I have been thinking a lot lately about what its take manage the relationship we have with our clients.
A long time ago, I learned that to be a good account manager you need a rare combination of professional and personal characteristics, some of which can’t be taught. To me account management is the art of representing my business to clients and vice versa.
The job requires skill, advocacy, diplomacy, leadership, expectation setting, intelligence, method, heart, patience, experience, and wisdom. It is not easy and it is something I am constantly trying to improve at.
With this concept top of mind, I thought I’d share some of my tips for being an effective account manager.
- Under Promise and Over Deliver. I have always strived to under promise and over deliver. Most people get it wrong. They promise to something they cannot deliver and things go downhill quickly from there. Losing your client’s trust is a surefire way to doom your company.
- Do What They Want, Not What You Want. We often get so busy we think we have to do it the way we are doing it. Even when it’s clearly not what the client wants. This is another way to doom yourself and your business. They are paying you to do what they want, so don’t expect them to keep paying you to do what you want.
- Communicate Bad News Early. It is far, far better to tell you client you will be late on a deadline, or you can meet the requirement or you have to modify what you promised then it is to go silent. Not communication bad news early, or worse to communicating the bad news at all is another strike against you and your hard work, not matter what you intentions.
- Be the Expert. When it comes to dealing with a client, they are expecting you to know every answer, sometimes even before they ask it. They are paying you for your expertise. So you need to be the one to find problems before they are problems, fix things before they break and always have a solution at hand. If you are not an expert on what you are being paid for, they will find someone else.
- Always Have the Most Data. When your client tells you there is something wrong because they saw it in a report, then you know you have pretty poor analytics. You are doing the job, so you should be the one churning out the reports, championing the sharing of information and setting the agenda for the next meeting.
That’s just a few of the things that come to mind when it comes to being a good account manager.
And just in case I need to remind anyone, and not trying to brag… but I am pretty awesome at this.
Being good at account management is without a doubt one of the key reasons I have thrived throughout my career is keeping the clients happy.
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