thing

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    11-Aug-2014
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This is a deck we share with all new hires. It's about the front line of the service relationship. Thought we'd share it out there and see what people think.

Transcript of The Art of Compromise: it's an agency/client thing

  • Reconciling our service ethic and our passion for great work THEARTOFCOMPROMISE
  • (Comments welcome) THISISANINTERNALDOCUMENTFORVELOCITYPEOPLE. WETHOUGHTWEDSHAREITMOREWIDELYTO CONTRIBUTETOTHEONGOINGCONVERSATION ABOUTAGENCY/CLIENTRELATIONSHIPS. HOPEYOULIKEIT.
  • THISIS BIG
  • THISISABOUTHOWWEWORK WITHCLIENTS.ABOUTHOW WECANKEEPTHEMDELIGHTED EVENASWEFIGHTHARDFOR WHATWEBELIEVEIN.
  • THISIS OBVIOUSYoud think most of it would go without saying. That its standard practice not only in Velocity, but in every agency. But it isnt.
  • Our lives are out of our hands. We have less fun. Clients have less fun. And our work suffers. WRONG IFWEGETIT
  • BUT IF WE GET IT Theres nothing we cant do. Literally nothing. RIGHT
  • &THE REWARDS MUST FOLLOW Glory. Attention. Job satisfaction. Money. Pride & Bling
  • WEWINSOME WELOSESOME Its about persuasion, respect and compromise. About knowing when to accept, when to question, when to fight and how. We bring ideas to our clients. They like some and dont like others. The ones they like, they do. The ones they do, they change. How we handle getting good ideas rejected or changed, is what this is all about.
  • 1ST PRINCIPLES There are no stupid clients And lets face it, marketing isnt rocket science anyway. A lot of our clients are not experienced marketers And may not be instinctive ones either. Thats not their fault. If a client makes the wrong decision, theres only one cause: Weve failed to convince them of the right option*. *If we keep failing over and over again, its probably the wrong client for us.
  • OPPOSINGIMPERATIVES This is a service business: We make money by giving clients what they want (and getting them to want the right things). This is a consulting business: Our authority is our product. If were not respected as experts, we become hacks who deserve what we get.
  • OURCLIENTSUNDERSTANDTHEIRBUSINESSES ANDTHEIRMARKETSBETTERTHANWEDO. WEUNDERSTANDCOMMUNICATIONSBETTERTHANTHEYDO. Together, these make for powerful marketing.
  • *Its a human thing. Even if they dont show it, clients often feel uncomfortable criticising our work. Its stressful. They dont want to appear unreasonable, picky, pedantic, ignorant or weak. THEYWANTTOBELIKED* For some clients, just being a client makes them feel insecure.
  • GOLDENOPPORTUNITIES So when a client sticks their neck out and gives criticism, its the perfect opportunity to: Diffuse tension. Surprise them with how open we are. (and how passionate, when we fight our corner) Help them relax so they can listen to us too. Which will earn their gratitude and bank some points that can be spent on future projects.
  • IFWECREATEANATMOSPHERE THATREMOVESTHESEFEARS Our client will be grateful, will like us more, and will be much more likely to: Relax, be reasonable, listen to us, fight for us, let us win a few, and give us more work. VELOCITY SAYS RELAX
  • HOWTO When theyre right, admit it. When theyre wrong, point it out while showing youre not being defensive or taking things personally. Have a sense of humour about it. Respect their their ability to be open, listen and change their mind. Dont assume theyll be closed-minded. Show that we know this is part of our job and we dont resent it. Show we dont feel smarter than them.
  • GIVINGIN(SOMETIMES) ISIMPORTANT It shows: Were open and professional. We understand its their right to change things. We respect their opinion and understand their agenda. Were realists. We know that politics and egos can lead to unwanted outcomes. We have perspective: knowing when and when not to push. So we should actively look for places where giving in gracefully is easy and doesnt hurt the project.
  • RESISTING(SOMETIMES) ISJUSTASIMPORTANT It shows that we: Care about quality and effectiveness. Care about their business not just our portfolio. Made choices based on solid reasoning. Evaluate options rationally (by holding them up against goals and taking the target audiences point of view). So actively looking for times to resist the wrong changes is important too. it justifies our fees.
  • EVERYONELIKESTOBE LIKEDANDRESPECTED.* *Duh. We all want colleagues to say behind our backs: SHESGREATTOWORKWITH.SMART,FAIR,OPEN&FRIENDLY. And the best way to encourage a client to be these things is to exhibit them ourselves. If clients feel were saying this (and they can tell), theyll love working with us. If they feel the opposite, theyll loathe it.
  • The best way to make a client do this about us is to do it about them. No one wants to think were hanging up the phone, calling them a wanker, and rolling our eyes -(
  • BOTHEXTREMESARELIKELYTOBEUNPROFESSIONAL. Suggest alternative Make a caseProbeAccept un-challenged Fine if its correct or inconsequential Disagree Fight hardQuestionDefer Reject without consideration Insulting and counter-productive ASPECTRUM OFRESPONSES
  • THINGSACLIENT WHENWERESIST ASUGGESTION: They're lazy In a rush Embarrassed Being prima donnas Have their own agenda Are scared of their own creatives Aren't listening Don't value my opinion THINKS
  • THINGS ACLIENTTOTHINKWHEN WERESISTASUGGESTION: Theyve listened but dont agree, theyre professionals, they have my interests at heart, they have pride in what they do, they dont take losing personally. WEWANT
  • TOSHOWWEREOPEN,TOSHOWWEKNOWWHAT WERETALKINGABOUT,TOSHOWWEGIVEASHIT. An interaction that doesnt show one or all of these things is a wasted opportunity. EVERYFEEDBACK INTERACTIONISAN OPPORTUNITY
  • BOTTOMLINE This is a service business. We have to give the client what they want but its our job to get them to want the right things. If we resist their input too much, theyll think were arrogant and theyll take their work to an agency that will listen. If we resist too little, they lose confidence in our expertise and we lose control of the relationship. PUSHINGBACKCONSTRUCTIVELYISESSENTIALTOOURSUCCESS.
  • SOMEUSEFULPHRASES Of course we can do that, but what about If we came up with a way to solve that issue without damaging XYZ, would you be open to it? I completely see where youre coming from, but it physically hurts me to change sell to generate incremental revenue opportunities. Okay, I lost this one but you cant say I didnt give it my best shot. I understand what youre up against. What if we
  • CALLINGINREINFORCEMENTS You dont have to manage the client relationship on your own. If youre losing a big one, bringing in reinforcements and escalating the discussion can help. It can also blow up spectaculary, covering everyone in the thick slime that is, after all, the essence of this zany marketing game.
  • If the relationship sours, it's usually our fault and it makes everything harder. If the relationship is open, trusting and postiive, there's nothing we can't do together. WEREL CKYTO HAVEOURCLIENTS GOODLUCKOUTTHERE. ANDTHEYRELUCKYTOHAVEUS
  • VELOCITYPARTNERS.COM Velocity