How to Be a More Proactive Agency Professional

By | May 14, 2014
0    Comment(s)

ProactivityWe talk a lot about productivity—the art of getting more done, more efficiently.

We don’t talk enough about proactivity—the art of anticipating needs, questions and concerns before they arise. Why is being more proactive so important?

Simple. Proactivity creates more value.

Recommendations, strategy and expertise are all valuable. But when proactively delivered, their value is amplified by orders of magnitude. Maybe it’s a client who receives an answer to the next question they were about to ask, or a campaign recommendation that solves a problem on the horizon.

Whatever the situation, proactive solutions and words help you do better work, avoid serious setbacks, and drive client success.

Most importantly, proactivity turns you from a knowledgeable agency professional into an indispensable advisor. That’s a powerful difference when recurring revenue and long-term relationships are so critical to the bottom line.

Here’s how any agency professional can be more proactive starting today.

1. Conduct a Client Analysis

You probably know plenty about how your clients think and operate. It’s time to systematize that knowledge. To start being more proactive, analyze your client like you would a buyer persona:

  • What are their pain points in the workplace and in life?
  • How are they positioned within their organization?
  • How do they prove their value internally? What benchmarks do they need to do that?
  • Who influences them and who do they influence?
  • How do they speak, write and communicate?
  • What keeps them up at night?

Done right, a thorough client analysis provides a blueprint for being more proactive moving forward. You’ll understand better what your client hopes, fears and thinks. That gives you a much-improved idea of how you can add value and proactively address pain points.

Put It Into Practice:

2. Ask What’s Next

You know how to think about a client’s needs proactively; but how do you actually execute?

One great way to start is to ask, “What’s next?” Anytime you interact with a client, ask yourself what you would need next to take action. Then, provide it. Some examples might include:

  • Sample email text. If recommending a client send an email, provide a sample of what they might say or bullet points of main ideas.
  • Relevant links and research. Send follow-up research on a new topic or event you’ve brought to a client’s attention. Or, provide a summary of the research in an easily digestible format.
  • Logical next steps. What is the next course of action for a recommendation, strategy, campaign etc. on your end and on the client’s? Communicate them early and often.

Put It Into Practice:

3. Don’t Wait for Permission

It’s easy to wait for someone to tell you it’s okay to be proactive. It’s harder to go out and do it without an outside party’s blessing. Your agency needs to foster a culture that encourages the latter. Clients won’t tell you to be more proactive (until it’s too late). And there won’t be a magic moment when you suddenly become a proactivity superhero.

Progress, instead, comes from regularly applied practice. To do that, professionals need the freedom to take risks and fail.

Does your agency’s culture foster true proactivity? Are you providing the right framework for professionals to take charge, fail, succeed and grow?

The major way to be more proactive is to create a culture that makes space for it. The alternative is an environment that strangles proactivity, and reduces the value created for clients. Don’t fall into the trap.

Put It Into Practice:

What other strategies do you use to be more proactive? Please share them here with your fellow agency professionals.

Image Source: Al Abut