How To Win Clients and Influence Coworkers

By Tracey Gregory, Project Manager at Cowley Associates
05/30/2013

Being a Project Manager requires me to wear many hats. And what girl doesn’t love hats? Especially many hats? There’s the “prepare and organize the team” hat, the “outline deliverables and project timelines” hat, the “communicate and follow up with our clients” hat, “proposal writing,” “creative thinking,” and “proof reading” hats….oy! – the list could go on and on! Having to change them so many times throughout the day can be a challenge, but it’s all about the way you plan and prioritize (here’s a tip: go neutral with the shoes!)

Ok, on a serious note, because my role at the agency is to be the direct link between our creative team and our clients, it is important for me to be able to build strong relationships on both sides to ensure trust and confidence with each other and with our agency’s ability to conceptualize and execute good creative. In this predominantly artistic field that I find myself in, I believe there is a different kind of “art” to establishing and nurturing these relationships.

Admittedly, I have never read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, but I’ve browsed the summary and believe it’s a truly interesting concept; one that directly connects to my everyday tasks and has inspired this blog. I pride myself on being able to connect positively with the people I work with every day, and that leaves me with the ability to often influence the decisions they make, or the direction they take. Certainly not all the time, but I find that it works for me more often than not!

So, what’s the secret you ask? Here are 3 tips that I would recommend on How to Win Clients and Influence Co-Workers.

 How to Win Clients and Influence Co-Workers

You Attract More Flies With Honey

I can’t quite decide what my motto really is here. It’s a toss-up between “kill ‘em with kindness” and “the customer is always right.” I suppose they both go hand in hand, and both really come from the same core value. I’ve found that it’s all about your approach. It may not always the same but for me, it’s about giving the customer what they want by providing them with the creative elements they need in a professional, positive way.

The same can be said for your co-workers. My job requires me to essentially “tell people what to do”… All. Day. Long.  To the point where they probably get sick of hearing my shoes click-clacking on the tile floor as I enter into the creative department, That said, I think they’ve come to appreciate my work style and approach – and realize that although my main priority is to get the work done, I also stand behind their creative work and am their biggest cheerleader when reviewing with our clients.

Deliver on Your Promises

It’s simple, really. When you say you’re going to do something, do it! For instance, when I say I’m going to bring in home made cupcakes for the team, not only do I do it, but I bring in different kinds! We at Cowley are do our best to “over deliver” on our promises. You can imagine that requires a constant juggling act in order to ensure all projects in the pipeline are staying on their timelines and that we have enough time to do our best work. I’ve found that regular and open communication with our clients is the key to making this all happen. Not only do they appreciate being kept in the loop, but they respect a realistic approach to their project. Getting to know how your client’s like their information is part of the process of building the relationship. Chances are if they ask for a specific update once, or they like a certain way I communicate to them, they’re going to want it regularly. In case you’re wondering, the same goes for the cupcakes. They’ve become a pretty regular staple around this place!

WinningDon’t Be Afraid to Have a Little Fun

Get to know your clients and co-workers on a personal level - without going overboard. There’s definitely a fine line between loosening up a little and being unprofessional, but with that said, I think everyone can appreciate it when someone shows an interest in who they are as a person, not just a business connection. A simple, “How was your weekend?” or “How’s the family?” can go a long way if used in the appropriate manner to make a person feel more comfortable and connected to you and in turn, increases productivity. I find that I’m extremely task oriented and can often get blinded by my (slightly insane) need to cross things off my “to-do” list. I mean, who doesn’t get bogged down in the daily grind from time to time? I think that my team does a great job of lightening it up with a harmless practical joke, a design blunder, or a funny moment during a creative brainstorm. I don’t know about them, but for me, it makes me stop and take a breath (or a chuckle) and reset my approach to the day, project, or person that I’m working with.

In Closing

All that being said, I think I could summarize this whole approach to building postitive relationships with clients and co-workers by genuinely caring about what I’m doing and how my communication style and approach influences the people I work with every day. I think (or I hope!) that people can sense it, and I believe that’s what makes it all come together in the end.

 

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