I always thought I was good at managing relationships. (Of course, ping-pong is probably my strongest suit—I win approximately 99% of the time in the office. Yes, we have statistics. Don’t you?) Then I met Kasey and Mike, founders of Packback, a Chicago-based e-textbook rental startup. You may also know Packback from the ABC reality show Shark Tank; they pitched on the show in March 2014 and landed an investment from Mark Cuban.
Through my relationship with Kasey and Mike, I’ve learned a great deal. Not only do I consider them experts in relationship management, but I’m also blown away by how much they understand the importance of the human element in business.
What's the human element?
The human element of the client agency world can be summed up by one simple concept: we want to work with people we like. It’s important to go beyond the traditional business meeting setting to build strong working relationships. It’s more than just playing a round of golf; it’s about taking the first step, relationship maintenance, and becoming involved in mutual success.
Within two weeks of beginning an engagement with Packback, Kasey and Mike asked me to grab a drink. As the agency owner, I thought to myself: “That was my job to ask them to grab a drink.” I immediately knew that they understood that our relationship could go beyond a simple business engagement.
Then they went a step further and asked our account team to join them for a drink (and, notably, requested my absence). Because I know I’m usually the life of the party, I knew this was a conscious strategic move to develop a close relationship with their account team.
Strong relationships lead to growth
Through Kasey and Mike laying the groundwork for strong personal relationships with both myself and their account team, we’ve seen incredible growth for both of our organizations. This includes the following milestones:
- The Perfect Search team knocked our level of service out of the park. We built out 3 million keywords in a Google AdWords account in a matter of weeks and soon exceeded their KPI goals.
- I became a small investor in Packback, which only strengthened our relationship and further aligned our interests in success.
- One year after the initial engagement, frequent strategic introductions between Perfect Search and Packback add to the level of success for both our organizations.
Although we always provide stellar client service, there is a human element in everything we do. Our experience with Packback has proved to me once again how success goes hand-in-hand with strong, personal work relationships. It’s not about which direction a check is sent. By understanding Packback’s business goals and relaying our own, we created additional value from our respective networks. We root for the success of all our partners because our success is intertwined.
When Kasey and Mike asked to grab a drink all those months ago, it was more than just an opportunity to drink wine with great company. It was the beginning of a brilliant working relationship. Cheers, guys.
Do you have other tips for maintaining strong working relationships? What are your ping-pong stats? Comment in the section below, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet at us @perfect_search!