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“When you are bound for failure, do you give up, or do you end it with a fight?”
Entrepreneurship as we all know it has not always been a bed of roses. Many would think that being a “Boss” would mean authority and power. What these people do not realize is the fact that at the end of the day, you are just another human being who are within the whims of the one true boss who holds your money. If you are in a Business to Consumer (B2C) model, your consumers are your king. If you are, like me, involved in a Business to Business (B2B) client servicing model instead, your clients are then your king. Some being highly notorious as merciless majesties indeed.
I have multiple departments to run within my company, and among them is my digital marketing team. The good thing about digital marketing jobs is the fact that we can manage any Facebook or Google account just within the constraints of our own office. I have pride in what my team has accomplished thus far in the Facebook & Google space. The team grew very rapidly through the constant dedication and hard work that everyone put in throughout the long days facing our monitor screens and watching tutorials from marketing gurus.
From dealing with clients from small time businesses, we then grew on to handle regional based projects for multinational corporations (MNC’s). Our latest undertaking was one of the largest ever with a high-profile client which made all of us extremely excited. However, what we did not predict was that this job will be one of the biggest hurdle the team will ever face to date.
The parties we had to communicate to fulfill our latest mission was of a global scale, something which we have never experienced before. The collaborative effort we had done with the global departments have not been fulfilled as the demands for updates didn’t fall through due to time zone constraints. Execution orders were delayed by half a day with the global team, and unfortunately, the core “king” of the project shares the same time zone with our team. A time zone where we look towards the future while missing updates from the past.
Delays like these are very crucial into handling big projects as the initial 6 figure budget can just be easily used up without any clear understanding on what has happened. During times like these, your client would typically be very easily agitated therefore unleashing their wrath ever so conveniently onto the only party they can sweep, which is you. The only thing I could do? Swallow it up and grit your way through it.
It was a chance meetup with Miss Khat Lim that inspired and motivated me into dealing with grim situations like these. Her simple yet powerful words struck my mind into looking at things with the perception of the future, rather than the present. She said when situations are turning into a downward spiral, do you fall in circles to meet your inevitable doom, or do you put your hands down at that slippery slide, and fight your way back up? That ever fiery advice was one I needed to hear, and one that pushed me out of that hole called depression.
After that incident, I took matters into my own hands, constructed new contingency proposals and fought my way into securing our position and maintaining the quality of that campaign. Here are the 4 key mindsets which I have developed along the way which would enable you to keep your back straight and look forward towards a well fought war when dealing with clients.
One of the most cliched and overused motivational term out there which is true even for situations in dealing with clients. I almost gave up that day, something that rarely happens. What I felt was piles of overwhelmed problems which seems unsolvable no matter the situation. But it is times like these that you have to take down your problems and break them down into tiny little fragments, take each fragment of a problem, and infuse your solution within it. Have your team handle the various other little fragments and collectively you will have a contingency plan to save the day, just like how Tony Stark did in Iron Man III with a newly developed element for his Arc Reactor.
An agency’s business model is simple, clients hire you to execute and execute you shall. No matter at the end of the day whether a job has succeeded or failed, the client must fulfil their end of the deal, which is payment. However just by taking their money and not actually providing constructive solutions will have its consequences. Any business in this world is built on trust and relationships, and the stronger and more trustworthy your business is, the better the reputation of your company will grow along with it. Losing your will to fight for your client not only damages their impression on you, but also damages your business at its core.
A strong sense of empathy is needed in this case in dealing with clients. Your client needs to pay you at the end of the day no matter the failure or success of the job. What have you achieved by then? Money. What have they achieved? Not only a losing campaign, but probably serious issues which could escalate within their own company. Jobs might be lost and revenues that can never be gained back again. Is this what you truly aspire your client to feel or achieve even after you have sold your best service and promise to help them? I do not know about you, but I would willingly take in a couple more stressful situations if it helps them in getting out of their current predicament.
The ability to empathize on your client’s distress and figuring out solid solutions to aid them is what I believe all agencies should ideally strive for.
Having people to remember you as the team that solves problems, the person that gives solutions, the agency that saved this business from bankruptcy, is all legacies that can be left behind if you genuinely fulfil your effort to your clients. I believe no one in this world would want to create memories of a failure that gave up and ran away when things get tough!
Many people do not seem to acknowledge that anything you currently do will be considered your legacy in years to come. Be it helping a colleague in need, putting in the overtime work to ensure a project’s completion or always conducting extra research to ensure your credibility in dealing with clients. All of these will allow your peers or your current superior to have the recognition on you as the person that just decided to do more. The most important thing of all at the end, is to always have the heart, and to never give up.
I am the founder of Malaysia’s 1st Augmented Reality merchandise and currently is a partner & director of an integrated marketing agency that focuses on making brands exciting through on-ground & online strategies. Thus far, I have consulted various Fortune 500 companies into solving their projects and challenges with digital solutions. For any advice and inquiries, please contact me at my contact page!