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THE ART OF COMPROMISE

Reconciling our service ethic and our passion for great work

THIS IS AN INTERNAL DOCUMENT FOR VELOCITY PEOPLE. WE THOUGHT WE’D SHARE IT MORE WIDELY TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE ONGOING CONVERSATION ABOUT AGENCY/CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS. HOPE YOU LIKE IT.

(Comments welcome)

BIG THIS IS .

.THIS IS ABOUT HOW WE WORK WITH CLIENTS. ABOUT HOW WE CAN KEEP THEM DELIGHTED EVEN AS WE FIGHT HARD FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE IN.

That it’s standard practice not only in Velocity. But it isn’t.THIS IS OBVIOUS You’d think most of it would go without saying. . but in every agency.

We have less fun. And our work suffers.IF WE GET IT WRONG Our lives are out of our hands. Clients have less fun. .

BUT IF WE GET IT RIGHT There’s nothing we can’t do. . Literally nothing.

Attention. Money.& THE REWARDS MUST FOLLOW Glory. Job satisfaction. Pride… & Bling .

They like some and don’t like others. The ones they do.WE WIN SOME WE LOSE SOME We bring ideas to our clients. respect and compromise. when to fight… and how. The ones they like. they change. It’s about persuasion. they do. . is what this is all about. About knowing when to accept. when to question. How we handle getting good ideas rejected or changed.

io is c e d g n o r w the s e k a m t n e li c If a se: u a c e n o ly n o there’s he t f o m e h t e c in conv o t d e il a f e ’v e W right option*. *If we keep failing over and over again. it And let’s face nce anyway. . it’s probably the wrong client for us. a f ir e h t t o n ’s t Tha n.1 PRINCIPLES ST nts e li c id p u t s o n There are isn’t g in t e k r a m . r expe e h it e s e n o e inctiv t s in e b t o n y a And m ult. rocket scie not e r a s t n e li c r u A lot of o ters e k r a m d e c n ie r .

. we become hacks who deserve what we get. If we’re not respected as experts. This is a consulting business: Our authority is our product.OPPOSING IMPERATIVES This is a service business: We make money by giving clients what they want (and getting them to want the right things).

OUR CLIENTS UNDERSTAND THEIR BUSINESSES AND THEIR MARKETS BETTER THAN WE DO. . these make for powerful marketing. Together. WE UNDERSTAND COMMUNICATIONS BETTER THAN THEY DO.

THEY WANT TO BE LIKED* *It’s a human thing. ignorant or weak.Even if they don’t show it. clients often feel uncomfortable criticising our work. picky. It’s stressful. For some clients. . just being a client makes them feel insecure. pedantic. They don’t want to appear unreasonable.

. it’s the perfect opportunity to: Diffuse tension.GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES So when a client sticks their neck out and gives criticism. Surprise them with how open we are. Which will earn their gratitude and bank some points that can be spent on future projects. when we fight our corner) Help them relax so they can listen to us too. (and how passionate.

will like us more. fight for us.IF WE CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE THAT REMOVES THESE FEARS… Our client will be grateful. listen to us. be reasonable. VELOCITY RELAX SAYS . and give us more work. and will be much more likely to: Relax. let us win a few.

listen and change their mind. Have a sense of humour about it. Show that we know this is part of our job and we don’t resent it. admit it. Don’t assume they’ll be closed-minded. When they’re wrong. Respect their their ability to be open. point it out while showing you’re not being defensive or taking things personally. Show we don’t feel smarter than them.HOW TO When they’re right. .

We respect their opinion and understand their agenda. We have perspective: knowing when and when not to push. . We understand it’s their right to change things. So we should actively look for places where giving in gracefully is easy and doesn’t hurt the project. We’re realists.GIVING IN (SOMETIMES) IS IMPORTANT It shows: We’re open and professional. We know that politics and egos can lead to unwanted outcomes.

Care about their business not just our portfolio. Made choices based on solid reasoning. Evaluate options rationally (by holding them up against goals and taking the target audience’s point of view). it justifies our fees. . So actively looking for times to resist the wrong changes is important too.RESISTING (SOMETIMES) IS JUST AS IMPORTANT It shows that we: Care about quality and effectiveness.

EVERYONE LIKES TO BE * LIKED AND RESPECTED. . FAIR. they’ll loathe it.” And the best way to encourage a client to be these things is to exhibit them ourselves. they’ll love working with us. SMART. If clients feel we’re saying this (and they can tell). OPEN & FRIENDLY. *Duh. We all want colleagues to say behind our backs: “SHE’S GREAT TO WORK WITH. If they feel the opposite.

and rolling our eyes -( The best way to make a client do this about us is to do it about them. calling them a wanker. .No one wants to think we’re hanging up the phone.

A SPECTRUM OF RESPONSES Defer Question Disagree Fight hard Accept un-challenged Fine if it’s correct or inconsequential Probe Suggest alternative Make a case Reject without consideration Insulting and counter-productive BOTH EXTREMES ARE LIKELY TO BE UNPROFESSIONAL. .

THINKS WHEN WE RESIST A SUGGESTION: They're lazy • In a rush • Embarrassed • Being prima donnas • Have their own agenda • Are scared of their own creatives • Aren't listening • Don't value my opinion THINGS A CLIENT .

they have my interests at heart. they’re professionals. they don’t take losing personally.WE WANT A CLIENT TO THINK WHEN WE RESIST A SUGGESTION: They’ve listened but don’t agree. they have pride in what they do. THINGS .

TO SHOW WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. An interaction that doesn’t show one or all of these things is a wasted opportunity. .EVERY FEEDBACK INTERACTION IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW WE’RE OPEN. TO SHOW WE GIVE A SHIT.

If we resist too little. If we resist their input too much. they’ll think we’re arrogant and they’ll take their work to an agency that will listen. . We have to give the client what they want – but it’s our job to get them to want the right things.BOTTOM LINE This is a service business. PUSHING BACK CONSTRUCTIVELY IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR SUCCESS. they lose confidence in our expertise and we lose control of the relationship.

I lost this one but you can’t say I didn’t give it my best shot. What if we…” . but what about…” “If we came up with a way to solve that issue without damaging XYZ. would you be open to it?” “I completely see where you’re coming from.SOME USEFUL PHRASES “Of course we can do that.” “I understand what you’re up against. but it physically hurts me to change ‘sell’ to ‘generate incremental revenue opportunities’.” “Okay.

the essence of this zany marketing game. bringing in reinforcements and escalating the discussion can help. after all. . covering everyone in the thick slime that is.CALLING IN REINFORCEMENTS You don’t have to manage the client relationship on your own. If you’re losing a big one. It can also blow up spectaculary.

GOOD LUCK OUT THERE. there's nothing we can't do together. . it's usually our fault and it makes everything harder. If the relationship is open. trusting and postiive.WE’RE L CKY TO HAVE OUR CLIENTS AND THEY’RE LUCKY TO HAVE US If the relationship sours.

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