Client relationships are the lifeblood of a marketing agency. Let’s talk about three things agencies do that tank relationships before they even have a chance to get started.

Assuming What the Client Knows/Wants

We’ve all been guilty of this one, but it’s a quick way to get into trouble. First of all, you can’t assume the client knows what you do and don’t do. You have to be transparent. If you say “Blog Management,” clearly explain to the client what that entails. Don’t assume everyone knows your definition. Second, you can’t always know the client’s expectation. You may be thinking they want written content when “content” in the client’s mind means digital videos. The best client relationships exist when both sides define everything, speak plainly, and ask a lot of questions.

Telling Lies (or Leaving Out the Truth) Destroys Client Relationships

Obviously, you can’t go around being dishonest with clients, but dishonesty is more than just bold-faced lying. Leaving out little details that mislead a client into thinking they are getting more than they actually are, or hiding various expenses and fees, will leave the client with the same bad taste. For example, don’t say that the website development will cost $X and leave out that the client will have to pay an additional hourly rate to have content written. Don’t offer “website managing” unless it actually includes everything. Say what is included—and what can be had for an extra fee.

Not Talking About Objectives

What is the client’s endgame? Are they looking for site traffic, social media followers, improved email click-through rate (CTR), or a greater conversion rate? If you don’t have an honest conversation about goals, you can produce a lot of great work—and still have an unhappy customer.

Before your next client walks through the door, be sure to know what you need to ask, and also think about the things the client will look back on 6 months from now and say, “Well, I wish I knew that when we got started.” Then you can build long-term client relationships that increase the lifetime value of each customer.