Agency Management

5 Things Your Client Base Needs in Order to Trust Your Agency

by David Arnold, August 25, 2015

Trust is an age-old concept that has long been the focus of account executives. It is the conduit for maintaining productive client-agency affairs. And building and sustaining relationships should be an overarching objective for agencies. Without clients, there is no business. Ultimately, trust is earned.

Below are five things your client base needs before earning your trust:

1. Interpersonal Communication

Creative agencies are in the business of mass communications, but far too often, the value of interpersonal communication is overlooked. According to a recent survey, 84% of agencies and 81% of clients believe that the best work comes when a long-standing relationship is established. And in a market inundated with competition, fostering relationships with current and prospective clients should be a primary focus of your agency.

Focus on leveraging your communication expertise to drive results and win over clients. Speak directly, avoid passive-aggressive double-speak and establish a level of transparency. Pragmatic client relationships built on honesty will lead to a lifetime of conversions.

2. An Understanding of What You Actually Do

The ambiguous nature of creativity has led to a historical misunderstanding of what ad agencies actually do. In fact, 70% of agency executives admit they don’t share the same definition of creativity with their clients.

It’s important for your agency to stick to their creative roots. But it’s even more imperative for your clients to know exactly what you do—even if that means blatantly outlining your approach. While creativity is the backbone of any successful ad campaign, keeping your client cognizant of your overarching strategy is just as important.

3. Reassurance That it’s Okay to Take Strategic Risks

76% of agency executives say their clients are afraid to take risks. However, there are times when taking a gamble presents a clear strategic advantage. It’s up to you to make your clients excited about taking a risk. Reassure them that you understand their brand and goals. And make sure your efforts are backed by a clearly defined strategy.

It’s important to challenge your clients. But it’s just as essential to know that your risks will pay off.

4. Comfort Knowing That You Are Growing Their Business

While nearly half of agency executives believe that the best creative work alone can move business, only 25% of clients agree. Furthermore, 56% of clients claim that agencies are more interested in selling them work than solving problems.

Your clients didn’t hire you to win creative awards. They hired you to drive sales. Make sure you directly address your client’s specific goals and point them in the right direction with a clear strategy. You should be able to flesh out your client’s goals, identify opportunities and build a plan for success. At the end of the day, your primary focus should be the campaign’s success. Don’t simply sell your work; solve your client’s problems.

5. Delivery on Your Promises

While the digital age has led to a demand of accountability, the ad world is full of imposters, with many agencies incorrectly claiming to be a one-stop-shop. In the advertising world, every claim can be interpreted as a promise. Objectively approaching your promises, and being able to deliver on them, is a crucial step in sustaining a client relationship.

Many times, this involves knowing your agency’s capabilities. Don’t oversell a promise if your allocated resources can’t deliver. Deliver on the value you promised—the value that attracted the client to you in the first place.

What things have you noticed that your client base needs to trust an agency?

thrive-cta-design1

About The Author

David studied at the Northern AZ University & spent years working with agencies like J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson and Fortune 100 companies in Tokyo.

Subscribe to the Workamajig blog