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At the end of the day, there are really 4 factors for creating a successful marketing firm. The first element is relationships – how easily can you get along with other people, the second element is knowledge – knowing what you’re talking about. The third element is driving results & the last element is being on time. We’ll dive a bit into what each of these means, but first…
Why Should You Listen To Me?
I’ve been working in marketing firms for the last 5 years, and I’ve been running my own successful digital marketing firm, LRoss Marketing Consulting for the last 3 years. My knowledge of running a digital marketing firm doesn’t come from a book, from an online course, or from a guru. My knowledge comes from building a firm of my own from scratch.
The 4 Elements – A Breakdown
Your ability to maintain a solid relationship with a client is more important than the results.I definitely stole this quote from my buddy Randall Hartman at Groundwrk.com
These elements are written in order of importance, notice how delivering results comes as #3 of the 4 elements.
How easily do you get along with people? If you have a hard time relating to other people then you’re not going to get super far in this business, or likely any business venture of your own. If you have some crazy technical knowledge then you can find a partner with the personable skills, but trying to go out alone is going to be difficult for you.
Being friendly and being able to relate to other people is probably the most under-rated skill in business. Andrew Carnegie one of the biggest business moguls in US history once said “I’m not in the business of making steel. I’m in the business of building men. They make steel.” He admitted that his business was full of people who knew much more about steel than he did, and that was fine. He understood how to interact with people and that was the reason why he made so much money.
This friendliness / ability to get along with people really breaks down into 3 areas #1 How well can you relate to your clients, #2 How well can you relate to your employees, and #3 how well you can relate to others in your industry and related industries.
#1 – Being able to maintain a relationship with your clients. If you have a great relationship with your client then inevitably when you hit rough patches, you’ll have that friendship to smooth things out a bit. If the client only cares about you based around the performance you offer, then issues are much harder to navigate. Furthermore, without the trust of a relationship the results you get really won’t matter. Regardless of how well things are going they’ll still be second guessing your strategy, and nitpicking the work you’ve done. Building solid relationships with clients also means opening yourself up to their entire network. If that client trusts you and the work you do, then they’ll refer someone in their network to you. I think of each client and contact I have as the root of a large tree. They know all kinds of people who then know all kinds of people and you can build an entire business solely off of referrals. On the flip side though if you ruin a relationship that entire network is cut off from you.
#2 – The second biggest relationship category is the one with your employees. The same principles apply. If you don’t have an underlying relationship with your employees, then you’re gonna have a hard time making it through rough patches. If you can’t build a solid relationship with them, then you’ll have to constantly increase costs through benefits, bonuses & pay raises to keep them around. Employees that don’t feel cared for and trusted are less likely to take risks and try out new things. Furthermore, who wants to work with people they don’t like? The whole point of working for yourself is doing less stuff you don’t want to do, why start a business than work with people that you don’t have any connection to? Sounds depressing to me.
#3 – The other huge relationship is your relationship to others in your industry & related industries. As mentioned, you can run entire businesses off of referrals you get from folks in the industry, so ensuring that you’re building and maintaining relationships with these folks is huge. Furthermore, with good relationships and conversations you can stay up to date on the latest trends and tools in the market, as well as different strategies and approaches.
Do you know what you’re talking about? This is the most important element of all. There’s a line in a song that you can fool some people sometimes but you can’t fool everybody all the time and it’s true (if you know what song that is, please let me know, I feel like it’s a good song 😂). Either you need to know what the hell you’re talking about, or you need to know someone who does. If you’re having a difficult time figuring out what exact area to get knowledgable on, then check out my article on how to get into digital marketing.
#3 Delivering Results
Can you actually deliver on the promises that got you the contract in the first place?
Delivering results is really dependent on the expectations set in the sales process. Did you set super lofty expectations in the sales process? Did you promise your client that their kids will love them again and they’ll become millionaires if they choose you? Or did you make the mistake of underselling your service? Where you were too timid and almost nihilistic about what your service could do? The key in the sales process is to find a happy medium between the two. Yes there are extenuating circumstances that could de-rail your marketing efforts, however you can still drive some damn good results because you know what the hell you’re talking about! So make sure to set realistic, yet optimistic expectations in the sales process to ensure you close the deal, but you don’t end up ruining a relationship because you promised them the moon.
No one wants to buy from a pessimist, on the flip side you’ll ruin all your relationships if you set unrealistic expectations. Set realistic, yet optimistic goals in the sales process.Written by the guy who wrote this article
One great tip for delivering results while managing expectations is outlining very clear KPI’s as well as a timeline of expected results in your final proposal to the client.
#4 Being On Time
I put this last because while it is important, it’s the least important of the 3. If you’re friendly, know what you’re talking about and delivering good work then you can get away with being late on things from time to time. However, if you are consistently being late to meetings, missing deadlines & responding to emails weeks later, then you’re gonna get stuck at a certain level in your business, and you’ll never be able to make it past that.
As mentioned, your ability to maintain a solid relationship with your client is more important than the results. If you only take one thing away from this, take that. While there are factors outside of these, without these 4 elements you’re not going super far.