Since the beginning of my career, I’ve worked in four different agencies and been involved in like 40 projects or more. Almost in every project, I got to deal directly with clients, which I really hate. Hearing initial and/or revision brief, presenting new ideas, troubleshooting, problem solving discussion, etc.
Then, when my co-founders and I started Communicaption, guess which responsibility eventually fell on my lap? Surprise surprise: it’s client relations. It’s as if my hatred ate me alive.
But later, I learn that the more I face this reality on a daily basis, the more I experience how every lasting relationship is built upon ‘trust’, and trust begins with perception: how we perceive our clients, and more importantly, how we perceive our self as a company. Back when I really hate going to client meetings (in case my dear clients are reading this: it’s not you, it’s the meetings) I somehow had this tunnel vision that my clients were these bossy people, sitting all day trying to catch our mistake. I didn’t trust them. And worse, I perceived myself and the company as a vendor that listened and did as told.
Now I’ve made peace with it. I find trust as an end product, formed by combination of competence, interpersonal communication skill, and credibility. If we have the competencies needed, we communicate honestly and effectively, then we’ll be perceived as a credible partner, and therefore we deserve trust. To be trustworthy, we have to keep learning and stay ahead, because we’re not sitting in their office just to make biased opinion, we’re there to lead the way.
In Communicaption, we keep in mind that we are an equal partner to our clients. We come to meetings because we have the capability to lead them getting things done, not just because we have spare time. They’re not paying us only for our time, but for what we are capable of.
It’s not easy, but I believe it’s a better way to create a more sustainable relationship and consequently, a more sustainable business.
What about you and your company? Leave your thoughts on a comment below 🙂