Would it surprise you to learn that client relations is a lot like dating? Think about it. Though one is professional and the other personal, both types of relationships require the same elements in order to work. Honesty. Trust. Open communication. The list goes on.
But before those basic building blocks fall into place, you have to first establish the relationship. And that’s where the similarities really shine. Whether you’re an individual diving into the world of modern dating or an agency seeking new business, there is no doubt you will go through the same motions to establish an ongoing relationship.
CLIENT RELATIONS: Developing a written proposal.
DATING: Creating your online dating profile.
A “humble brag” in written form that showcases you or your organization’s unique personality and what you can offer someone. One that provides just enough information to interest someone but leaves him or her wanting more. An overview that features some visual elements so others get a sense of the whole package.
Knowing interested parties will decide within a few seconds if you’re worth getting to know better, you spend hours finding the right words and choosing the best visuals to create the perfect synopsis. This is the piece that can make or break you and ultimately determine if there is a next step.
CLIENT RELATIONS: The pitch.
DATING: The first date.
You think you’ve got what they need. They feel you’re a strong contender in their search for the perfect partner. Recognizing there is some mutual interest, you decide to meet to explore the potential relationship further. Since the anticipation makes you anxious, you try to focus all of your energy on preparations – selecting your outfit, determining what to say, etc. – so you can put your best foot forward come meeting time.
Once you arrive to the meeting, it feels just like an interview – because it basically is! You make introductions, share your life stories and ask each other questions. Following this exchange, you can both probably determine whether it’s going to work out. This means you might leave with the promise of a phone call, or if you’re lucky, an understanding that you’ll see one another again soon.
CLIENT RELATIONS: Selecting an agency partner.
DATING: Making it official.
Maybe you felt instant camaraderie, but the other party wasn’t comfortable committing to anything when you first met. After he or she plays the field a bit, it dawns on this someone that you or your organization are the only one for him or her. That means it’s time to make it official!
You discuss relationship expectations and then share the exciting news with others. You begin spending a lot more time together and get to know one another very well. More importantly, you support one another so both parties are assured and happy.
It really isn’t a far-fetched comparison, huh? Just remember, if you decide to make either the professional or personal relationship a long-term thing, they both typically require paperwork – a retainer contract or a marriage license, for example. This sort of agreement means you’re dedicated to one another and will continue to work together so everyone benefits from the ongoing relationship.