By Durk Price
I love working with clients. It’s rewarding to help clients launch a new program and even more satisfying to see it grow into a successful sales channel for their business. Reviving existing programs and turning them around also has its own satisfaction for our business,
But I’m sure anyone working with clients knows that it can be challenging. That’s the polite way of saying that while we respect and value our clients, each one brings its unique set of issues – good and bad – to the partnership.
I’ve often given advice about what it takes to be a good OPM, but this time I’m turning the tables on the clients and offering up a few tips on how to be a better client:
A good OPM will set expectations with clients before signing agreements. Clients need to know these are a set of guidelines for how the programs should progress. Of course, there are things that can impact the specified timeline and outcome. But for the most part, if we tell you that we expect to grow your program to a certain volume per month within 9 months, don’t be frustrated that we haven’t reached that goal in 30 days.
I can’t tell you how many times we have signed agreements with clients outlining in detail our services and the costs and a year later we’ll hear from them inquiring about a particular service charge. They’ll say, “I didn’t know about that charge.” Well, they agreed to it up front when we signed them on; they’ve been paying for the service (and we’ve been delivering it) for a year, but they never bothered to read the agreement. If you are a client, it is your right and responsibility to know what you are paying for and what you are getting.
Don’t Fudge Facts
We’ve had clients that have misrepresented their company’s commitment to starting an affiliate program or the financial health of their company. This can cause problems on all sides. Most often it leaves us holding the bag for bills that don’t get paid by the clients. It’s better to be truthful about everything upfront and then we can figure out a way to work together that will not leave either party with bad feelings or a financial burden.
Think Like Partners
We think of our clients as partners and treat them that way. We love it when that spirit of working together is reciprocated. It makes for a pleasant and successful working relationship. Clients should include our team in anything that impacts the services we are providing. Being blindsided is not fun. Also, we have a creative team of experienced people that might see synergies that otherwise would have been overlooked. Include us on email, your other internal communications, conference calls, etc. Sharing information is good and will ultimately benefit everyone involved.
We have a team of professionals with decades and decades of combined experience in servicing clients in our field. We know what we are doing and provide the highest level of service. Trust us. We’ll share our knowledge with clients, but just six months into our relationship clients that suddenly decide they’ve learned enough to take a program in-house, is likely a mistake. This is a complex world to navigate and experience and knowledge is key to success.
We expect our clients to operate on an ethical level. We won’t take on clients who don’t embrace our values of operating within the laws and adhering to moral and ethical standards. By the way, letting us work to tirelessly promote your program for months before the busy holiday season and then terminating the contract days prior to the start of the biggest shopping season in an effort to avoid paying us commissions is not being ethical.