AMC TV’s Mad Men’s Don Draper dismissed Jantzen bathing suit execs from a creative presentation with this admonishment: “You need to decide if you want to be a company that wants to be comfortable and dead, or risky and rich,” and with it, inspired a Credo to Client Service. [YouTube clip].
As a consultant or a client, we often get to the point where we feel exasperated and can relate to being Don Draper, or wanting to be him— but if we communicate up front we can avoid these pet peeves to ensure greater success for our partnership. Had Don applied these 20 Tips, maybe that meeting would have had a better outcome for all.
Dear [Pick One] Client/Prospect/Tire Kicker:
- Our collaboration depends on your openness to new ideas.
- Corporate citizenship is an essential element of brand distinction.
- My knowledge and time are my stock in trade. Please don’t look for free ideas.
- A budget is the fuel of your marketing engine: the more you have, the more traction can be achieved.
- I will not compromise my credibility or relationships for your benefit.
- Deadlines exist for a reason.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously.
- The best partnership is one we both enjoy and trust.
- Micromanagers suppress inspiration and creativity. They add time to the process and delay the outcome.
- Your failure to plan or respond should not create an emergency for me.
- Smart organizations invest in a crisis readiness program; shortsighted ones often pay for not having one in place.
- Promises of “future lucrative opportunity” are of no value to my business today.
- An advisor is your partner and the Golden Rule should apply.
- Compressing the time you leave me to do your work doesn’t reduce the scope or its cost– it creates needless strife and adds the potential for mistakes.
- It’s a small world. Remember that reputation is everything.
- We want to measure the impact of our work. You’ll need to help.
- We inform and educate stakeholders. There is no “spin” involved.
- Communication is two parts listening, one part speaking.
- Someone needs to own our engagement; assign an accessible decision maker.
- A ‘thank you’ goes a long way and costs nothing.
Now the trick becomes how to convey these expectations to your client or consultant, depending on where you sit. Is this familiar territory? Do you have a favorite peeve? What are your ideas for setting grounded expectations?