My client relationship is on the rocks, should I give up?

Dear Aunty,


I’ve worked well with the CEO of a large client company for a long time, and all my design work is very well received. A new marketing position has been created in our organisation and the marketing manager is making dramatic last minute changes to all the work after it has been approved. The CEO has washed her hands of the responsibility for all this work.

The new marketing manager prefers long-winded accusatory briefs and won’t talk face-to-face.

Do I just say goodbye to the client? Do you have a solution?


Sally F,
St Kilda




Hi Sally,
Don’t you hate it when the new person is hired and muscles in on a solid relationship? At least your old contact, the CEO, is still there!


If the client is only marginally profitable for you and this messing about is causing the relationship to be unprofitable, then let the client go. But if they are a profitable client, don’t let your annoyance get in the way. This is the opportunity to display all of your emotional intelligence, charm and level headedness.


Let the marketing manager know (in writing) the contribution that you enjoy making to the firm and offer to make these skills available if there is something that you can do to help. Then leave space, as marketing managers often seek to remake the world that they enter and seek the authority to generate growth for the business.


CEOs tend to let new marketing managers have their head, as it allows the CEO to step back from the acquisition of new customers, which after all is likely to be the rationale for the creation of this new marketing position.


Stay in touch with the CEO on the design and development of the products and services of your company and avoid commenting on the work of the marketing manager until the CEO again seeks your support.


Christmas is coming so make sure you plan some celebration that enables you to meet both the CEO and marketing manager face-to-face.


And remember, stay cool. See it as a game to find clever ways to deal with this marketing manager and build a new and better relationship.

Good luck!


Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch
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