Client Management For Nice People: Jaw-dropping client experiences (and how they changed us.)
Client Horror Stories

Transcription of Anthony Higman’s episode (That time your agency was hired only to prevent the partner who hired you from getting fired )

Transcription of Anthony Higman’s episode (That time your agency was hired only to prevent the partner who hired you from getting fired )

This article was based on Episode #13: Anthony Higman’s anthology of client horror stories, slowly cooked for us here by both our guest and Our Beloved Host, Morgan Friedman. Please watch the complete episode here!


Morgan (Host): Hey everyone, welcome to the latest edition of Client Horror Stories. And I’m excited to hear what I’m sure will be a fun, crazy story from my new friend, Anthony Higman. Great to have you here, Anthony.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Thank you, Morgan.  

Morgan (Host): Yeah, let’s jump right in. I love jumping into stories. Let’s go.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Awesome! I have a lot of great horror stories. This one will be about a local law firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It happened in the early days of the SMB team, which is the company I work for. I think it was the first year, and we had to work hard to get this client’s business done. So it was me and Bill, CEO of the SMB team,

Morgan (Host): I want to interrupt with a thought. I hadn’t realized it until you said it now. But working hard to get a particular client can be a risk factor. I have seen this pattern before. It seems like it’s part of the psychology of the people who are so picky and want so many things before you even start. They have such unrealistic expectations of everything. So, knowing nothing about your story, other than it was hard to get them. I’m already seeing Yellow Flag.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Yeah! I have some Red Flags in this story. I’ll point them out. Everyone gets a mixed bag of opportunities. I’ve also had awful experiences with people who signed up on the first call. It is like a coin flip. I never know if this person is a good client or a paying client? However, we had to work for a couple of calls on this one. And then Bill and I went out to their office in person on a Saturday, all suited and booted, ready to go and impress. We walked up to their office and, they were moving the office around. It was a bizarre situation. We ended up helping them move. So, this is how the experience started. 

In the previous calls, we discussed their needs, but the in-person meeting resulted in moving their office. But that’s fine as I’m a humble guy. I’ll do whatever. We were trying to get their business. So we sat down in this office with one of the key partners, talking about what we can do about technical details and targeting stuff. They had not done Google ads. As we spoke with one of the key partners, the other key partner came in. We introduced each other, but I got a weird vibe from him. 

We talked about Google My Business and all the usual stuff. He told us that their Google My Business got shut down because they distributed gift cards to paralegals and secretaries to generate Google My Business reviews. And secretaries were making them up to get this money. So, it was a second Red Flag. Their Google My Business shut down for incentivizing employees to give fake comments. But again, we were in our early years.

Morgan (Host): And also that behavior could be maliciousness, but it could also be cluelessness.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Exactly! We were only trying to get this client. We were trying to grow. I would say we had about 30 clients at the time. So, we ended up staying at his office probably for two hours; talking about digital marketing

Morgan (Host): And moving computers

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Yeah. We thought we’d leave, say goodbye, and then he would become a client a couple of days later. So, we started working and brought a ton of leads to the firm. They were all becoming cases. It was going great and, I love experiences where everything works out. Leads were coming in and, they were setting up cases. It is an example of a perfect experience.

Morgan (Host): This is Client Horror Stories. So, it’s probably too good to be true.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): There is a process of building trust and communication with your client. Back then, I was the account manager, managing their account. Every week, we’d check in on new ideas and talk about results. Everything was going well so far. So, about in a month…

Morgan (Host): I like how you timed your drink to build excitement.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): About a month in, he became a little bit less responsive than he had been in the beginning. But I did not think anything was weird at that point. Then out of the blue, the other partner, whom we had met briefly and got a weird feeling, called and asked us to shut everything down. I was confused as I was not communicating with this partner. 

Morgan (Host): It was out of the blue.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): So, he asked us to shut everything down. I was not sure what was going on. I wanted to talk to the other guy to get confirmation because he was the one who signed all the papers. He was our client, but I could not get in touch with him. Everything had been going great. They were signing up about 20 cases every two weeks which is a crazy amount of ad spend. So, I could not get in touch with the main guy, and the other guy told us to turn everything off. I tried to talk to the guy who reached out to get more information. I looked online at the law firm’s name. Suddenly it changed. 

Morgan (Host): Why?

Anthony Higman (interviewee): So, I looked upon the website of the law firm after he called. Our client was not on the website anymore. I was so confused about what was going on. I could not get in touch with him, and his phone was off. He was not on the website. And he had just been fine. It turned out later that it was his last-ditch effort to hire us to bring in the numbers, which he was supposed to hit. And he was hitting them right. He was hitting the numbers. 

Morgan (Host): Because of you!

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Yeah, I guess the other partners had given our client an ultimatum to hit some unrealistic numbers that nobody can achieve. They were trying to get rid of him. So it was a fascinating experience. And I know that’s not going to take an hour here, but it was worth sharing.

Morgan (Host): We can jump into another story. But before that, I like that these stories are short but sweet. As I mentioned before, the target market is a younger version of us, so I want to impart this lesson to all young listeners. I think there are a few valuable lessons that come from here. 

One of them is it’s crucial to understand your clients’ objectives. He told you that his goal was to get more clients. But he had another purpose which was to not get fired. So it is important to dig under to figure out what’s happening. They will give you one objective, but there is usually another secret one. It takes time for them to trust you before they’ll open up to you. If you had some relationship with him, he might have told you that it was his last-ditch effort. 

I think a second lesson from the story is it’s important to know not just the person that hired you but the decision-maker behind him as well, because if you had a relationship with that other person, potentially they could have praised you for doing a great job.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Well, it was quite political. The guy who hired us deferred to me as I couldn’t stay with the firm because I was the one who sided with him. If I hadn’t played that, I’d have tried it for the story from the other decision-maker. I could have remained a client, and it didn’t matter how good the results were because the trust was lost when I went towards this guy rather than listening to the other decision-maker.

Morgan (Host): Yeah. So I think another lesson there is that playing politics is inevitable in any organization.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): 100% true! Across all client relationships, the most crucial factor is trust, which is so important and unclear in this industry. One of the biggest things in every marketing agency out there is they always say; we can do this, we can do that. Clients don’t always know what to believe or how programs work, but we get a 1200% ROI. So it’s hard to gain that trust in a very untrustworthy industry where you can make anything look like anything.

Morgan (Host): I know, I agree with you. It is hard to build trust among multiple people in an organization.

Anthony Highman (interviewee): Alright, I’ll jump into another story. It was early days when we had just started. Our initial job was open to home services, finance, healthcare, and legal. The majority was legal, but we had a little bit of sprinkling of all the other clients. So this one was a Home Services client with roofing, contracting, all that kind of stuff. 

I had to drive to another state once a month to do an in-person meeting and reporting session. This guy was really intimidating. That’s how our relationship started. The back-story here is that he had already gone through this with another worker who had been let go. So it was like a transition. I was coming into this transition from the last Account Manager, which is always a turbulent experience.

Morgan (Host): Transitions are always turbulent. And I would add to that. There have been some clients where I discovered later that it’s not just they fired the guy before me. They had fired about eight people in a row over eight months. Sometimes, when you find too many problems, the problem is not the people you are hiring but you.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): So this was when we had let somebody go. So, not a different account manager for the SMB team.

Morgan (Host): Oh, Sorry, I misunderstood.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Cool. So, again, it was an internal transition on our end.

Morgan (Host): Got it. It is super turbulent.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): And, we had been working with this client for over a year. Everything was going well when I came in. Actually, I forgot to tell you there were two transitions at the SMB team.

Morgan (Host): My point does apply, but from his eyes.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): This is a great lesson. So yeah, he had gone through two people. There was a guy named Jason and a guy named Scott. We can say that a guy named account manager A and account manager B did good work with this guy before I worked with him. I was the third person in the project. I drove out to meet this very intimidating guy. I told him we got to do everything differently. The last guy had also said that, but it was the reality. 

Things change quickly in digital marketing. It was all manual, testing out automation with the first guy, then the second guy was all automation with broad match, and then I came in, and my experience is mostly no broad match, no automation back to manual. But this guy had been through three people. So his main pain point was this guy said, I got to do it this way. The next guy said, no, you’re doing it all wrong. Now you’re saying that guy was doing it all wrong. 

So I understood his point of view. Everybody was saying something different, and that’s not a good experience from a client’s side. It is a huge lesson there.

Morgan (Host): So let’s pause and talk about this lesson. Because I think it is a crucial lesson for younger agency owners and managers that constantly changing on your side gives the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s no process, and clients want to hire you for the process. In an ideal universe, when people change, the process remains the same. 

The reality is every account executive, or account manager has a different style, different preferences, and different experiences. And reconciling those with a consistent process for the client is one of the core challenges.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Oh, 100%. It was a huge turning point in the organization. Because he told us everything perfectly, he summed it up and said, This guy did it this way, and the other guy did it another way. There is no SMB team way, and it was a light bulb for us to produce an SMB team way. And we lost this client. 

So, the huge learning experience was that process needs to be consistent across the board because you cannot have guy A doing it one way, guy B doing it another way, and guy C doing it a completely different way. It’s the optics. Because of the optics, there will be some changes. One must follow a process across the board. So a huge, painful lesson, but it happened to be extremely important in our growth as an organization.

Morgan (Host): It was a great lesson. I would take that lesson a step further. And I would even incorporate this lesson into your marketing site. Why did people hire you, or anyone, even outside of digital marketing? There is a reason why people get hired; they have done the job before. If your previous results are great, you can do the same job for others. 

You must have a process as proof of your past successes. If you do not have a proper system, it means you completed previous projects either through luck or randomness. Only an effective process can let you recruit. That is why I think the marketing process is so important.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): 100% true! I totally agree with you. I was the third guy in, telling him that we got to do everything in a new way. He was open to my suggestions because I do have a lot of understanding of the ecosphere of digital marketing. Digital marketers should not be 100% engrossed in the program they’re working on but also be aware of what is happening on the periphery. Legislation changed a lot. I called it Big Tech Chess moves. 

The question is, where are these big companies moving their pieces? It’s crucial to understand what they are doing and how it affects my programs? And he obviously knew that I did have an understanding of the pieces. But it was also a very unique time. It was when local services ads had come into the market for roofers. There was a massive disruption. And I think people don’t really think about how disruptive change that is when Google changes how the search results page is shown. 

My previous method was to get to the top of Google’s search results page through manual bidding and making sure that I did it. And I had a lot of success in that way. So when local services ads came in, it changed the landscape. It was a turbulent time, and the results fluctuated. Additionally, if you don’t see that coming and don’t allocate the budget correctly, the results for a client will suffer. 

And that’s what happened to me, and I told him that the results dropped and tried to explain the atmosphere. As a digital marketer and client, I could see how I was blaming other things. A new feature came in, and my results dropped. But it seemed like I was deferring blame and making excuses.

Morgan (Host): I see.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): I saw the change, but my reason was not efficient from a client’s perspective. 

Morgan (Host): When you started at the same time, there was a change in the Google algorithm, which caused the results to drop. And as a result, you turned into the fall guy.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): It was a difficult spot for me to be in. I ended up not wanting to go to those meetings. We were making changes in real-time too. We’re trying to get all office locations up on local services ads, but I was one behind the eight ball. There was a change in the ecosphere, and I was in transition. So, I ended up really not wanting to go to meetings. 

I was trying to keep up results to the level they wanted, but I was getting nothing. I was still driving to the other state, going to the meetings, driving, taking the punches that were coming at me. It always seemed like I was deferring blame. In digital marketing, there is a lot we can control, but there is a lot that we cannot control. Do you know what I mean? Many times we are at the mercy of Google’s algorithm changes.

Morgan (Host): As much as we’re at the mercy of it, we can adjust to the changes. But that takes time. You cannot have a perfect strategy to deal with transition immediately. It takes a couple of months to figure out new SEO techniques. So, as a result, those couple of months will be hard. And again, it comes back to the point of having a high trust relationship with the client. 

In this case, you were the third guy, checking everything, so the trust wasn’t there. However, in an ideal universe, you could have spent a year building trust so that, when the algorithm changes, you’ll be more confident in the ability of the SMB team to adjust.

Anthony Highman (interviewee): 100% true! I feel like I was figuring it out. We were getting to the solution. The problems may be sorted out in two more months, but he canceled. Again, very painful lessons. I took all the punches as I was the punching bag. I was trying to explain. You indeed need a process to explain, but transitions are always a terminal point. So it was a perfect storm. I tried to weather it. And I think I was close to breaking through, but they canceled. 

Morgan (Host): Let’s do brainstorming for a second. There is a software development technique to solve the software developer version of this problem. I had someone working on software, and they quit, and no one else could read the code. A classic solution is through a strategy developed about 15 years ago, called pair programming, which is having two people work together. 

Not only does it make work faster, but also they can figure out problems, side by side, building them together. When one of them quits after a year, at least the other guy still knows the code. I wonder if there is a model that you could offer for an agency where you have two account managers for any account because as account managers rotate in and out, there will always be someone who knows the background. It might be an interesting point of differentiation for some agencies.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Oh, wow, that’s an excellent point. And this is what we are trying to do right now.

Morgan (Host): Oh, I think I have read your mind.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): It is very tough to achieve a perfect agency model. We’re experimenting right now, breaking it. Someone is assigned to talk to the client frequently, and someone is doing the technical work behind the scenes. We are experimenting with a hybrid tech client experience. So the client experience people are X account managers, and I am also knowledgeable of how it all works and can make changes or talk to the technical person about how the client is experiencing it and how we can merge things together. 

Morgan (Host): I have read your mind and love your ideas.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): They all have their own pros and cons. We initially worked with a model that went straight to technical account managers. It was more like an agent who could speak to them and accomplish everything behind the scenes. I think it’s rare to find those people. We had four of them at the start, and that’s how we grew with unicorns, doing everything. But it’s difficult to find such people as they are a rare breed. 

Generally, we have done a great job of finding unicorns and then combining their talents to make great things. People love talking to people about bigger terms, strategies, and ideas. It’s been pretty successful, but everything has got challenges.

Morgan (Host): Agreed. Your stories are short but sweet, and I like them.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Yeah, I got two more. You wanted to do one long, but sorry!

Morgan (Host): Up until now, it’s always been really one long deep dive. But your episode reminds me when we were kids, we would have an hour long TV shows. But every once in a while, they would do an episode of about 15 minutes. Like The Simpsons Halloween episodes, they would always have five-minute mini Halloween episodes. So, yours feel like I spent Halloween special.

Anthony Higman (interviewee):  There we go. Perfect!

Morgan (Host):  Let’s go for the next story. 

Anthony Higman (interviewee): I’m trying to decide which story I should go with. They are both similar because they were both started with the wrong expectations, another common problem in the industry. Since I act my point where everybody can, everyone says they can do it better than everyone else. We can get you a million clients; it doesn’t matter who you are; it is just not a reality. Ideally, the client needs to have enough business presence and marketing materials to ensure success. 

These two clients were sold against by somebody in the early days. Our worker was a great salesperson but did the worst job of describing the realities of digital marketing. In other words, the strategy we chose from the outset was not the right one, and how we implemented it was not the right one either.

Morgan (Host): It is a universal risk factor of having salesmen that are not experts in the subject itself.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): This is a huge lesson. This guy was experienced in legal work but not in digital marketing. He was doing really great in social media but didn’t understand the realities of Google or Google ads. They had a crazy geo-targeting strategy that was based on sound concepts, but it is not how Google Ads works. So I came in, and I was the account manager. 

I looked at this strategy and started scratching my head. I don’t think there was a chance of success, so I had to change that strategy, to make the project successful. I explained to them how Google Ads works. It was a bad starting point because the salesperson didn’t do better explaining.

Morgan (Host): It will emphasize at some point that ideally cells and the team that executes them should work hand in hand, but that’s hard to do in reality.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): So again, this is another one because of a transition. In most cases, the transition happened because I came in after somebody else had left. For example, this client had been working with us for like six months on a strategy that had not gotten them anywhere. And the legal market is a weird and unique kind of market. Lawyers are very busy with small businesses. 

Sometimes, people will sign up for something and never check in on it. It is a giant portion of the marketplace. As such, I would say that about 50% of marketing and legal departments that are really involved in their marketing want to talk to an account manager at least monthly, if not biweekly, to know what the strategy is. There’s another 50% that forgets that they signed up for marketing. If they get results, they will stay happy. As long as they’re not yelling or contacting you frequently, you know that you’re doing a good job.

Morgan (Host): Most industries or most clients have a moderate amount in the middle. However, it sounds like either you’re really checked-in or really checked out, depending on your experience.

Anthony Highman (interviewee):  Depending on the firm, if they have a marketing person, then that person will want to speak with you a lot. If they don’t, they fall more into that other 50%. So this guy had worked with us for six months on a strategy that wasn’t really getting anywhere, but he wasn’t frequently in communication; there was no yelling. Then, I came into the picture; introduced myself as the marketing guy. And I started to fix the account. 

The topic will veer into a couple of different areas because it touches on a couple of other industries where I have been in, where I came in and fixed the accounts, etc. So, I started fixing the pieces in the background, and it started working. Sometimes, people do not know how Google ads work. So, I started pulling the levers and clicking the parts to make it work. 

It started working, and they became intensely interested in how I did that. The attorney started getting very interested in why it was working. However, there is a caveat: Why did it not work for the previous six months?

Morgan (Host):  Oh, now it is going to be interesting.

Anthony Higman (interviewee):  Right. So, It was a bizarre situation. I had been in it previously, and I still don’t know how to solve this one. I’d love to hear your input on this. I actually worked for an agency; where we were doing car dealerships across the United States. And the same thing happened. I fixed the pieces, and the car agency place got two wonderful dealerships. 

They were amazed at the crazy amounts of traffic in the lead walk-ins, and we were selling more cars. And then, the question came in, what the hell are you doing? And why was this not being done previously? So, I had to go from that place because of this fact. 

Morgan (Host): Because even though it was working, they were unhappy that it had not been working for so long beforehand.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Yes. 100%. And I do not know how to solve that equation. I think it is a tough one because it is like a trust factor. They needed to trust me.

Morgan (Host): So, I’m just going to refund this with something I do. So this goes back to the point before SMT started developing processes because of that client. I might prevent this issue by doing something I do on my presses that I don’t consciously do. I emphasize and write in documents when I onboard a new client as part of the onboarding process. 

I also verbally communicate with them about strategies and reviews etc. They should be prepared for things to not work out and for strategic changes. So that when it does happen, It is less of a shock to them.

Anthony Higman (interviewee):  Right. Now we are doing more big strategic plays. But it is an exciting position to be in. You take over an account without those processes in play, change the results, and then have to explain better results, basically. It is pretty hard.

Morgan (Host):  Yeah, what is powerful about this story is that it is somewhat similar to earlier ones. It is not the results that clients are caring about. But, when the results get better, they become angry over previous employees. It was a loss of trust because now they think that the former employees did not care about the poor results.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Yeah, it is such a trust game. 100%. At the end of the day, it is all about clients’ trust and how he perceives behind-the-scenes things.

Morgan (Host): Yeah, and I think I think the reason why it’s tricky is that when you come into a new account, you need to very quickly ramp up their trust without making the previous guy look bad. And that is a difficult line to balance.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): It really is essential. In my case, I got him the best results. He was very interested in what we were doing. And this is another point of contention, trying to explain how Google Ads works to somebody who has no idea.

Morgan (Host): Is this the fourth story, or is this still the third? 

Anthony Higman (interviewee): That is so. Again, it all goes back to how the industry tells people what’s going on to how it really operates. It’d be a nuisance to try to explain things to somebody whose background is in something else. How this AI program will change all the marketing and how it works. And it is kind of complicated how Google Ads works. Do you agree with this?

Morgan (Host): I also think making anything successful is complicated

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Right, and explaining complex concepts to people who don’t understand marketing is also a challenge. I would explain why something was a certain way. But I couldn’t get it through to them to understand, and this client ensured that he would work with me for life. 

He was very interested to know everything. I couldn’t explain it to him or his marketing team clearly. There was always this back and forth kind of thing. They won’t understand why it is like this? I used to explain that, but I couldn’t get through to them; they canceled

Morgan (Host): By the way, my clients and other people I worked with within different contexts were like water and oil in terms of communication. In terms of SMB processes, as well as having different customer experience and account managers, and in general, it might be interesting to deploy an approach where each account manager or client experience manager has a very different communication style. 

It might be interesting to match a client up with the Client Experience Manager or account manager based on whether they have similar interests. So yeah, that was a long way toward success.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): It’s so funny that you’re touching on all these points that were like coming to us as an organization.

Morgan (Host): You’re taking your organization’s future.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Yeah, at these points. It’s very fascinating. Now we are labeling what type of client is this? And, and you’re right. It is very, very important. To also state here, we are talking about Client Horror Stories. We are all talking about cancellations, but I’ve had much more clients with incredible stories.

Morgan (Host): You’ve had zillions of great clients. I guess it’s just the 1% that are bad. It reminds me of the opening lines of the novel Anna Karenina‘s opening line; “Every happy family is happy in the same way. But every unhappy family is unhappy in a different way.” It reminds me of clients. Every happy client is not the same way. They sign up, start getting lots of clients and make lots of money. But it’s the unhappy ones that have this subtle complexity to them.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): Yeah. Huge point! From my experience, we tend to have three types of clients; there’s that first bucket where it’s the 50% of clients who don’t want to talk to you but are happy with the results. If something changes, they’ll reach out. If it stops working, I will reach out and say something, but they are the ones that I love the most. 

Morgan (Host): It is a lot of stress.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): There is another bucket of clients where if I’m doing a great job, they will only reach out if they’re unhappy about the job. There’s another bucket of clients who like to talk about big strategy. They’re the ones that are really into tech stuff. They know all about Google ads and how the ecosphere works. They’re interested in new technology. They are tech-savvy. They’re the 1/3 of that other half that talks. 

They check on us once a month to hear about new stuff. They’re very open and understandable about the ebbs and flows of digital marketing. Then there’s another bucket; who has no idea what the heck is going on. You can try to explain it in a way that makes sense to them. It develops a communication gap. The marketing people might work in a law firm way, but they try to bring it to the decision-maker, so you’re that go-between. 

We have to make the concepts understandable enough for a third party. But then you never know what gets lost in that mix, especially when you’re dealing with somebody who is dealing with another person. So it automatically develops a communication gap.

Morgan (Host): I fall into the third bucket of strategies that don’t solve the problems. But I help a little bit by sending out emails and creating documents intended for forwarding. I like writing documents knowing that the real decision-makers are there, so I don’t have to worry about the middleman messing things up. Put a document with the information to explain clearly.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): I did this with one of them. I wrote a few paragraphs in an email to that client who was really into fishing. I generally gear toward explaining all the technical things that I’m doing. I explained to him that we are fishing on these kinds of keywords, and these are the lakes that we were fishing in. 

I said, our bait is these buckets of keywords, and these billboards, for which we’re running display ads. I continued to use it and feed it to client experiences; how can you break it down in ways that are easy to understand, maybe to their hobbies, but on point to what we’re doing.

Morgan (Host): As a tangential note, I like that metaphor because you can carry it down like it was developed for you. It has often been difficult for me to explain the difference between a keyword and a search query. Everyone thinks they’re the same. You can use an easy fishing metaphor. My search query is one goldfish that I happen to catch when I go fishing for goldfish.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): I love that. So these are mostly my Client Horror Stories. Again, I think they all boil down to understanding, trust, and explaining in a way that anybody can understand. Every project comes with unique challenges. I love what I do, and I have learned from every client experience. I have lots of great relationships. 

The ones I love the most are the ones who can talk tech stuff and are excited about new things since they understand everything. But that’s just selfish on my part. Because there is just a level of understanding that is different across the board. Getting that balance is crucial, and I think that ties back to what you were saying about matching the right person with the right one. Good communication at the start is extremely powerful. 

Morgan (Host): This is a summary of all your stories, and one of the things I have learned from all the interviews I have done so far is that sometimes you can’t please every single customer. If you’re going to lose some battles, even though you did a great job coming into a messy situation or your firm is too young to have established processes yet, that’s a good learning experience for you. 

But sometimes, you need to let some houses burn down to learn how to become a good firefighter. And as a result, you may lose a little bit of sleep, but that would make you a better fighter firefighter.

Anthony Higman (interviewee): 100% true! You learn with every experience. I think the pain of losing a client is always hurtful at the moment. I always find it hard since I take them very personally. I always put myself to do my absolute best. I put a lot of thought into every client that we take on. As an account manager, I would look up everything I could find about that term on my couch after work. 

I’ve had great success in finding one quote somewhere, obscurely from three years ago, that sets my work apart from everybody else. When you put all of yourself into something, and it still ends up being canceled; because the timing doesn’t match up or whatever is wrong, I used to get personal, but you’re right. 

There’s no way you can keep everyone, but I think that pain from losing them has always led to improvement of some sort, especially for SMB, so that it doesn’t happen again in the future. Every loss helps us to grow, which is a great lesson.

Morgan (Host): Yeah, I agree with you 1000%, and I loved your very insightful lessons. Thank you for showing up. Let’s do an episode again to share more good stories. And thank you to everyone who made it to the end.


This article was based on Episode #13: Anthony Higman’s Story, please watch the complete episode here!