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10 tips to help you become a better account handler

10 tips to help you become a better account handler
The Leith Agency's Head of Account Management Brian Coane passes on 10 tips which have worked for him.

These ten things have helped me in my job. They're not rules, but things that have worked for me. Not all my own. Many are things I learned from better, wiser, smarter people. I hope they are useful to you. 

1.) Take small steps.  

Our job is to make projects go smoothly, but often it can feel like there’s many complications. The best way to deal with this is to take small steps. Especially when dealing with clients. Ask for one decision at a time.

2.) Know what kind of account handler you are.

There are two types of account handler. Those that change their personality to suit the client or those that build a portfolio of clients to suit their personality. Pick the one that suits you best and do that well.

 3.) Build the best team you can. 

You need to build the best team. You need to be the best coach. When a football team doesn’=t perform it=’=s usually the manager that gets the blame. Account handlers are the coaches of the advertising world.

4.) Think commercially. 

If you’re planner you’ll be measured on the strategies that you develop. If you’re a creative you can work to fill a shelf with awards. But if you’re an account handler, sooner or later someone is going ask how much money you’re responsible for.

5.) Don't rely on big ideas. 

Agencies can be obsessed about the big idea. I think that clients rarely are. It doesn’t always need a big idea to solve a business problem.

6.) Know your client's business.

Find out what they want and show it to them.

7.) Know your client's rounding point. 

Most clients have a budget level that they don’t need any further approval to authorise. Find out that number and develop proposals that match.

8.) You can find inspiration in anything (and if you can't look again). 

You can find inspiration in everything. But it’s not just about looking. You have to create space for ideas. It’s not a coincidence that Archimedes had his ‘aha’ moment in the bath.

9.) Tell a story. 

Use a story mountain for briefs, for presentations, for phone calls. Start with the opening, build-up to the problem, find the resolution to take you to the ending. 

10.) Stop bumping. 

Wise words from 'Winnie the Pooh': "Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it." 

This article is adapted from a presentation given at the first Account Management Breakfast session in Scotland. Hear from Mediacom Edinburgh's Murray Calder at the next Account Management Breakfast session on 25th October, 8.30am-9.30am at Cafe Renroc in Edinburgh. 

Last updated 27/09/2013

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