You have to return the call of that dreaded client. You know the one (and you probably have several) who always has a problem with you and your station, who raises their voice and demands satisfaction (or they will just have to go to your boss…). They are upset if you are in a sales meeting or, heaven forbid, with another customer and can’t take their call at that second. So, after you get off the phone, you ask all the other media sellers in the cubes around you that age-old question, “Why are all my clients such JERKS?!”
So, why are they such jerks? Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t always THEM. Maybe they are reacting to you.
- Have you ever been harsh or rude to a restaurant server when the food was not as hot as you would have liked? Have you ever shown your frustration with an assistant who contacted you when the person you were to meet with had to reschedule? Have you ever taken out your frustration with your computer or ratings software on the person on the Help Desk line? I have always believed in that old adage that you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. If you are nice to people, most often they will be nice back, and willing to give you a little more. If your client has heard vinegar in your tone when dealing with others, they may think that is the way to get more from YOU. (Just sayin’…).
- Are you aware of what the client brings to the table? If you have a CRM system or a way to prioritize accounts, you might want to take a careful look at how valuable the client is. If he or she is one of your top spenders, respect that and treat them like Gold Members of Media Sales. They get the tickets, the lunches and the extra filler spots. Make sure you are doing this as appreciation – not to upsell or renew them (because guess what? They can see right through that!).
- Do you ever waste their time? If you don’t review your notes or have a way to track what you have talked to them about before, they might be rolling their eyes when you come around with the same proposal they already told you wasn’t right for them. If you don’t have a system to keep track of what you have discussed, and if you don’t review it, you are opening yourself up to their frustration.
- Do you command respect as well as give it? Your time is worth something too, and good business people recognize that. Don’t push someone else off to wait endlessly in a waiting room. That tells the client you pushed off that they aren’t important, and the one who is keeping you waiting that your time isn’t valuable. You may also be causing the one who you are waiting on to hurry something that is important to their business, because you are still waiting. Reschedule for a time when you can both focus on media and marketing problems, and solutions.
- If there is a problem, even a perceived one, do you put that return phone call off as long as you can? That often makes people angrier. Pick up the phone or go out in person, and confront the situation. Don’t be defensive, and let the client have their say. Then ask them how they would like the problem to be solved? You will get direct answers, or even, “I just wanted you to know I was upset.” Both are easily handled!
But, let’s face it – sometimes clients in media sales ARE jerks. And if they truly are, the power is in your hands. You can determine that they are not worth it – they don’t bring enough revenue in to merit your and your staff’s time and increased blood pressure. You can raise them up to a place of respect or you can fire them from your list. Then, you can give advice to your station-mates the next time you hear “Why are my clients such jerks??”