Sunday, November 20, 2011

Picture a perfect client: top 5 secrets to being one

Much like a perfect summer day in the Cotswolds, a 'perfect' client is delightful.

Mythical also. Much like the perfect PR firm or consultant. 

If, like me, you believe perfection is found in moments, not perpetuity, then perhaps you'll sympathise with the idea that perfection is the journey, and not a fixed end point. 

While this landscape looks good at a distance, the picture was taken with an iPhone (the dark shadow top right is from my case) from a moving train. It's not perfect. But stand back and it looks pretty good.

Standing back from the client relationships (financial services PR firm) BlueChip values the most and we find some wonderful pictures.

Five features of the 'perfect' client

A perfect client, or a perfect client relationship, features at least five (pretty universal) factors:

1. A vision
2. Clear expectations and communication
3. Frank and fearless feedback - positive and sometimes "notso"
4. Business results - commercial outcomes on both sides
5. Teamwork

But dig deeper, to look for a bit more gritty reality, and the picture gets a bit grainy. Not out of focus, but less perfect. More real.

The cold hard truth of 'perfect' clients, 'perfect' relationships, or 'perfect' consultants is that it's BS.

There's no such thing.

There are a few less glamorous here's my take on reaching near perfection and staying there as a client (or PR consultant)

Five secrets to near perfection as a client

1. Work out what you really want...
2. And why it matters...then share it generously & relentlessly with your PR firm
3. Tell them what you really think, kindly
4. Help them deliver for you and still make an appropriate profit (they'll love you for it)
5. Treat them with a dear and smart friend who wants the best for you.

Because they probably do. Of course if they don't, they're the wrong PR firm.

But if they do, which you already know (it either oozes out of them or it doesn't), and you do the less glamorous but more important stuff above, they'll open a vein for you. Almost literally.

And suddenly perfection looks too easy. The relationship is warm, the results are exceptional and everyone is having a good time.

The picture is damn near perfect.

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