Funny how things go in the agency business... You work hard, build great relationships, create great work, and before you know it the client moves on to bigger and, they think, greener pastures. Why is this? You’ve done well, succeeded in all assignments, and shown the client that you are a valuable agency partner. But you still lose the business to the next shiny object, the agency with a lot of flash and no substance.
What are you to do? Following are some pointers.
1. Remember: client business needs change regularly. What may be right for them this year is not at all right for them the next. Clients live in a world of change. They must meet their goals and their numbers, and are constantly under pressure to do so. Good agencies live in their clients’ worlds. That’s why we write about being in a relationship with the client and not always looking for one-off projects. The day you stop thinking of the client’s business as your own, you lose credibility. Today’s agencies must be accountable to client needs.
2. Clients change out personnel over time. The typical tenure of a marketing manager or CMO is less than 24 months; that means your contacts are changing jobs frequently. This constant turnover in client marketing positions results in every “new broom” sweeping clean—just when you and your client get comfortable, there is a personnel shuffle and you have to begin from scratch.
3. Everything old is new again. Put all that together and you have a lot of turnover of both clients and agencies. Clients are perpetually looking for their dream agency, and agencies are on the lookout for clients who will stick by them and give them time to succeed. It’s quite a situation.
This is why I say that in today’s crazy, mixed-up agency environment, your older clients will become your new clients.
Why do I say this? It’s simple.
Fanning the Flames
When you have done a great job for a former client, and they have moved on to a new opportunity, there is a high probability they will reconsider your agency for a project or relationship as the need arises.
Never drop the client. Even if the worst happens, and you lose a relationship through no fault of your agency, keep the former client on your content marketing and email list. Share research nuggets. Propose projects to them, as you might to a hot prospect. Keep them “on the hook” with all the bait you have at hand. You can lure them back to your agency with persistence and intelligent pursuit.
We’ve seen this hundreds of times. You should stay in touch with all former clients, but especially those who meet your current new business prospect criteria. That profitable relationship you had with your former client is just waiting to reignite. Be ready to throw fuel on the fire.