Dorothy Crenshaw October 8, 2015 | 03:50:38
7

What (PR) Clients Say, And What They Really Mean

A skill that can be particularly important for PR agencies or any client service business is what’s known as “active listening.” What clients say isn’t always what they mean. At least, not entirely. There’s sometimes an unspoken communication beneath comments from clients and business associates – if you’re listening for it, that is.
We decided to have some fun with this notion through a cynical roundup of what clients really mean when they say seemingly ordinary things. Don’t take it too seriously.

When a client says:   Don’t spend too much time on it.

What they really mean is:   Don’t bill me, and whatever you do, don’t let anything else slip.

When a client says:   I’m confused.

What they really mean is:   You’re making no sense.

When a client says:   We’re looking for an agency to grow with us.

What they really mean is:   You will never make any money on this business.

When a client says:   This is a great opportunity for you.

What they really mean is:   This is a test.

When a client says:   I’m looking for a flexible team.

What they may mean is:   We’re hard to work with.

When a client says:  There’s no budget for this.

What they really mean is:  It’s not important to senior management.

When a client says:   We’re happy to reward great work.

What they really mean is:  We’re cheap.

When a client says:  Put on your creative hat.

What they mean is:  This project is probably impossible. Good luck!

7 thoughts on “What (PR) Clients Say, And What They Really Mean

  1. Having been on both agency and client side for some years now I found this post to be over the top cynical and disagree with much of your takeaways. Here is my take…
    When a client says: Don’t spend too much time on it.
    What they really mean is: This isn’t a priority. Keep top of mind what we’ve discussed as most important and spend time/effort on that.
    When a client says: I’m confused.
    What they really mean is: We talked about this and are not in alignment on where you’re going with it.
    When a client says: We’re looking for an agency to grow with us.
    What they really mean is: We want someone commited to help us grow an account that is in need of help. Are you committed long-term?
    When a client says: This is a great opportunity for you.
    What they really mean is: This “may be” a test, but it’s also an area where there is a lot of room for win’s.
    When a client says: I’m looking for a flexible team.
    What they may mean is: I need a team where people can quickly tag team to best meet our needs.
    When a client says: There’s no budget for this.
    What they really mean is: This may not be a priority for us. We should talk about what is.
    When a client says: We’re happy to reward great work.
    What they really mean is: If you take care of us, we’ll take care of you both monetarily and in nurturing a closer working relationship.
    When a client says: Put on your creative hat.
    What they mean is: We want something new, different, unique that’s beyond what’s already been done.

  2. As an agency ‘veteran’ I think the post hits pretty close to home actually. Reading between the lines (or words) is an essential agency skill

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.