The hardest part of client management is when the client has a predisposed negative position on some form of advertising from a previous experience. Most of the time, the disappointment stems from unclear client expectations of the advertising campaign. Building the trust back is more than half the battle.
It goes without saying that each client and brand has a different level of knowledge of how advertising works. The comfort level of how advertising has and continues to change, and being able to keep each individual up to speed, is critical. Working on day-to-day tasks with clients and managing their expectations is a mix of educating, setting expectations, and communicating.
Helpful steps for managing these expectations…
Educating. Media changes frequently, so keeping clients in the know of what’s out there and how it works will create a better understanding of the space. Sometimes people don’t want to ask questions because they don’t want to look stupid. Volunteering to a client what may seem to be unnecessary or assumed information could be more helpful than you think.
Setting Expectations. Gauge the comfort level of the client right away, then establish realistic deadlines, budgets, and strategies. At the same time, don’t hesitate to be honest. An honest outside opinion is often one of the most valuable assets to a company because they can be hard to come by. Work together to set both short and long term goals.
Communicating. This can sometimes be over-communicating. You probably will never have a client say, “I don’t care where you spend my money, have at it.” The more you communicate, the more trust you build. Be as transparent as possible with your client and don’t assume the small details are insignificant to discuss.
This business is 150% relationship based. The most important relationship you can possibly build in your career is that with your client. And remember, once you’ve gained that client trust you have to continue to maintain it. Nothing can make you or break you faster than your client management technique.