“How do you handle account fatigue?”
The question was a surprise and I didn’t at first know what she was talking about. Asked this in a meeting today with a potential client, I paused and pondered.
Account fatigue? The notion that after year one or year two, you get sort of sick of the client and lack the enthusiasm you have in the beginning, she explained.
Well, I have to say, I’ve never really experienced that. And that’s because when you really care about your work, and you believe in the client, you can always find something interesting to say, a story that hasn’t been told, a willing audience.
In fact, when you own a small boutique public relations firm like I do (check it out: www.yourppl.com), a relationship only gets better with time. You develop synergies, you understand each other’s nuances, you finally speak the language as if it’s your own.
You become as passionate about the client and their work as they are. You feel a part of whatever it is that they do, and you want to tell the world all about it.
In the beginning, like when you’re dating, you’re just trying each other on for size. You stay back, keep your distance, and observe all the details – some you like, some you don’t.
You’re not ready to commit, though you’re grateful for the work.
And then, something snaps. You pass the internal barometer of client satisfaction, and you accept that this is a good fit, and you want to do more, be more, understand more, to benefit the client and to deepen this working relationship.
At least, that’s how it is for me. The first three months of working with any new client is sailing into uncharted waters. You watch the radar, read the clouds, lick a finger and hold it to the wind. But your gut isn’t speaking quite yet.
After that first trial period, though, you settle in to the rhythm of the waves, and you start to ride, you start to trust the wind to take you somewhere good and safe and beautiful.
And when a client passes the one year mark, and then the two-year, it’s like you’re old friends. The best kind of friends because you are familiar to one another, and that is more than pleasing.
So when a potential client asks me if I will tire of them, I only have to say, I sure hope not. It’s a marathon, not a race, and I believe we will only get better with time.