Maintaining quality business relationships is important, but great relationships are what help businesses conquer challenges. Relationships permeate every part of our lives, personal and business. We all participate in successful relationships and we all have relationships we avoid at all costs. This is a short list of a few factors that must exist in order to achieve maximum impact from our agency/client relationships.
1. There must be a partnership attitude. Each party must acknowledge their dependence on the other.
2. Expectations must be clear.
3. A precise decision making process must be in place.
4. The agency and client must have a shared goal clearly defined at the outset of each project.
5. The agency needs the opportunity to be fully absorbed into the client’s culture. The agency must understand the client’s people, product, and industry.
6. The client must understand agency’s processes and should be allowed to know the account managers as well as the supporting team. The client should strive to understand basic marketing concepts.
7. The client should be open minded. You hired the agency to be an objective opinion. Listen. The agency, at the same time, needs to accept the client’s expertise within his/her industry.
8. The agency must place a high value on keeping the client happy.
9. The client must have realistic expectations about timelines and budget.
10. The agency must consistently meet timelines and stay within budget.
11. The agency must price business correctly. If the price is too high, the client feels ripped off. If the price is too low, the agency may end up being inflexible.
12. Mutual success must exist. This means fair profit for both sides. Any other way will create an unbalanced relationship.
13. There must be time dedicated to evaluate the relationship after each project. Learn from each project, while talking about the bad and the good.
There are thousands of books written on this subject and there will be thousands more. Don’t assume this to be an exhaustive list, but these factors, if applied to your agency/client relationship, will create trust, understanding, and confidence which will make the path to a establishing a great business relationship much smoother.