‘Sexing up’ client relationships – 5 top tips

To ensure clients keep coming home to you when competitors wink at them, follow these five proven relationship ‘sex it up’ tips right now.

Relationships get stale. The magic of the early days dwindles. You start taking each other for granted. This is a high danger time and you need to move fast to spice up the relationship.

First, though, remember the Golden Rule of client retention and growth.

It’s All About The Work. Nothing keeps client love alive longer than work that works, delivers results, exceeds expectations. No amount of ‘sexing it up’ compensates for ineffective work.

Here are five proven tips for revving up the relationship:

  1. Tell them you love them. Find a reason for a special client/agency dinner… an anniversary, a new campaign, a planning session. Keep some mystery around the dinner. Then do it exceptionally well. A special venue. Seating plan. Name tags. Menus printed with client/agency logos. Then unveil a plaque, or a framed piece of work, or a tasteful drawing of the client team. Give each client executive a memento. Make a heart-felt speech. “Thank you for working with us. Thanks for the opportunity. We know you have choices. We know we are not always perfect. But we want you to know we really, really appreciate the opportunity. We value you deeply, and we will work hard to deliver even more going forward. Thank you.” Try it. It works! Warning though it has to be sincere.
  2. Ask them. “Client – we want to exceed your expectations. What are the three things we could do brilliantly in the next 100 days that would absolutely delight and excite you.” And once they have told you do them!
  3. Treat them like a new business prospect. Remember how hard you worked when you were wooing them? How you sweated every detail. Analysed the relationship. Strategy sessions on how to get closer, on how to impress, how to add a ‘WOW’ to every meeting. Well- do it again. For 100 days.
  4. Refresh your team. Familiarity breeds contempt. Change the account team. Add new blood. Sometimes, like ‘Big Brother’, throw an intruder into the house. Inject a high impact player to the team for six weeks, just to spice it up.
  5. Give great meetings. Meetings are a critical ‘moment of truth’ where clients get a deep impression of our value and effectiveness. Make them great! Have an agenda, clarify outcomes, start on time, keep it moving, add humour, have fresh insights or ideas to surprise them with, finish on time. Hold meetings in unusual places. Their competitor’s store. The zoo. At the arts museum. At places or relevance, learning, inspiration. Get them talking about you positively.

In a later blog, five more great tips. Meanwhile, have you any to share?

, ,

10 Responses to ‘Sexing up’ client relationships – 5 top tips

  1. Michael Hyams May 25, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Interesting post Chris, thanks for tips

    • Chris Savage May 25, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      Glad you like it Mike

  2. Jarrad Harvey May 30, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    This is really insightful Chris. Being a finished artist I don’t get much, if any interaction with our clients but I think it’s important that all members of an agency know how to make their clients feel appreciated.

  3. Jeff Estok June 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Hi Chris. Nice work. Can I expand on a couple of points with some insight, learned both over the years, and from our “Subject Matter Expert” basis as Client-Agency Engagement experts?

    “Treat Then Like New Business Prospects”. When we (Navigare) were in New York in October at AdForum, and visiting some 20 odd Agencies during our week, we were welcomed like New Business prospects. As we should, since most of the AdForum representatives are Pitch Consultants. At one, we were welcomed by Black Tie/Ball Gown apparelled Agency employees, lead behind a curtain to a sensational new business ‘show’, and treated like royalty.

    It dawned on me, in our role as Business Continuity advisers, that Agencies REALLY miss the boat in terms of as you call it ‘sexing’ up existing relationships by not treating their most valued customers–exisiting clients–with this same level of respect and importance.

    What existing client wouldn’t be blown away by such a display? Especially if it was done annually?

    Yet, very few, if any, Agencies attach the same effort to wooing existing clients.

    Hence, the ‘New Business’ program simply becomes a ‘Business Replacement’ program, to replace the billings of a client feeling unloved and unappreciated.

    Additionally, in terms of “giving great meetings”, clients typically question the value they get out of a room full of people. Enlightened clients these days are focussing on the ‘done’, not the ‘doing’, and they seem a room full of non-contributing ‘meeting bandits’ as a waste of a good retainer.

    My suits were always taught that if they attended a meeting, they were required to contribute three things that they were going to action from that meeting. Clients had few problems with that philosophy. So while finding new and interesting places to hold meetings is a worthwhile endeavour, again, a focus on the ‘done’ (what the meeting attendees actually contribute) rather than the ‘doing’ (the ‘where’ and ‘process’ of the meeting) might be an equally beneficial pursuit.

    Food for thought.


    • Chris Savage June 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      Thanks Jeff. That’s a really insightful contribution. Appreciate your taking the time. Chris

  4. Matthew Gain June 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Great advice Chris – thanks for sharing.

  5. Kathie Nelson June 6, 2011 at 5:22 am #


    This post made me smile. It is so commonsensicle. It is a reminder that I (we) can be come so internally focused on our processes, what’s next, new business development tactics that we take for granted the relationships that got us to where we are and will keep us growing.

    I have another tip I’d like to add to your list.

    Don’t forget your past customers! Plan time to add to your outreach regular touch points to remind them that you love them and are interested in their success.

    Keep up the great work!

    Kathie – Connectworks

  6. Sharon Vandermeer October 13, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    I just have to say I loved this blog! Its relevant to any Business. Everyone wants to be valued!
    Really great Blog.

  7. Carolyn Hall January 12, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    I keep coming back to this post again and again. We’re currently business planning and this will make a massive difference. Good to be reminded.

    • Chris Savage January 13, 2015 at 11:49 am #

      Good to hear, Carolyn

Leave a Reply