They say that breaking up is hard to do, but when it comes time to part ways with your PR agency, it doesn’t have to be tough going.
Whether you’ve had a long-term relationship or have just completed a short project you can split with grace and on good terms; no matter the cause. And, it makes sense to ‘remain friends’; chances are the two parties will cross paths again. A good break up will eliminate much awkwardness going forward and create positive karma, all round.
Firing dos and don’ts
- Do keep communication channels open. Frank, honest discussion when issues arise can resolve most misunderstandings and may render a firing unnecessary.
- Don’t burn bridges. On several occasions I’ve had clients come back after some time apart. This can result from a change to the team, a new priority or crisis, a new budget or some other reason. The point is this: in business it’s always a good idea to keep your options open.
- Do keep things polite and professional. Even when differences are irreconcilable remember that business is not personal. Trump-style declarations serve no purpose other than to feed the ego of the person delivering the news, and they risk causing hard feelings.
- Don’t carry tales. Remember there are two sides to every story and if things end badly, more often than not, both parties share the blame. In such cases, the less said the better for everyone.
- Do be honest with your agency. No matter the reasons behind the decision whether it’s politics, budgets or just plain dissatisfaction with results, it’s important to talk it through. Both sides will learn from such conversation making future relationships better and stronger for all parties.
- Don’t delay payment. All valid invoices should be settled quickly and in full. This preserves the client’s professional integrity and lets both parties move on.
As in life, agency relationships come and go. Some go from strength to strength and can last for years. Others may drag on forever with few positive outcomes. Still others can be explosive and deliver fantastic or disastrous results. Just remember to treat the individuals you meet along the way with respect, learn from the experience and move forward with positivity.