12 Lessons learned from a Client breakup

When a relationship comes to an end, looking back is never easy. In the case of a relationship between creative agency and client, a breakup can offer the chance to learn and you might soon find out that the agency/client relationship actually has a lot more in common with a romantic relationships than one might think.

1. Pre-nups are important

A signed contract does not only protect your rights and the rights of your client, it also states expectations and responsibilites for both parties from the start.

2. Define the relationship

As agency you enter an agreement with a client having a good idea what to expect since you have done this many times before. Your client on the other hand might be entirely new to this or have minimal experience working with a creative agency hence why defining roles and responsibilties is always a good idea.

3. There is someone else or we are seeing other people

Contrary to most relationships when it comes to love, the agency client relationship is often times not an exclusive one. Your client might think or feel that they are the only one for you partly because of how you have sold them on relationship, but don‘t be afraid once trust is established, to mention that they are not the only one for you.

4. I want it all, I want it now

Setting expectations is key and it is especially important when it comes to deadlines… If you set a realistic timeline and stick to it every time your client will hopefully understand that you are an agency, not a magician.

5. Be open about your mistakes

An open and honest relationship survives mistakes. Owning up to a mistake, even if it not yours but from a third party provided that works for you, should establish the trust necessary for a long and fruitful relationship for both sides.

6. You will see it coming

The signs of a breakup are often there long before it happens and you will see it coming. Whether it is a meeting gone wrong, a conversation that ended abruptly, unclear expectations, unhappiness with the service provided if dealt with at the time, a break up can often be avoided.

7. Clients can ghost you too

There can be a variety of reasons why a client might ghost you, payment being a good one. Unfortunately this also means that you cannot simple move on and accept the ghosting but have to take further steps in resolving the issue. Often trying to ask for a face to face appearance at their place of business

8.This just isnt working

A breakup can be mutual for a variety of reasons (change in budget, expectations, timelines etc.) and accepting that the relationship just isn’t working any more can be the best solution for both sides.

9. We can never be friends

Your client is your client first and can be your friend second. If you set boundaries and stick to them you wont find yourself answering client texts at 11 pm on a Friday

10. Your partner is always right…

…and so is your client.

11.It’s not you, it is them

Yes, sometimes the breakup has nothing to do with you but it is about the clients place in their life or business and you have to accept that there is (almost) nothing that you could have done.

12. Letting go is never easy but Don‘t be afraid to start a new relationship

Breakups happen, business life moves on and there are plenty of clients in the sea. It is time to take your learnings from past relationships into new ones.

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