Six different types of client relationships and how to get the most out of them

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thisishowyoupitch-bookClients are like romantic relationships. You embark on a journey together where you will share negative and positive experiences and have to compromise to make things work.

But just like personal relationships, client relationships can be challenging. The only difference is it’s really up to us (PR folk) to make our partner (client) happy.

But how do you do it?

I recently read This is How you Pitch by Ed Zitron. I thought he did a great job explaining how to deal with different clients and get the most out of them.  Here are his tips:

The ever-shifting client

One of the most challenging, this client usually has new ideas and new business plans every couple weeks.  Zitron recommends public relations professions be stern and really stick to a given plan to get things accomplished and be successful.

The “whatever” client

This is the client that doesn’t care. The one who lets you go through all the work before speaking up about something they don’t like or something that is wrong. The client is usually someone who is very new to the industry or business or that is a veteran who has achieved a great deal of success. The key to being successful with this client is getting the client more engaged.

The popular client

This is the client who is already popular with their audience.  According to Zitron, these are the clients that think they are the best and nothing you do will make them any better. To be successful, start thinking about what they aren’t doing and build a PR strategy that way. Also, think long-term and what their goals look like for the future.

The unreachable client

This client doesn’t give you feedback and often won’t return calls or emails promptly. While this will drive you nuts (and it does), we have to learn how to be successful. Be the one in the relationship to initiate contact and make it clear that you will not act on any public relations strategies without their approval. Setting on-going appointments are also best for getting in touch with them.

The demanding client

Sound familiar? These are the folks we are usually afraid of. They are engaged too much! This often stems from their own fear of failing or having the public relations efforts not pay off. To be successful Zitron says to give these individuals regular reports about what is happening. It may also require you to set boundaries and expectations of the working relationship.

The flaky client

According to Zitron, these types of clients will win you over with how nice they are but don’t remember anything you tell them and appointments are merely vague suggestions to them. As a public relations professional, you may think the client isn’t worth your time. After all we have a million other things we are doing, right? Zitron suggests talking to the client and getting them to understand that you are on the same team and that your success is their success and vice versa.

Do any of your clients fit into these categories? Do you agree with how Zitron suggests handling each type of client? If not, what are some other suggestions?

Katie Snyder
Katie Snyder
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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