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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Aug 11, 2021


Today we talk about the challenges of working with difficult clients or just simply not getting the feedback you expected from the people you serve. Unfortunately, as service providers we can’t control the happiness of the people we serve. We can only control our own actions - the work we do and the way we respond. Our first tip is to try to be empathetic. It seems a bit cheesy and retaliation is definitely easier, but remember that you only know a small part of their story and that inner struggles from other parts of life often reflect into everything else. Another key character trait is confidence. Remember how your English teacher in high school would underline your mistakes in red and would not circle the good parts in green? At times, feedback from clients can be similar. Don’t get discouraged and as you grow, your confidence will too. Finally, remember to prioritize your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Because we work in the service business, the last person we think to serve is ourselves. This is toxic and can only lead to personal damage and damage to your agency.


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode: 


  • Empathy is the best superpower. No one likes dealing with rude people, but having a bit of empathy can make these challenging situations easier by giving you awareness into the possibility that their reaction may not be related to you at all. “If you feel like, I really need to set this person straight, you act in the opposite spirit”
  • Be confident in your work. Validation is at the core behind the dependence on a certain response, and it’s important to be able to self-validate based on your own bar for excellence. “As confidence in your ability grows, you are less swayed by what people say. It's like, I know I did a great job.” 
  • Boundaries and prioritizing your health are key. Often your clients, your team, and others’ health are placed above your own. In order to provide the highest quality service to others around you, your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health can not be placed at the bottom of the totem pole. The way you show up, greatly influences your ability to stay centered no matter what is thrown at you. “Put your own oxygen mask on first.”



For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:

About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from 2000-2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently, that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[0:05] Ken opens this week’s episode with a brief chat about the guys’ summer vacations.

[3:59] Ken begins today’s discussion about how to deal with clients who seem ungrateful or rude. “In the service industry sometimes you do a good job and someone's having a bad day or there's just a bad personality or whatever and that person's a jerk on the other side. And you can feel like garbage”

[5:42] Brad talks about the desire for positive feedback; especially for those with a pleaser personality in the service industry. “When you're in the service industry, you want positive feedback on a positive feedback loop. When you don't get that from a client, it's really difficult. It can make you feel depressed, it can make you feel like you're not doing a great job.” 

[8:25] Ken asks “How do you move to where you're happy with the job that you did no matter what?”

[10:26] Bob discusses the importance of prioritizing your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. “Put your own oxygen mask on first.” 

[16:35] Ken talks about the challenge of being intentional when prioritizing your personal health. “Be really intentional about those things.”

[19:18] Bob talks about the importance and power empathy has. “Empathy is a superpower.”

[20:25] Bob makes the point that no one “Gets up and says, I'm going to be a jerk and mean to everybody today”

[24:05] Ken talks about the balance that is required when leading your team through a challenging client situation.  

[26:09] Brad discusses two of the practical ways he and his team deal with these situations.

[28:27] Bob acknowledges that inner struggles often reflect into business and other aspects of life. “Yes, I will take ownership and responsibility if I've dropped the ball. But the way that person responds, engages, or the tone he sets is not about anything else than what's going on inside.”

[30:31] Brad talks about how cultural and communication differences can suggest dissatisfaction when that’s not the case.

[33:38] Brad tells a story about one of his experiences and how confidence in your work, no matter the client’s reaction, is important.

[38:21] Ken challenges listeners to act in the opposite spirit. “If you feel like, I really need to set this person straight, you act in the opposite spirit”

[39:10] Bob talks about how human connection is vital to promote empathy and communication. “Try to get in front of the person as much as possible, like get them in a room, talk it out.”

[46:33] Ken points out the importance of giving positive and negative feedback together to create a balance. “People can't go through life without any positive input.”