Monday, May 9, 2011

Client Retention Strategy: Care for the Client (Talk Money)

Caring? OK, I can hear it already. This guy has been sucked in by the the dark side.

You ask, how much more can I do for the client? I do care. I give them my all my energy and creativity all day. I care enough already about this client relationship.

Sure, client facing staff do give it all to their clients. Account and project managers are no doubt some of  the toughest, emotional jobs that exist. The question I pose is, are you giving the right stuff, caring the right way?

Talkin' Money. Money is one area that you probably don't give enough. Not the amount of money. I'm sure you've shaved budgets to the bone to get the work.

But have you talked about money with the client in the right way? Have you shared what your firm needs to make on a project and why? Have you laid on the table the profit  needed  to survive, to keep the doors open to serve them?

At a recent client interview a CMO told me plain and simple that if the agency has shared WHY they needed a higher budget, she probably would have agreed. But there wasn't the frank, open discussion about money she wanted.

Courage and Openness. Now, every client doesn't want to talk openly about money or anything else. I get that. But for ones that do, and there are plenty out there, have the courage to be open and talk about mark-ups, multipliers, gross margins, etc. Assess whether they are ones that want a great client relationship. Because if they want a partner for the long-term, they will be OK paying what you need. Otherwise, you probably don't need them.

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