Recently at a luncheon for hospitality sales and marketing professionals I heard the phrase, “I don’t care if you’re an order taker, be the best order taker you can be.” I suppose the phrase makes sense for a restaurant server, for example, since what typically sets the best servers apart is their ability to upsell: As you’ve each selected the same glass of wine, how about sharing a bottle? But could the same phrase also be applied to a PR professional? I certainly hope not.
At (W)right On we take ‘project orders’ from our clients all the time. In any given month we fulfill a myriad of requests from writing a press release or designing a brochure, to producing a video or strategizing an email marketing campaign. But it’s not our goal to simply be great order takers. As PR consultants, our goal is to help our clients achieve their communications goals while helping them to see a bigger picture. And that means steering them to the right strategies to reach their goals.
For example, before we ever sit at the table to create compelling copy for a brochure, we may first have to spend time gently explaining to a client why his company jargon isn’t compelling or why a brochure is not the communications vehicle in the first place. Or when a client comes to us with a “great idea” for a press release, we can’t be afraid to ask: so what? We’re in the business of communications, so it’s our job to pinpoint the “so what?” in every project we collaborate on.Is this idea newsworthy? If not, let’s come up with an idea that is! Will anyone care? If not, let’s look at why and figure out how to make it so! Is there a different marketing route we could take instead of a routine press release? Let’s brainstorm the possibilities!
When I heard that phrase, “…be the best order taker you can be,” I immediately thought of (W)right On’s Core Values and how five of them illustrate why we will never consider ourselves order takers:
We act with intention. When we know the outcomes that are being targeted and how these will help our clients reach their goals, we make the best use of client and agency resources and we can anticipate problems before they arise.
We focus on the important. We don’t confuse flash for substance. And we don’t confuse activity for productivity.
We are relentless about results. We are creative and thorough in helping clients achieve their goals. And we accept that we won’t always be successful, but when we aren’t, it won’t be because of something we didn’t think of or do!
We embrace and lead change. We accept and strive to stay ahead of changes in our industry and our clients’ industries.
We do what’s right. We always act with integrity and don’t compromise on excellence. We don’t take short-cuts that sacrifice quality or our reputation. When we make a mistake we own it and make it right.
Fact of the matter is, for us, relationships rule, and you can’t really have a relationship with a client if you’re just an order taker. Order takers are a commodity. Leaders add value. We take the time to build relationships with our clients by adhering to our Core Values and setting clear expectations and goals, having open communication channels and showing mutual respect.
How do you build relationships in your industry?