'I'm just not sure whether you really want this, do you?'.
Everyone has experienced this line of questioning before right?
Now our natural instinct as comms professionals is to do whatever we can to convince them that we want it.
We widen our eyes as much as possible, we lean forward and we longingly stare into the client's eyes and say, 'yes, we want it. I've never wanted anything more. Forget children, a happy marriage, Trump's impeachment, I want to work on your cloud based storage product more than anything else in the world.'
We hope that other agencies have failed to place the necessary amount of emotion and passion behind their words of commitment.
However, I urge my fellow agency darlings to have another response, which is this 'well, that's as much down to you as it is to us.'
You see, I don't know whether I really want to work on a client until I've started working with them. Sure we can all make the right sounds and gestures in the bizarre mating ritual that is a pitch, but until we start holding hands and walking onto the battlefield together, I'm just not sure.
Thankfully, the clients I have, I'd lie in traffic for. But that's as much their influence as it is mine, and it has nothing to do with their product or service. It's to do with their attitude.
I treat them as the experts in their industry and take guidance from them on trends and nuances. Likewise, they treat me and my team as senior advisors, helping them navigate an increasingly complex and crowded communications world.
It's not a transactional relationship, it's a full blown, warts and all, partnership. Yes we argue - that's a healthy part of a client relationship. Sometimes we don't agree on the tactic, but we do agree to move forward as one unified team and we know we have each other's backs.
Agencies will want to work with the clients that want to work with them. It's simple.
So, before you start moistening your eyes in a bid to feign just how emotionally attached you are to the product or service you only just became familiar with a week ago, take a big deep breath, be honest and say, 'well it's a two way thing, I'm up for it if you are'.
You never know, it might just blossom into that beautiful relationship you've always hoped for.