Just Because The Client Is Always Right, Doesn’t Mean You’re Always Wrong

Getting a client to agree with your counsel is often an uphill battle

If you are a PR pro who’s ever worked at an agency, then you know this scenario far too well.

One of your clients – let’s call them Joe’s Laundromat – has a huge launch coming up. Big money has been invested in it and Joe thinks this is the biggest news to hit the industry since the invention of the steam iron.

Upon hearing this news, the agency PR team gets together and writes out a strategy that they believe will help drive success for this launch. However, the agency’s plan does not involve all of the tactics that Joe is eager to move forward with. Despite the agency’s counsel, Joe wants to move forward doing things his way. The agency agrees.

So what am I trying to get at? For starters, every client (and every agency for that matter) is different. Some clients will do everything you tell them to do, others will do the exact opposite. When this happens, the key is to try and not get frustrated. At the end of the day, you can only push back so much. A client is ultimately going to make the decisions no matter how persuasive your argument may be. Whether their way works or doesn’t is irrelevant. Your job is to provide the best counsel possible no matter what.

There will always be new opportunities to provide counsel to clients, and even those like Joe’s Laundromat will occasionally surprise you and take your advice. So don’t get down and out. Be patient, keep working hard, and good things will happen eventually.

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9 comments on “Just Because The Client Is Always Right, Doesn’t Mean You’re Always Wrong

  1. Great read. Like many things, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. I’d say though stick to your guns. If you’re convinced, based on experience, the agency approach is a good one, don’t sell yourself short by just saying yes to whatever a client asks or wants. You’ll be doing yourself a huge service if you provide what you believe is sound counsel and sometimes that means pushing back or working to get a client to agree to try something different that may take them out of their comfort zone.

  2. I really like how you comprehend the clients’ needs.I personally balieve that some clients are too stubborn and don’t understand how PR works, therefore with this kind of client I would say, ” My way or look for another publicist.” At least, in underdeveloped countries, clients need to understand your value, and this way is how they would value a publicist. 🙂

  3. Agree with where you’re going, but I don’t think the client is ever always right. IMO, brands hire PR firms because they know we need the services we provide and obviously PR firms need clients to keep the doors open. If the client insists on always going their own route without listening to their PR counsel, then what’s the point of having a PR firm in the first place?

    You’re definitely right though, at the end of the day all we can do is provide the best information to clients. It’s up to them to listen. Bad clients ultimately get a bad reputation just like bad agencies. Keep the world in balance I think. 🙂

    • Sometimes a client just uses an agency to do a lot of the busy work associated with executing their vision of what a successful campaign is. They don’t necessarily care what the PR agency’s counsel is, they just want to do things their way (remember, ego gets involved in some scenarios). But hopefully you have enough good clients that appreciate your counsel and are willing to listen to your advice.

  4. Pingback: The Most Important Word PR Pros Should Use More Often: “No” « PR at Sunrise

  5. Pingback: 5 Simple Ways to Stand Out with Your Clients |

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