By Libby Esterle, Senior Account Executive
I love variety and am fortunate to have a good deal of it in my career, working in a Cincinnati-based full-service marketing and communications agency. From writing and editing to conducting audits to brainstorming creative concepts, no day is the same and I love that. But in addition to those responsibilities, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy client management as well.
This is probably, in part, due to my nature. Some (my husband, maybe) may say I like “being in control.” I, on the other hand, feel that I simply “enjoy herding cats” and “getting my ducks in a row.” Either way, following are some things I’ve learned about successful client management over the years:
- Have an Agenda. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But I’m amazed just how much having a simple agenda can go a long way in keeping everyone A) on the same page and B) on time.
- Noted! In addition to an agenda, it is equally important to not only keep detailed notes during the meeting, but to also provide thorough follow-up notes after the meeting concludes, to ensure everyone is still on the same page.
- Lights, Camera, Action (Plans)! I know that this is not the first time I’ve touted my love of a good action plan. But I keep coming back to them because they are a great way to show your clients everything that has been completed on their behalf, what is in process and what is coming down the pike.
- Lost in Translation. Email is great. Phone calls are good, too. But…there are just some things that are best said/done in person. Having regularly-scheduled, in-person meetings helps build a good, solid working relationships and provides valuable face-to-face time that cannot be replicated anywhere else.
Let me share an example of successful client management, if I may. A short time before the holidays last year, we had a meeting with one of our awesome clients to discuss budget. Money being a delicate subject, that meeting could have gone either way, right?
Given that is was the holidays, we came armed with delicious Harry & David pears for our client— they loved them, thankfully—and enough data to have a productive conversation about budget and priorities. What we didn’t count on was us leaving that productive and positive meeting with a very thoughtful gift from our client—a super-soft, super-comfy Sherpa blanket that ended up being one of my daughters’ favorite 2017 Christmas “gifts.” Win/win!
What are some tips you have to ensure successful client management?