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How to retain a client in Nigeria

Let me gist you about something that happened in my last place of work that I will never forget. We had just won the pitch for Guinness Label Relaunch and there was excitement in the air within the agency. Coupled with the fact that the Marketing Manager had done a congratulatory mail to the team copying my MD (Udeme) and addressing it to me…Dear Yomi!

It was a big deal!

So we all got to the office the next day, still in the euphoria that we had just landed a big business into the agency’s kitty. Then someone announced (I think it was MD’s PA) “Everyone should please proceed to the car park, MD wants to speak to us”. In SO&U, once Udeme’s name is mentioned, trust me, it must be a serious issue. Kia I don minimize my work for laptop and faced car park straight.

After we had gathered, Udeme strolled in smiling and obviously happy. He expressed how that day was one of his best days as an MD and how proud he was of the Guinness team. This took like five minutes or there about. Finally he asked me to step out. Step out to face a crowd made up of four companies? I didn’t bargain for this! So this whole thing was about me?

I can’t recollect how I walked to meet Udeme, but I made to his side. I could be crowd shy so I was literarily shaking. Infact I had to lean on his car, couldn’t stand by his side..As in I was SHAKING! He asked everyone to clap for me, looking so proud of me. What a moment for me! I had never been celebrated like that in my life. Thanks to Biodun Adefila ( Client Service Director) and Tyga for making it happen.

That happened under six months of being in SO&U. Let me be open with you, I had a plan. I knew how I was going to manage the Guinness business in my first year. I was disciplined enough to stick to my plan. Trust me it worked!

Let me share with you how you can retain a client………..



IGNITE (Phase 1)

SUSTAIN (Phase 2)


                                                                 IGNITE (Phase 1)


  • Clients are regular everyday people like you and I. They eat, drink, hang out, date, go to church/mosque etc. They have a life outside work. But often time they only relate with us work wise. So its difficult to approach them and ask for friendship.
  • Human beings are skewed differently, some of us are shy, rigid, out going, pleasant, warm and embracing.
  • In every team, there will be one with the warm, embracing and pleasant character. This person is approachable. You need to be observant to identify this person.
  • Once identified, approach this person with little information that you’ve gathered from sources like LinkedIn, Facebook etc and start up a conversation.
  • Your future success on the account may be built on this strategic move if well utilized.


  • In every brand team, there is always an influencer and often times a decision maker. It’s important to be very observant to identify both of them. Often times, its not a given.
  • A decision maker most times is the head of a team, i.e Marketing Manager, he questions the norm, his opinions are always bought into and he takes decisions swiftly without having to consult.
  • The influencer is the subordinate that gets the attention of the decision maker when issues are raised. The decision maker holds the capability of such person in high regards. His opinion is often time respected by the decision maker and he hardly knocks down his suggestions.
  • Once you’ve identified these two people, you will have to endear yourself to their hearts.


  • Fastest way to endear yourself to the hearts of these two people is to crack a problem.
  • If you solve a problem for them, you will be seen as a doer and not a talker.
  • Clients respects doers. Once you claim you have a solution to a lingering problem, go the extra-mile to deliver.
  • Once you deliver, an impression is created and it’s a solid foundation.

                                                             SUSTAIN (Phase 2)


  • Often times we relegate ourselves to the nucleus team that services the account from the agency. This could be dangerous.
  • For every account, there is an advertising agency, activation agency, PR agency and Media agency. The bulk of these people form The Team.
  • Its important that you are friends with someone from each of these agencies.
  • Takeout time to visit their offices, hang out with them, attend events sponsored by clients and make sure you mingle with people from other agencies. It’s key.
  • Highly classified information are often shared when this team gather together.


  • Put your ears to the ground and find out what’s going on in the personal lives of your clients.
  • Clients always have reasons to celebrate, there are weddings, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, baby dedications, children’s birthdays, graduations etc.
  • Once you get knowledge of an event coming up for your client, endeavor to be part of the event. Let your company be responsible for a line item.


  • Often times we under value the goodwill we have with vendors and we let this payment tool go unused and eventually get wasted.
  • For every third party supplier who has consistently worked with you and has over a period of time made some profit by doing business with you, has an account in his heart full of goodwill for you. It’s left for you to ask for it.
  • It’s strategic to deploy this goodwill to the satisfaction of your client, when the need arises.


  • Clients are not magicians. They often get into trouble and they have mastered the art of concealing it so as to give you the impression that they are top of their games. Don’t be fooled.
  • Clients often get into trouble with Nafdac, Apcon, Lasaa etc. Events go wrong, vendors mess up and dignitaries fail to show up at important occasions.
  • This is the best time to prove to your client you are God sent. Step up and offer to help.
  • Any valuable help offered at such moments are termed magical and they come with a much valuable reward.

                            CONSOLIDATE (Phase 3)


  • Since you’ve been able to build a superb relationship with your client, it’s time to make some profit from this venture.
  • The best time to demand for a favour from your client is immediately after a PITCH.
  • The reason most of us lose this opportunity is largely due to our familiarity with the brand team. We always assume it is our right to be given that business even if other agencies perform better than us.
  • A great performance at the pitch is a MASTER STROKE. It creates a room where client makes a case for you and stand by you.

If you can follow these steps judiciously and improve on your competency level, it will be almost impossible to lose accounts easily except in a case where there’s a global re-alignment on agency-client business relationship.

My name is Yomi Olaniwun. I am the Chief Engagement Officer of BB Buzz, a Digital Marketing Agency. You can reach me via mobile phone on 08108932109 or send me a mail through

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