We've talked a lot about the professional services marketing we've done for Management Mentors.
Today, we invited Rene Petrin, owner of Management Mentors, to sit down and chat with us about the relationship we've built with him over the last ten years.
Well, when we begin working with a client, we're always hoping it turns into a long-term engagement, one that is rich and rewarding for both sides.
What better way to give people a sense of the client relationships we strive to build than by going directly to one of the sources?
Here's Rene and me…
ROBYN: Thanks for joining me today, Rene.
RENE: Thanks for having me.
ROBYN: So you're one of PMG's oldest clients. And by "old," I mean you've been with us the longest. Just so we're clear. And you and I have been working together for a decade.
RENE: Wow. And it seems like only yesterday…
ROBYN: I know, right? So the purpose of today's discussion is to get a sense of how PMG builds a long-term relationship with clients like you. Why have you stayed with PMG for this long?
RENE: Well, you hit the nail on the head when you said the word 'relationship.' Because that's what it is. I have a relationship with you and Susan (LaPlante-Dube) and Ranae (Mogensen) and so many of the other PMG team members. It's not simply that I'm your client and you do the work. I know you guys really care about my success, but also about me as a person. And that makes a huge difference at the end of the day.
ROBYN: There's definitely a family feel to our relationship, especially given we've known each other for a decade.
RENE: Exactly. But in some ways, it's even better than family.
ROBYN: Because we don't have to spend holidays together?
RENE: <laughing> Well, that helps. But you and the team are people I actually like corresponding with and hearing from. We're in regular contact each week. We have a check-in call every month.
ROBYN: Not to mention the occasional lunches and dinners like you hosted at your place last year. Don't worry: we won't post the pictures. Your secrets are safe with us.
RENE: That's a relief. But seriously, that's what you guys bring to the table. I'm not just a client, not just a number for PMG's bottom line. I'm a person with a business—a business that I think you've grown passionate about over the years.
ROBYN: That's absolutely true. I've always thought mentoring was important, but after working with you and learning from you over the last 10 years, I understand just how important it is.
RENE: And you translate that passion into the writing you do for me.
ROBYN: Speaking of which, let's talk about the work we do, and not just how awesome we are at dinner conversation.
RENE: I think the biggest thing you guys do for me is make sense of the vast amount of information I've generated over 25+ years. I'm always getting compliments from clients and prospects alike about the depth and breadth of the website, the quality of the writing, the incredible information, much of which we offer for free. The PMG team has packaged the info into aesthetically pleasing designs and delivers it across many channels, like eBooks, infographics, slide shares. Plus, you keep me on track. Not to mention the consistent marketing and sales results, like strong leads and the fact that Management Mentors is always included on just about any major mentoring RFP that is issued.
You're also not afraid to be honest with me when you disagree with something I'm doing or if I'm going down the wrong path. I think that's key. It's easy in a client-vendor relationship to simply 'yes' the client to death, even if the vendor disagrees with the client's decision. Or worse: the vendor says it will do one thing, just to appease the client, even though the vendor has no intention of doing it. PMG is not like that. You always respectfully and tactfully tell me what you think.
ROBYN: I think I've gotten more strident in my approach over the years.
RENE: Yes! You don't mince words, but you're always polite and respectful. Besides, I appreciate your no-bullshit approach.
ROBYN: And I appreciate the fact that you listen. It's a two-way street.
RENE: Yes, it is.
ROBYN: That doesn't mean we always agree or that you always take our advice, of course. And that's OK. At the end of the day, it's your business. But as long as we know you've considered all sides and that you've heard us, that's what matters.
ROBYN: Do you think our approach would work for everyone?
RENE: I want to say yes, because it should. I would think every business would—or should—value this sort of honest, respectful, creative, collaborative relationship you guys have built with me. But I imagine there are business owners out there that want things done their way and only their way.
ROBYN: True. And they're probably not the best fit for us. And you're right: I think one of the reasons our relationship with Management Mentors has been so successful is because it's a collaboration. What's great about you, Rene, is that you provide input and feedback when needed, but you also step back and let us do our work. That's important.
RENE: And that goes back to trust. I trust you. And I know you know that I've put this trust in you.
ROBYN: Right. Trust is critical. So is there anything you would want to change about our relationship?
RENE: How about the fact you're always pestering me to write blog posts? <laughs>
ROBYN: That will never change. And you know it.
RENE: Honestly, I think we have a good thing. And here's another important point: if there ever is an issue—and let's face it: what relationship doesn't have issues from time to time?—I know I can talk to you and the team about it and we can come to a peaceful resolution.
ROBYN: Before you know it, you will be inviting us to holiday dinners.
RENE: <laughs> Well, I wouldn't go that far…
ROBYN: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Rene. Here's to another ten years.
RENE: Thanks again for having me.
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