Robert Solomon recently released the third edition of his book “The Art of Client Service.” I have read several industry books over the years, but strangely haven’t read this one. So, I picked it up and gave it a go.
The book is a “guide” on how to be a great account person in an advertising agency. It’s filled with things you should and should not do, how to act in certain situations, how to write scopes, proposals, conference reports, yada, yada, yada.
Here are my favorite quotes from the book – things no account person (junior or senior) should forget:
Account service has been called “the hardest job in an agency.” It’s a constant battle to do what’s right for the client, the agency, the creative team, the media department and the guy next door while staying on strategy, on budget, on time and coming up with the next great business-driving idea. It is, as the cover says, an art.
You’re a part of the team from start to finish. Contribute in any way you can – be a resource, offer feedback, offer assistance, buy lunch or dinner when your team is stuck cranking out work. Don’t skate at 5p.m. when the rest of your team is finishing up a presentation or finalizing work to be released. Be there.
Manage your clients’ expectations from the outset. Do not take their feedback verbatim and hand it to the creative team. Do not just write down an issue brought up in a meeting and try to solve it later. Ask questions, get to the bottom of their concerns and make sure everyone is clear on where things are heading.
Use the products, know the history and the culture, talk to customers and employees, read the press, follow them on social media, always think about ways to strengthen weaknesses, and capitalize on opportunities. Whether it’s a new client or a pitch situation, you don’t necessarily always need industry experience, but you do always need to steep yourself in the brand.
Aka: Don’t get complacent. Write, rehearse, fine-tune, rehearse again.
If work is really great and on-strategy, don’t let anyone kill it before it gets presented to the client, even if there are reasons why they “think” the client won’t buy it. Fight for great work. The client may not buy it, but you should always fight to present it.
No elaboration needed.
Use your best judgment, be honest, learn from your mistakes, accept responsibility and don’t make the same mistake twice. Every day brings a new challenge; accept them all, as they will only make you better.