Sunday, July 20, 2008

Who Chooses Our Clients?

We do. Or at least we should. While this may belie what we have come to know all too well as the process of clients choosing us among a cadre of agencies, we are the ones who choose. And if you're not choosing; if you believe you're just playing defense, then it's a recipe for an unhealthy agency and lots of client turnover.

The motivation for today's post, and likely more posts throughout the week, is poet and author David Whyte's quote which I found last week. To restate it:

"Other people's words may raise from our throats at the drop of a quality management...number one...but we struggle to remember the simple character of our own voice. It takes only a modicum of psychological savvy to admit that a corporate culture that constantly repeats the word excellence to itself must still have endless reservoirs of mediocrity on which to draw, and is deathly afraid of facing up to this fact. We open our mouths and too often utter the same phrases and opinions that might be said by a thousand other toilers in a thousand other companies."

It made me think about why we can't find the "simple character of our own voice" and if we do find it, why we're afraid to share it unabashedly with clients and prospects. Why are we afraid to be ourselves? Especially when you consider the consequences. When we're not ourselves, think about what happens. We either lose a pitch because we were obviously trying to be something we're not. Or...we lose a client because the charade is simply unsustainable over time. What's more, the prospects are relegated to choose among those swimming in a sea of sameness. No wonder client/agency turnover is what it is.

My rather simple, arguably pedestrian, theory here is that if we were to truly find our voice and be ourselves, we would attract clients that are a better fit with our firms, and, because of it, the relationships would be more productive, more enjoyable, and last longer.

Let's explore it further and let me know what you think.

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