Back in February, we discussed the importance of vetting your team. I’d argue that a process to vet your prospects and clients is just as necessary. In fact, the two go hand in hand. If your clients make your team miserable, guess what? You’ll probably find yourself going back to the drawing board to rehire after an unhappy employee left. And then when that happens you might risk losing the client due to a shift in the client/agency dynamic, if that person was in a prominent, client-facing role. Our advice? Don’t let that nasty cycle even start. Onboard the right clients from the get go for a win-win situation to keep everyone happy.
Sounds easy enough, right? Here’s what you need to do.
Identify what makes a great client for your company. Go through a historical list of clients and review the positives and negatives to each of those relationships. Had a client that you loved as a person, but didn’t quite pay the bills on time? Maybe that’s not the best fit for you because we all know that promises don’t keep the lights on. Had a client who constantly questioned your process or who didn’t let you take the reigns? Red flag! Trust is extremely important to a client/agency relationship to be successful for both parties.
Not sure where to even start on this process? Consider some of the following factors when it comes to the relationship:
Of course, there are going to be other questions that need to be answered that are important to you as a company, but you’ll need to identify those on your own. For instance, in our experience we’ve found it’s easiest and most effective for us to work with brands that are more established and that have team allocated to specific jobs and duties in place. This way we have a point person for approvals, for questions, etc. instead of giving that job to only one person on the client side which can cause excessive work load and frustration.
Once you’ve identified what the core criteria on what makes a great client for you, go back and identify the top 3 non-negotiables. Chances are, not every prospect is going to align with each of your needs, but they should definitely match up with your top 3. If they don’t...don’t even send a proposal. Make sure to ask these 3 questions up front when considering working together. If something doesn’t match from the initial conversation, be up front and explain that you might not be the best fit. While it might seem counterintuitive to future business, you’ll thank yourself in the long run. A client that causes headaches on a regular basis for you and your team just isn’t worth the trouble.
If you do determine that things are aligned, start to address your other points that you’ve set for your ideal client fit. If they match up with at least 75% of your needs, you’re in the clear for a healthier, more successful and more results driven relationship, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to have a conversation.
Having a clear expectations setting meeting or call before signing any contracts is also key to maintaining happiness for both parties. Be clear with how you work: how you deliver, how you review, who is on your team, when your work hours are, your thoughts on industry trends, your scope of work, etc. On their side, be sure to leave room for questions about their own teams. Who can you expect is your point of contact in certain areas? What are their goals and KPIs they are looking to hit? What are their timelines? How do they measure success? Discussing all of these points will lend itself to the start of a transparent and honest relationship, leaving room for clearer communication paths and happiness all the way around.
Ready to talk about bringing on an agency yourself? Contact us today and let’s start the matchmaking process!
Image via (UNSPLASH)