I love all of our clients… but that hasn’t always been the case. Sometimes the most exciting opportunities never get off the ground just because the people behind it, quite simply, lack vision. Over 10 years running Blue Daring has taught me (and I am certain many of you) that the best work and outcomes come from working with great people.
Want to be a client that the people who serve you love? So much so that they can’t sleep at night thinking about ways to make you succeed? Be nice, first of all, but most importantly don’t do any of the following:
Don’t Say What’s On Your Mind
The best relationships between partner and client are built on transparency, don’t be afraid to be direct. You think of something–no matter how awesome or ridiculous it is–you share. Best case, we can build on it to do something great you hadn’t even thought of. Worse case, we get to know you better. One of my favorite clients could be so demanding some times, but she was my favorite because she always said what was on her mind. This not only allowed us to deliver for her, but also gave us the confidence to know her enough to take risks. It led to great work. Whatever you do, don’t expect your mind read… it leads to disappointment and frustration.
Don’t Give Positive Feedback
Have you ever had an experience that is so good that you don’t even have to worry about it? Maybe it was your law firm or your marketing person–they knew your business so well, you barely had to call them. Well, here’s some news. Call them! It’s important to give positive feedback to the people that serve you. It affirms that they should keep on doing what they are doing and motivates them to do even better to get more of that that they love so very much–your praise.
I was almost going to say “don’t trust” on this one, but if you don’t trust your service provider, end the relationship immediately. Nothing can grow in that environment. So back to listening… You hire your partners because they know something you don’t (conversely you can hire them because YOU became successful knowing something we don’t). That said, when your partner tells you “don’t do that”– listen. There is a reason you shouldn’t use yellow on the marketing piece or count that as a deductible or take one insurance vs. the other. If you repeatedly ignore your partners’ advice, they’ll will stop giving it to you, drastically reducing the value for your money.
Don’t Pay Your Bills On Time
… and don’t say anything about it. Paying your bills on time is respectful. It means you like what your partner is doing and respect their time and energy. Set expectations on when you will pay them and deliver on those expectations. There is nothing more toxic to a relationship than your partner having to bug you about money. It leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. And if there is some uncontrollable circumstance in which you can’t pay on time… that is totally OK. The key is simply communication, communication, communication. In this way you can demonstrate respect by equipping your partner with information that will help them manage the deficit until you can pay.
Don’t Invest in Your Ideas
Partners help you identify opportunities, mitigate risks and grow. It’s up to you to capitalize on that information and actually execute. If you feel passionately about your business, the opportunities before you and your potential, you must be ready to invest in your ideas. Otherwise hiring a good partner, will just net a useless document or strategy session. You and your resources are the catalyst… to benefit fully from your partnerships you must be able to act.