What makes a perfect client for a public relations consultant like me?
Sure I could be serious and trot out the need to set realistic objectives, communicate a message, have a good story to tell, news is news and all that stuff, but I usually take the light-hearted approach and say this:
“My perfect client is a benevolent dictator, who agrees with my point of view and has an unlimited budget”.
And I had one once, or nearly. It was when I was working in London and I had a client who was a self-made multi-millionaire who had transformed his industry singlehanded and not surprisingly picked up a few enemies along the way .
He lived in the country where his enterprise was located and I was asked by my office once that I needed to seek a budget increase of 20 per cent over the previous level at our next client review meeting.
When I raised this during the meeting my client replied, “You don’t need a fee increase.”
I was rather taken back by this as I had thought I was doing a pretty good job and immediately asked him “Why not”.
He said, “You have my private telephone number and if you want an additional fee for anything, all you have to do is phone and ask me. I’ll ask you for the details and how much, and by the way, if it is half past four in the morning when you call, it had better be a bloody good idea”.
Any when such an occasion arose, he was true to his word and it was a really good idea.
I thought later that his approach was a very clever as it put the acid on me to know his business so well that I could come up with ideas that were relevant and would work.