Friday, August 8, 2008
Primal Callings And The Ethos of Client Services
By Kendall Allen
People who are known for their client work share some muscles and sensibilities --- and a lens on the agency world in which we thrive. First, if they are known for it by their peers and within their business universe, they probably do client services well. And, they've probably been at it for a very long time. I am not talking about the fresh account managers or strategists running projects and taking meeting summaries. I refer to those who hold a whopping personal client history of tens and hundreds of clients, across industries, across a spectrum of decision making roles -- CMOs, CTOs, Corporate Comms, eCommerce -- and of course the proprietary personality matrix and points of reference that come with a base like this.
- Those Eyes, Those Arms. These skills do not just apply to sellers. The best client people can read a room, a face, and even the vaguest body language. Know when eyes are questioning, agreeing with, disdaining or laughing at you and your company. Read crossed arms, leaning forward or back, shredding paper, playing with paperclips, whatever. And, to the extent you are comfortable, respond to these clues openly -- artfully, absolutely -- by shifting course, or even subtly calling out the perceived, palpable dissonance. This one takes a lifetime. But, the pursuit should be ongoing.
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Kendall Allen is currently advising clients and partners on digital marketing and convergence media. Previously she was managing director of Incognito Digital, LLC, a boutique digital media agency and creative studio. She also held top posts at iCrossing and Fathom Online.
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