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3 Things I Know About Client Relations
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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Client relations is a steady rapport.
When you get up every morning, you want to know what to expect.

Your coffee mugs are above the sink, your scrambled eggs might have a bit of shell in them, and your laptop is slow to open.

That’s just how it is with client relations.

You know when you’ll be able to get hold of your client (or not), you know how long it will take to get approval, and you know their reactions to the good and the bad. And they know you just as well. They know how hard you work to get their attention (and that of the media), they know you’re reliable on delivery, and they know you value their account. Or do they? If not, you’ve got some work to do. It’s all about the relationship and what to expect. Make it easy and be predicable. But in a good way.

In person is always better than on the phone (nearly).
When you leave a meeting with your client and they are sporting a truly genuine happy face, you know you’ve done a good job with client relations. Meeting with clients in person is worth 30 phone calls, nearly all of which are now carried out on a tinny speaker phone. In person allows you to read your client’s body language and tone, as well as to share a few laughs about the politics of the day. It also gives you an opportunity to "break bread" together, such as morning breakfast tacos, late-afternoon coffee and cake, or early evening wine and nibbles.

As the Irish say, “Laughter is brightest in the place where food is.”

Brainstorming with a client can stir up some really great stuff.
PRs don’t always have all the answers, although we have plenty of ideas. Doing our research, knowing the issues, and then throwing out a few good concepts is a great way to start a brainstorm. That’s where the client comes in. Sometimes, you don’t know what a client hasn’t told you yet. So having them there to fill in the blanks can yield some really great content, programs, and campaigns.

Combining all three of these components — a steady relationship, regular in-person meets and periodic brainstorming — can make for a fruitful client relationship, the bulwark of any PR program.

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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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