Cross-posted from Ishmael’s Corner
By Lou Hoffman

Every agency person has experienced a client who adds what we’ll call “extra obstacles” to achieving success.

It’s not personal (usually).

Sometimes, it’s simply a byproduct of the company’s culture.

I’m reminded of a client whose management required report after report to the point that the reporting cost exceeded the doing-PR cost. Even after showing them a pie chart of the budget categorized by activities that generate visible results vs. activities that didn’t, nothing changed.

They wanted those bloody reports.

After going through this experience, I had a revelation. I thought winning over the client was totally an intellectual exercise. Show them the data, they would see my point and adjustments would be made accordingly.

I forgot that there’s always an emotional component to winning over a client to the agency’s point of view, especially if the client already believes in a counter position.

Taking this a step further, I’ve learned that strength of conviction can often be the most persuasive way to bring a client over to your way of thinking.

One of the best illustrations of “strength of conviction” comes from the movie “Jerry Maguire.”

I think the soliloquy “Help me help you” is right up there with Hamlet’s “To be or not to be.”  I know what I’m about to say is sacrilege, but Tom Cruise’s performance for 60 seconds matches Laurence Olivier for my money.

And when you can combine the right words – the right storytelling – with strength of conviction, you end up with a proposition that’s tough to refuse.

Look at the words leading up to the line, “Help me help you:”

I am out here for you.

You don’t know what it’s like to be me out here for you.

It is an up-and-gone, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about. OK?

Naturally, Cuba Gooding Jr. got on board.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *