Get Real.  The key to an effective relationship with your client.

Do you ever see those stands on the side of the road with “name brand” leather jackets and handbags, or those banner ads with a luxury brand name, screaming “CLEARANCE!”? Yeah, how authentic are those? Now, I’d like to consider myself a Coach™ handbag aficionado – actually a bit more in the obsessive category. If I could get a deal on those I’d be all over it. But if it’s not the real article, there’s no value in it. If it’s not the authentic product, what are you really getting?

Apply that thought to relationships with your clients. We all know relationships are important, and the better relationship you have with your client, the more effective the partnership. A key to a successful relationship with your client is authenticity. Be real. Be who you are. Someone can sense when you’re not genuine. If you don’t know the answer, say that. Then do what it takes to get the answer. If you or your team make a mistake, own it. Then figure out how to address it and avoid it in the future.

I’ve gone the route of not being who I am – instead being who I thought I was supposed to be. That didn’t work. I wasn’t authentic. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. The day I stopped was when a client said to me, “Tell me what you think, not what everyone else thinks.” That was quite liberating! These days I may not always give the popular answer, but I always give the answer that’s best for the client and the agency – which isn’t always easy – but that more authentic approach not only shows respect for myself but respect for the person I’m talking to, and client/agency relationships thrive and succeed when respect is rampant.

Account Management has to toe the line between the client’s and an agency’s needs, and that’s not always easy to reconcile. But I’ve found it more effective and easier to balance those needs by having a genuine, true approach. If you’re always authentic, people will know you are trying to do the best for all involved.

Be authentic. Be real. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m heading back to coach.com to check out some handbags.

If you’re looking for a partner to help create authentic relationships, we’d love to hear from you!