4 Tips to Help You Decide if a Client is Right For Your Business

Written by Paul Marchildon, on January 7, 2014.


John Wayne didn’t tone down his swagger. Why should I? Even at credentials presentations – especially at credentials presentations – I don’t hold back. Potential clients need to know what to expect, and part of that is me questioning them. Why should my team want to work with you?

Every year, brands receive hundreds of credentials presentations from marketing agencies offering to represent them. It’s a bit like The Bachelor, where 25 women have to vie for the attention of one man. Not that I watch that. I don’t. I jog and do mixed martial arts when it’s on. Not that I know when it’s on. Regardless of what I allegedly do or do not watch on television, it’s the same here: agencies vie for the attention of the brand. We put a different spin on things by presenting brands with four criteria that we have when partnering with clients. They were inevitably a little shocked: “Doesn’t everyone want our business?!” Well, maybe. Maybe not.

Client-agency relationships are not one-way streets. We developed these four criteria to determine if we were a good match for each other.

Fun. Yes, it’s seriously our #1 criterion. If a project, business, or client team is not fun, we’re not going to give it our best work. Now, keep in mind that we can make virtually anything fun (herpes, anyone?). It really speaks to the culture of engagement; we’re going to be in the trenches together. While we’re slaving away, at the end of the day, we want to have a few laughs and a lot of mutual respect and support.

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Quality. We will only do quality work. Sometimes, a client just needs to get a job done and out the door. That’s fine, some projects are like that. But that’s not for us. We want to work on campaigns and concepts of which we can be proud, and that we’re happy to put in our portfolios. We have to work harder and more creatively, but that’s where we find the reward.

Profitability. It’s bold to put this right out in front, but if it won’t be profitable for us, for you, and for our business partners and suppliers, then we’re not the best fit. Projects need to be measurable. Rather than creative for the sake of creative, we need strategic creative that gets results. Fun is fine (we like it), but we need to measure efficacy and prove to you that what we’re doing is going to increase profitability. Otherwise, what’s the point? In a long-term partnership, not every project will be a money-maker, but the overall trend needs to point that way for everyone involved.

Long-Term. We’re not in the business of one-offs. Understanding your business, your culture, your competitive environment and your unique needs takes time. The return on our investment of time is that we deliver our best work as we get to know you better, and as you get to know us better. The same is true for our suppliers and our employees. The better the relationship, the more knowledge we gain. The more knowledge we gain, the more phenomenal the results.

Not every prospective client found this approach as fresh and innovative as perhaps they should have! But many did, because it resonated with them and made sense. When employees, suppliers and clients are all engaged, each stride carries you to greater productivity, efficiency and at the end of the day, exceptional results.

Paul Marchildon

Paul Marchildon

A self-proclaimed Leisureologist and Motivational Speaker, Paul Marchildon applies his vast expertise in human engagement to help leaders create more productive, effective organizations. Building on an influential career as a pioneer in employee incentive and loyalty programs, strategic creative communications, social media and mobile marketing, Paul provides insight into the advantages of incorporating a leisure culture in the "work" place. He is past president of Society of Incentive and Travel Executives’ (Site) Canadian Chapter and founder of Atlantis Creative Group (now part of Maritz Canada). He is one of a select group of Canadians who have received the Certified Incentive Travel Executive (CITE) designation.