More ‘sexing up’ client relationships proven tips

In a previous post I outlined how client relationships often get stale, and offered 5 great ideas to ‘sex it up’ a bit. It was the most read and retweeted post to date- amazing what impact the word ‘sex’ has to readership!

Here are five more proven ideas to put real spice back into relationships that have kind of got a bit staid and boring, for all.

The magic of the early days dwindles. You start taking each other for granted. You don’t tell them you love them. You get a bit fat and lazy.

Danger! This is when competitors put on that little black dress, apply the make-up and start winking at your client across the bar. This is a high risk time, so take action fast to spice up the relationship. To ensure clients or your internal stakeholders keep coming home to you when competitors wink at them, follow these five proven relationship ‘sex it up’ actions right now.

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

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WORK. Nothing keeps client/stakeholder love alive longer than work that works, delivers   results, exceeds expectations. No amount of ‘sexing it up’ compensates for ineffective work.

The post I wrote some weeks ago had five great tips on ‘sexing up’ client relationships (highlights are at the bottom of this post). Here are five more:

  1. Merchandise your results. Package up the results of your work so your client can in turn merchandise it internally. Make your client look great (“Never get between the footlights and your client,” said David Ogilvy). Highlight every key outcome of value you’ve delivered. Show how your work is nailing goals. Make it entertaining. Add a WOW factor. Make it easy for your client to show this high impact presentation or video or whatever, to their bosses. Help them shine.
  2. Involve your senior people. Often senior agency people move to other priorities once a new client is bedded in. Clients resent this deeply, and clients are always watching us. Get your seniors involved again. See how they can add most impact ‘off the bench’ to delight and inspire the client.
  3. Give them some ‘glamour’. For some clients, the agency relationship is one of the more exciting, interesting aspects of their jobs. Don’t forget it. Make it special. Introduce them to interesting people. Take them to special events. Take their partners too. Add value to their careers. As with American Express, ensure ‘membership (as a client of your agency) has its privileges.’ Give them a little bit of Hollywood occasionally- something to talk about.
  4. Hold an innovations/ideas session. Take the initiative. Set up an ideas session on how to grow market share or address a client issue. Involve your best brains. Invite the client. Come well prepared with some great ideas to throw on the table. Have an action packed brainstorm where you come up with 10 more great ideas. Ensure on the way home the client says to themselves: “WOW! How lucky am I to have xyz agency in my life….”
  5. Train them. Invite the client executives to your training sessions. Often the senior clients want to develop the skills of their teams in what we do, but have no access to the right training. They love being part of our training. It’s inspiring, impressive, and builds great relationships too.

And the five top tips to ‘sexing up client relationships’ from the last ‘sex it up’ post:

  1. Tell them you love them (make sure they know you don’t take them for granted and appreciate the relationship)
  2. Ask them what you need to do to delight them and exceed their expectations (become feedback gluttons)
  3. Treat them like a new business prospect for 50 days (impress and inspire them at every step for 50 days)
  4. Refresh your team- even by ‘throwing an intruder into the house’ (add new energy and spark)
  5. Give great meetings- it’s a critical moment of truth

Do you have some other ideas to share?

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6 Responses to More ‘sexing up’ client relationships proven tips

  1. Sandy Oldham August 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    So true Chris.

    One can become very complacent until danger is knocking on the door.

    Very much enjoying and reflecting on your regular blogs. Thank you!

    • Chris Savage August 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

      Thanks Sandy! Glad you’re enjoying them and thanks for the comments. Chris

  2. Jeff Estok August 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Another great article.

    I can’t help but provide another tip.

    One of our ‘mantras’ at Navigare is to counsel Agencies to focus on the ‘done’, not the ‘doing’.

    Too many times, people make the mistake of merchandising the ‘doing’. And while clients appreciate the number of people you have working on the business, and the insane hours they put in, untimately they value the Agency for the contributions they make to the client’s business–the ‘done’.

    The ‘done’ requires that you know what IS important to the client in the first place. But armed with that knowledge, a focus on deliverying that (or those) will keep you forever in the hearts and minds of any client.

    Keep up the good work!


    • Chris Savage August 11, 2011 at 9:56 am #

      Thanks Jeff- valuable insight. I’ll add it to the list. Thanks! Chris

  3. Amanda Millar August 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Having been in-house for nearly six years now the training idea is a great one. It’s so hard to get access to relevant training in fast moving companies – brilliant idea.

    • Chris Savage August 11, 2011 at 9:57 am #

      Thanks Amanda- great endorsement and very good to hear from you. Thanks for reading the blog. Chris

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