Be the Boss…of your Clients!
Author: Nguyen Mai Nhat Minh – s3372999
“It is true that we need to make clients happy. But in some special cases, we need to break that rule. We have to be strong for our own benefits!”, said Ms. Dang Ngoc Hanh – Event planner at Party in Saigon.
The clients-agencies relationship is a two way one – is it always true? Although advertisers have more freedom to select various components, the clients still hold more power (Doyle, Corstjens & Michell 1980) since agencies have to self-adjust to satisfy the client’s needs (Shapiro 2003).
This inequality is clearer explained by Ms. Dang Ngoc Hanh, an experienced account planner in Party in Saigon. Party in Saigon is a part of Dong Vui company that concentrates on the event planning field. Having met with various customers, Ms. Hanh has pointed out a special kind of clients that demonstrates this unbalance.
Figure 1: Proof of Life (taken by author’s friend).
She said, “We usually do our best to satisfy our clients, and when they finally agree to our ideas, we are so happy that we are blinded and are not prepared for what could happen to us after.”
“There are some very potential clients who show us how much they want to work with us and, obviously, we would want to do our best for them. However, after a long time of working together, they disappear! From my experiences, they would be sick or unavailable for contact, and then they reappear to tell us that they want to stop,” she added.
Many examples of such problematic clients that Ms.Hanh described fit into the category of ‘The Playgrounder’, which consists of clients who give many “all-or-nothing” offers (Friedman 2012). Ms.Hanh said that they give offers like that to imply our importance and makes us want the job. It also gives us an impression that they are very professional and serious about the job. Ms.Hanh then developed many useful tips for dealing with these clients.
Always keep some for ourselves
Yep, we may have a great idea that certainly wins us the clients. However, don’t give all of them to the clients. Ms. Hanh only gives us much as 50% of her ideas to the client, she can know if the clients want it or not. If the clients order more, she firmly tells them that they will only get it when the contract is signed.
Order them back
The clients can give us orders that we have to fulfill. However, keep in mind that we can also do that to them! For example, we can tell them about our conditions for giving promotion to make sure that they won’t disappear with it.
Apply social skills
We need to be strong, not scary, so try to use social skill when negotiating. Social skills can be said as the use of friendliness to persuade people the way we want (Goleman 1998). Try to bend them to our will, not forcing them.
Don’t beg the clients
If clients are too stubborn and refuse all of our needs, then we can say no to them. It is a two way relationship after all, if one side is too dominant, the relationship has broken already!
“Keep the clients happy, it is true. But don’t forget to keep us happy as well since we are humans also.”
“By doing so, we can ensure that both parties are feeling good and we can also prevent such problems or any kind of problems that can happen because of the inequality in the relationship,” Ms.Hanh concluded.
Figure 2: Reproduced from Gingerconsult 2013
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Doyle, P, Corstjens, M & Michell, P 1980, ‘Signals of Vulnerability in Agency-Client Relations’, Journal of Marketing, vol.44, pp.18-23.
Friedman, I, 2012, ‘Disarming tough clients: how to recognize and deal with three demaning client archetypes’, Residential System, February, vol.13, no.2, p.20.
Gingerconsult 2014, ‘Be The Boss’, image, Gingerconsult, viewed 6th January 2014, http://gingerconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/boss.png
Goleman, D 1998, ‘What makes a Leader?’, Havard Business Review, November, vol.76, pp.93-102.
Hanh, Dang Ngoc 2013, interview, 18th December 2013.
Shapiro, E 2003, ‘The Graphic Designer’s Guide to Clients: How to make Clients happy and do great workd’, Allworth Press, New York, America.