The Anchor: 5 ways to maintain a healthy client-agency relationship

30 Nov,2011

By Akshar Peerbhoy


#1 No is a simple two-letter word. Learn it, memorize it and say it!

“No” really is the hardest thing to tell a client, right up there with “goodbye” and “sorry”. However, if you don’t get yourself to say it, the consequences could be much harder to deal with! If you can confidently say, “No” and live by it, your client will actually respect you and the agency, far more than a desperate-to-please yes-man!


#2 Set clear expectations.

Like marriage, you should always know what you’re getting into when you sign a client on. If you don’t, then set your cards on the table right at the beginning. He might ask you for the moon, but be frank and tell him just how far you are ready to reach out for him.


#3 Under-promise and over-deliver.

When you sit in the client’s boardroom with the suited lot, don’t be over-eager to display your grey matter and spill all your beans at once. And, don’t promise the afternoon’s deadline. No matter how passionate and eager you may be, it’s always the best strategy to promise him the lamp post and then deliver the stars.


#4 Be his best friend.

If you can share a drink with your client and talk about anything under the sun, except your work, you are probably going to find your rightful place in his good books as much as at his corner office. Ask him about his pending promotion or tell him where to eat on his next vacation in Hong Kong. He’ll remember to forget your few mishaps and missed deadlines, in time!


#5 Remember the three Vs – Value, Value and Value.

The ultimate test of any client-agency relationship is always reserved for the end of a contract term. This is the time when the agency folk succumb to excessive nailbiting and nervous breakdowns. The strongest survive, not only because of points 1-4, but also because they have delivered value to the client, time and again. Value beyond savings, free media space and extra ideas. Value as defined by the client. Even if it means being at the meeting 20 minutes earlier each time. Or finding his vendor for him. Do it, it will save you a lot of trouble on D-day!


Akshar Peerbhoy is Director at Maa Communications.

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2 responses to “The Anchor: 5 ways to maintain a healthy client-agency relationship”

  1. Adtype says:

    Spoken like a seasoned Advertising man.

  2. @bigfish009 says:

    One of the best Anchors I have read and useful. If followed I think agencies and the people working there will be valued and respected so much more. ūüôā