When clients approach agencies for help with marketing, they often have a predetermined strategy in mind. Many clients believe their plan is sound and that they only need an agency to help them execute it.
In reality, digital agencies often need to adjust their clients’ plans to achieve a more reliable outcome and a higher ROI.
In this article, we offer tips to help you respectfully persuade clients to adjust their existing marketing strategies.
You can use the information to help your agency better communicate with clients who are reluctant to consider changes to their marketing plans.
Get to Know Your Clients
Listening to your clients is the key to building a relationship in which you can approach them with constructive criticism.
Instead of eagerly jumping in to correct clients or prove their strategy wrong, first focus on building trust through listening.
There are several things you should learn about your clients before you discuss implementing changes to their strategy:
- Clients want to know that you understand their industry: If you don’t have experience in their industry, devote a healthy amount of time to learning about their niche before your first meeting.
- Clients want to know that you understand their product: During your first meeting, ask questions about their brand and product, listening closely and gathering as much information as possible.
- You need to know what your client really wants: Discovering your client’s hopes and concerns, and learning what motivates them, can help you communicate more effectively throughout the entire course of your relationship. When a client feels that you “get” them, it builds the type of trust that’s not easy to replace.
Patiently listening to your clients also reveals unique brand traits that help you build winning campaigns.
For example, when Farmer’s Insurance needed to stand out among its competition with a budget 10X smaller than its competitors, RPA agency focused on a trait that made Farmer’s unique: its massive experience with insurance claims.
Farmer’s “We Know From Experience” campaign brought some of its bizarre, but authentic, insurance claims to life through entertaining mini-movies, commercials, and onsite videos.
The We Know Experience Campaign boosted visits to Farmers.com by 115%, raised initiated quotes by 127%, and increased consideration by 33%. It also increased brand awareness, driving over 3.4 million people to its accompanying “Hall of Claims” website.
Listening to clients helps you better understand their products, brand, and purpose, while also contributing to campaign success.
The trust you build through listening helps you negotiate strategy changes and adjustments.
When you communicate well, clients are more open to your recommendations.
Agencies can improve client communications in several ways:
- Frame your suggestions in a positive light by considering your tone of voice, using positive language, and avoiding the word “no.”Combining a non-threatening tone of voice with positive language phrasing can go a long way toward preventing clients from feeling defensive.
- Show and ask for examples when communicating with clients.: Sometimes clients misunderstand words and phrases that are commonly used by agencies. Using visual examples to reinforce what you’re explaining helps clients better understand the strategies you’re discussing. For example, if you mention “flat lay photography,” show them a couple of flat lay images so they’re clear about what you’re referring to.
- Paraphrase and summarize your conversation at critical points throughout the conversation. Paraphrasing assures your client that you’re listening and ensures that you’re understanding each other.
- Avoid industry terms when speaking with clients. Many clients are cynical about words they consider “jargon,” such as “integrated,” “full service,” and “storytelling.” Avoid using jargon or terms that make your clients feel like an outsider. Instead, phrase your conversation in clear language that clients can understand.
- Share consumer insights, statistics, and data to back up your recommendations.
- Share case studies that show how you or your agency have successfully handled similar situations in the past.
Backing up your ideas with proof such as data and case studies will help your clients open up to new ideas.
Listening Well and Communicating Effectively Builds Trust With Clients
Listening closely and communicating effectively helps you earn the trust of your clients so you can respectfully advise their strategy.
Grayson Kemper is a Content Manager for Clutch, a platform designed to help business services vendors and buyers connect.