During a recent strategy session on how we plan on taking on 2015, the ATP team again realised how much relationships are part of who we are. In fact, our relationship management is one of our key strengths. Not only from ATP as a company but also through each individual team member's personality.
My career stretches across 18 years and most of the positions I held were within larger companies or businesses with a very rigid hierarchy. Socialising between staff and management was rare and when it did take place, there was always a sense of people not being authentic. Within ATP, we are a smaller, close knit unit. We value each other as individuals and as colleagues, preferring to use phrases such as team members or family. Juanita, although the owner of At That Point and our boss, shares an office with the rest of us and treats us as equals. In response, we are always authentic to who we are.
Most of our clients came to us through relationships we had built with other individuals and companies. We therefore actively strive to match the best suited internal team member to the client. If this means that Juanita as business owner takes on an active client facing, account management role, that is what happens. If it means that I need to handle all communications with a client, no problem. The relationship between At That Point and its client remains an individual to individual relationship, taking into account each individual's needs and personality.
Industry role player relationship
As an agency focusing on PR and marketing we also maintain strong relationships with our key industry role players, be it journalists, editors, directors or writers. We communicate as individuals and not as a company, focusing again on the individual needs of one of these role players. We have seen first hand how this pays off - because I am listed as the media liaison for a specific client, the editor of a magazine will call me for information about the client. Not only because I recently sent him a media release but because he has communicated with me on several previous occasions about the client. He doesn't need to wait for information to come from me or the client - he knows and trusts the relationship enough to also ask for input.
Why it matters
It's logical that each of our team members had several previous employers where we built up relationships with clients. And it is quite possible that we may move on to a new employer in the future. Does that mean all the previous relationships stay behind? Of course not.
I used to be very involved in the aviation industry and never foresaw that any of my relationships with clients could be carried over to the PR and marketing industry. Yet, because I valued relationships and cared for my clients, continuing these relationships are now becoming a very real possibility.
After all, there is a saying by Dale Carnegie:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”