So you’ve been together for a while now, and you know it’s just not working – but how do you decide if that’s terminal or not – if it’s worth trying to fix it or it will never be what you want it to be? Client/Agency relationships aren’t always made in heaven, and whilst there are all kinds of reasons that you got together in the first place, but if it’s not working for you, then it’s not working.
Deciding whether to work with a Client from an Agency point of view can be judged against 3 criteria: – is the business profitable? Does the client partner with you to produce great work? Does the Agency team feel it’s a piece of business that they enjoy working on? Or to précis that – does the Client mean Fun, Fame, or Fortune to your business. A good Client for any Agency is one that contributes at least 2 of these, an excellent one all 3 of course, and in some circumstances just one will do – but these should be exceptional.
But before you decide to show them the door – there’s a time for standing and looking at yourself in the mirror – if the Client isn’t profitable why not? Don’t just look to them for the answers, it could be down to poor internal Agency process or taking on work that doesn’t fit your skill set. Again if you don’t feel you are partnering in the right way to produce great work, can this be fixed? Perhaps the Agency isn’t fielding the right questions to produce great briefs or doesn’t understand the Client business well enough. And as far as ‘fun’ is concerned – everyone wants to enjoy their job, Clients no exception, so does the team need changing or is there a need for some good honest talking?
As our mantra is ‘look after your business first’, having made the decision to part with a Client, share that decision with them as soon as you can – you’ll need to replace any income asap whilst keeping your team motivated. Please give Clients the legal or moral notice period that you would expect them to give you and support them right up to the end. Even help them to find a new Agency if they ask you to. Breaking up is never easy, but does it really have to be that hard?
Teresa Allan, Founder, The Magnus Club – helping agencies perform better.