Desperation will kill you.
This one’s pretty obvious, but I once met a guy from an agency who had recently lost their biggest account. The client had been unhappy for awhile and when she threatened to move the business, he literally offered to do anything it took to keep the account – and I mean anything: more staff, opening a new office in a new country to better service the client, reduced fees, you name it. People generally want to be associated with successful people – and a groveling MD just doesn’t fit the bill. Sometimes things are broken and it’s better to just move on.
Don’t get trapped in the friend zone.
This happened to me once. We had a potential client. We talked her through our thinking, worked out how best we could work together and drafted some initial thoughts. Verbally, the costs were approved and everyone was happy. But that week turned into the next one, and without a signed contract we were starting to get nervous – was this deal actually going to happen? If things are going well, and it looks like you have a healthy future together, go for it. Or someone else will.
Don’t take them for granted.
There’s a reason that clients put their work out to pitch and the existing agency seldom wins the business back. More often than not, the agency didn’t get worse, they just got complacent. The spark that once had you guys so excited about working together just went out. And there’s a whole bunch of guys waiting at the door to light a new one.
It’s a two way street.
Mutual respect is one of the most important things you’ll ever find in business; it’s what drives good creative and makes for a happy future together. If you don’t have it, you’re better off spending your time looking for clients who want to work with you. A good client isn’t necessarily a good client for you. And in the long run, they’ll tear your business apart from the inside out.
Stuart Harris, Tonic Branding