You know when you know

When a friend falls in love with someone who they claim to be THE ONE, you might ask how they can be so sure. “You know when you know” is often the confident, assured response.

Can we say that about our own clients? Did we have a strong feeling when we first met that the fit was just right and likely to last?

Artizan has had hundreds of clients over the past 15 years. Based on our experience, we have a pretty good idea when we’re on to a good thing and when to run a mile.

Let’s start with the red flags:

  1. Aversion to commitment, reluctance to sign an SLA, conversation is steered away from discussing/agreeing terms
  2. Poor eye contact and defensive body language
  3. Lack of passion when talking about the project / brand vision
  4. The project feels like an onerous item on a to-do list
  5. Concessions are requested without compromise
  6. Opinions of their own team members or clients are undermined
  7. Conversation is dominated by one voice

The ideal client partnership for us:

  1. Peer to peer dynamic – advice is sought and opinions are asserted in equal measure
  2. Our creative process is respected and valued
  3. Time is valued - meetings and calls are focused, productive and effective
  4. Business challenges and goals are openly shared
  5. Being challenged by an agency is encouraged
  6. Communication is responsive
  7. Colleagues’ opinions are invited and considered

Once both parties feel there’s a good connection, the relationship starts with plenty of positive energy. Maintaining the chemistry requires ongoing commitment and effort on both sides. Here’s a few things we endeavour to bring to our professional partnerships to ensure they go the distance:

  1. Communicate progress (including delays)
  2. Be as interested in their business as they are
  3. Incorporate their knowledge, opinion and feedback in the creative process
  4. Acknowledge their long-term needs and identify when and how we might be able to help
  5. Proactively propose solutions beyond the initial agreement
  6. Advocate for the brand - share details of their offers, events, insights if relevant
  7. Connect them with our other clients, strategic partners or personal networks
  8. Stay interested in their success - milestones achieved, investment secured, PR exposure, award wins

While customers are vital to the success of any business, it’s important to be selective. Be wary of entering a contract with individuals who make you feel frustrated or undervalued, no matter how attractive the budget or the project. Stay highly alert during those initial sales meetings and check in with yourself afterwards. How energised do you feel about the team/individual and project you might be working with? Choose your clients carefully and hold on tightly to the ones that make the cut. A symbiotic partnership is likely to generate real value.

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