WHEN A CLIENT LEAVES

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The process of breaking up with a client can be hard and involve battling all kinds of emotions. I will be taking you through the 5 stages of the emotional roller coaster you may experience.

Stage 1 – Denial

“Nah it can’t be, we just had lunch with Demola the brand manager and we were brainstorming on how to launch their latest product. Demola would have told me if this was going to happen. I’m sure it’s a rumour or somebody is just having a bad day. Let me fix a meeting, there’s nothing a good meeting can’t solve.” At this stage, we can’t accept it especially when we never “experred it”

Stage 2 – Anger

“They will regret it, who else in this Nigeria can answer briefs in less than 2 hours. So Chinyere is telling me she couldn’t fight for us after we have saved her sorry ass time and time again. The same complexion that got her a job could not keep our own.  I’m sure she was in on it, pretending she was not in support. What kind of pot of beans life is this?” This is the point where you’re angry and almost losing every sense of reason.

Stage 3 – Bargaining

“Let’s send a proposal to the client, I’m sure once they see how creative we are they will stay. Talk to their procurement guy about some discounts we have been able to bag them recently. Tell Saheed to give us a month to prove ourselves, we will also have one of our staff stationed in their office so we are constantly at their beck and call.”  When you are at this point, be careful not to sell your future out of desperation.

Stage 4 – Depression

“We have to cancel the office renovation we planned, I guess we will be stuck with this sad ambience for the rest of our lives”. I don’t feel well, tell the staff I will be leaving early today. In fact, everyone can leave early today. What’s the point working so hard when they will just leave eventually” The office playlist begins to feature tracks like “When you are gone”, “How am I supposed to live without you”, “Here without you” and every other heartbreak song you can muster. This is the point where reality sets in and you have to think of your next move rather than wallow in the “what ifs?”

Stage 5 – Acceptance

“It’s going to be fine, we win some and we lose some.” You start getting ready for the next client while making sure the current ones are kept happy. You are a fighter, you have survived this long and will continue to survive.

My life as a Middle man

My-Life-As-A-MiddlemanStrangely, I have always found myself in positions where I mediate between two parties. Let me just say that it is not always an exciting experience.

When I was younger, I was the middleman between my parents, bearing the brunt of the anger on behalf of the receiving party. I was also the middleman between my sister and her boyfriend, transporting sweet and bitter messages for the lovers when needed, and now that I’m all grown up, I get paid to be the middleman. Officially, it’s called being a Client Service Manager.

To use a village scenario to describe my job, the clients can be likened to “gods” of the land, the “dibia” is myself (ordained to talk to the gods and also act as the eyes of the gods) and the “villagers” are my team members, who exist to do the will of the gods, but would never want to talk to the gods directly.

If the villagers do not deliver what the gods’ expect, the gods summon the dibia and unleash their anger on him. The gods then give new, and sometimes ridiculous, instructions to the villagers. The dibia takes “the divine message” back to the villagers and the villagers in return vent on the dibia, who happens to be the bearer of bad news.

That’s the summary of my job.

There was a particular day I had a “divine meeting” with the client – the gods.  The client wanted us to do the undoable with his brand. He wanted us to smash old records and break new grounds, putting no limitation whatsoever on our creativity. This was totally strange to me; the gods are never this free with their instructions. So I asked further, “O wise one, are you sure this is what you want? I think we need to draw a limit to what can be done.”

“No! Don’t put yourself in a box! Be free, speak the language of the customers,” he responded.

I got back to the village and summoned the villagers, “Be free! Be creative! Jump into trendy conversations! Be yuppie! Be you!” I exclaimed, “These are the words of the gods”.

There was a moment of silence.

“Are you sure?” they asked, and I assured them that this was the will of the gods.

From then onward, the villagers went all out. They crossed the seven forbidden oceans, broke all ancestral customs and introduced the white man’s technics to their work. They were truly free, indeed.

The gods noticed these things and realized that they were not, in reality, ready for the changes. And so, they called for an emergency meeting with the dibia.

“Stop! No more! Delete! You misunderstood,” they screamed.

Guess who had to break the news to the excited villagers.