A friend of mine runs a well known middle market media planning and buying service. This fellow has led companies in both media and technology, always makes sure he understands what he and his clients know and don't know and works hard to forge partnerships that serve his clients.
In his current field, the most serious threat to the continuance of the client relationship, is the appearance of a new marketing "head" at the client.
Now if a marketing executive reaches the CMO level, he's made a few friends along the way who service client marketing needs, and now that he's landed his new job, he "knows" just who can help him make his mark in his new position. Inevitably the contract termination provision is invoked after one or two polite conversations with the existing provider.
So one of my friend's top clients sends him the ninety day notice.
A good executive in a situation like this, gathers the troops and target new customer forays. "We must replace this income!"
My "bud," not a "good," but a Great Seller and Leader also gathered the troops. His message was different.
"You know, we have several really smart new initiatives in the pipeline and no other agency understands this client's opportunities better than we do. We can take their three month "severance" and focus only on new business, or we can earn the three month pay by fine tuning and presenting our ideas. They are making a mistake in terminating us and our hard work these next twelve weeks may help them avoid that mistake."
That's the approach they took and the fat lady never stopped singing.
Bob Sherman has 40 years experience managing relationships between media companies and advertisers in old and new media from radio, cable and TV to the Internet, and from sales executive to chief executive and from the biggest media corporations to his own entrepreneurial companies. He is currently in partnership with Pilot Group, LLC. Bob can be reached at email@example.com.
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