Your business relationships are important. Are you doing these seven things to nurture them?
It’s no secret that when you are primed to give people more than they expect by going the extra mile, you are setting your company up for success. Expectations are high, and the standards of consumers continue to grow. The consumer experience is evolving as companies continue to raise the bar with additional incentives, such as:
- Free Wi-Fi on the premises of events
- Hassle-free shipping from Amazon
- Uber delivering everything from burgers to kittens to your doorstep.
But what should you do when you are presented with a unique business problem that impacts a client?
Or when you need help coming up with a big promotional idea for a campaign or product launch?
I recently had the pleasure of coming into contact with a special-ops team that focuses on solving business problems by implementing creative ideas: Toronto, Ontario-based Mackie Biernacki.
Mark Biernacki and Steph Mackie are not your typical agency folk. While their specialty is creative work, they claim they don’t even run an agency. They would say they run an “idea shop.”
In an age where there is a currency for spectacular ideas, they just might be onto something.
Full adopters of the new sharing economy, they don’t have a full-time office space. Instead, their staff can choose to operate remotely or join them around a table at the local Soho House.
Here are seven key pieces of advice they have for nurturing successful client relationships globally:
1. If you can’t work face-to-face with the key decision makers at the top, don’t bother.
Direct connections–even if it’s around the world via FaceTime or Slack–help to ensure everyone is on the same page. Miscommunication with a client or partner at the beginning of a new working relationship can be fatal. If you make an effort to avoid conference calls and opt for meetings in person whenever possible, you can form lasting professional relationships.
2. Don’t be afraid to tak e a stance.
Organized pitches, discussions, or presentations where you can take a stand on a topic, controversial or not, are where some of the most interesting work can take flight.
3. Choose to collaborate with people who want to solve puzzles.
This approach will make any task much more enjoyable and rewarding. Creative work is untraditional, which means that there is no road map. We have to figure it out ourselves, and there are always many different routes we can take to wind up at the same destination.
4. Job descriptions and titles are irrelevant.
Founders can be CEOs, publicists, Web designers, sales reps, and accountants. When we adopt a “slasher” mindset and refuse to be defined by one thing, we often surprise ourselves at the amount we grow and the skills that can be self-taught. Mackie Biernacki think of themselves as a collective of puzzle solvers who happen to make things happen for their clients and partners. Once you adopt a liberating approach in your thinking, the possibilities seem endless.
5. Keep your team nimble.
Don’t hire internally before you need to. Crunch the numbers and see what might make sense to contract out to experts in various industries. Even with very large accounts and clients, Mackie Biernacki keeps their team lean–when there are no handlers, there is no fat to trim. Clients can benefit directly from a sharing-economy model which helps bring the best minds together for specific projects.
6. Refuse to adhere to materialistic standards.
There are two types of clients. The first type wants to see beautiful boardrooms. The second is more concerned with finding brilliant ideas.
If you look at a youthful, successful startup like Canada’s Kik, it isn’t putting its money towards a fancy office space in Silicon Valley. It’s running a large-scale operation out of an office in Waterloo, Ontario, sharing space with several other companies. That is a modest location for a company that has a massive footprint.
7. Do not underestimate the support of others.
Remember that when you go out on your own, you’re not truly alone. There are many peers, colleagues, even strangers, who want you to succeed. This, on its own, can be inspiring.
Have any other tips for mastering professional relationships? I’d love to hear more! Comment below.