Confessions of a Hypercritical Client

What Clients Don’t Say That Agencies Need to Hear

Jeff Hiller/Highbar Training

Invaluable perspective on key issues and concerns from the client side of the desk

About the Speaker:

Jeff Hiller founded Highbar Training and has coached 10,000+ professionals in all disciplines at 50+ agencies incl. Omnicom, IPG & Publicis groups and dozens of regionals. His high energy, interactive programs rely on real world experience as an ad exec, marketing director & sales manager. Jeff was VP Acct Director at $1B ad agency Leo Burnett, earning 7 EFFIE Awards; Houston Rockets Marketing/Creative Director; VP Marketing for Four Hands, a 3-time Inc 500 Fastest Growing company; L&D Director for JB Training Solutions. Jeff also works with advertiser clients such as Marriott, Phillips 66 and speaks regularly at SHRM, PIHRA and ATD events. Jeff graduated from Dartmouth and lives in Austin.


Clients can be frustrating with unreal expectations, last minute rushes, direction changes and endless redo’s. But too often, they feel pushback and wonder if their agency partner really gets it.

Common client peeves include overpromising results, minimizing concerns, doubting their creative taste buds, keeping them out of the loop and falling on your sword for every recommendation. Words say one thing, but experience tells them otherwise.

Most clients would love to loosen the reins, but stakes are different. Agencies get embarrassed by missed deadlines or budget overruns; brand managers get fired. Rather than aggravate the situation by complaining, they tend to micromanage the process and judge more critically.

You both share the same goal of campaign success. To get there, you need even your most difficult clients to believe that you truly understand their brand, their situation and them personally better than anyone else ever could.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize and pre-empt unvoiced client concerns
  • Overcome resistance and convince you get it
  • Know when to accommodate or draw the line

Who Should Attend

All levels of Account, Creative and any other disciplines with direct Client interaction, responsibility for managing expectations and providing deliverables.

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