How to Build a Effective Client-Agency Relationship

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Want to know how to build an effective client-agency relationship? Here are the three things you should prioritize today.

There’s no formula for building strong relationships with clients. It isn’t done with chatbots, AI or virtual assistants. Quality client-agency relationships develop over time and usually alongside strategic business wins.

While relationship-building starts during the sales stage, it takes significant form after working alongside a client over time toward pre-defined goals. Strong relationships build gradually as trust and respect grow through hard work and results.

We take great pride in our numerous client relationships, legacy and new. In a highly competitive business landscape, our results help differentiate us from our competitors. But, strong client-agency partnerships make those results possible.

Developing effective engagements doesn’t happen overnight. Like any good relationship, it takes work. It’s demonstrating responsiveness, research and respect that makes the difference.

Table of Contents

Be responsive

From initial sale to service renewal, responsiveness sets the tone during any stage in the business relationship. A lack of responsiveness implies one of only two things: a lack of care or a lack of time. 

Neither possibility engenders trust and confidence personally or professionally.

We usually hire the first plumber that answers the phone. And despite not every business decision having quite the urgency of a plumbing issue, we tend to appreciate and respect responsiveness. In fact, most of us expect it at a minimum.

Aim to be as responsive as you’d be if you were the plumber and if the plumbing issue belonged to someone close to you. And then hold on to this tenet to acquire the client and to keep the client!

Do your research

In a world filled with so much hand-waving and misinformation, research and expertise can make all the difference in succeeding on a client’s behalf. Understanding their mission, vision and how they make money is the first step to working as their consultant and guiding them through their industry and competition.

Ample research conducted about a client and their industry provides insight into what drives a compelling return on investment. Every consultant enters a business relationship at a tremendous disadvantage, tasked with consulting a group of people that understand their own business better than the consultant. Only research can close that gap.

Ensuring strategies and recommendations are founded upon careful research and consideration eliminates doubt in whether initiatives are based on anything but research and expertise.

Not only can research close the expertise gap, but it goes a long way toward building rapport and respect with clients who know worthy recommendations and strategies make the cut. Clients welcome researched ideas far more than they do whimsical ones.

Most people prefer that their plumber carefully fix the actual problem. 

Show mutual respect

Consultants are constantly faced with their research unearthing potential unpopular suggestions. Pushback is normal and expected. In fact, it’s a constructive form of strategy development. But how is pushback fielded?
During the feedback cycle, consultants have to maintain total diplomacy, even when others might not reciprocate. Respect as a habit, especially under pressure, is the common denominator among great consultants.
No matter how excellent an idea may seem, a respectful presentation gains support. And over time, being respectful is respected, which makes positive relationships and ongoing referrals obvious by-products.
The plumber who does their job without ridiculing a child for putting something in the toilet to warrant a call is respected. And the respectful plumber has a client for life. The disrespectful plumber has only a very wet teddy bear.*


Whether it’s choosing an agency to partner with or choosing a new client, exhibiting responsiveness, research and respect is an excellent indicator of future success. It also happens to be a great way to build authentic, impactful relationships—a win for everyone.

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