How to Build + Maintain a Strong Relationship with Your Reps
Strong relationships are the key to getting to the next level
No matter where you are in your career, strong relationships are the key to getting to the next level. Yet, many actors don’t invest energy into cultivating a deeper connection with their reps.
Here are a few tips to help you build build and maintain strong relationships with your team so you can feel confident and trust they’re working hard on your behalf. Whether you’re currently signed with agents and a manager or are looking to create new contacts, here are a few ways to foster a positive collaborative experience!
Assistants Are Your Best Friend
Trying to get through to a rep for a phone call or to set up a meeting? Their assistant, if they have one, is likely your first point of contact who happens to also have the power to move around their schedule and basically be your best friend. If you gain their trust, they have the ability to provide you with some insight and access into the inner workings of the office. Invite them out to lunch or coffee, include them whenever you swing by the office to drop off goodies, and, if they don’t seem too busy, spend a few minutes chatting and catching up so you get to know them on a personal level.
Know Everyone’s Birthdays
Yes, everyone’s. This includes the assistants.
I once emailed one of my reps with an ask on their birthday without saying happy birthday because I didn’t know it was their birthday. I am an asshole. Don’t be like me. Look up your reps’ birthdays on Facebook if it’s available. If not, ask their assistants or ask them directly. Don’t worry about spending a bunch of money on expensive gifts. Just send them something thoughtful. DoorDash them a birthday lunch, take them out for a drink sometime during their birthday week, or just send them an email saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOU LOOK YOUNGER EVERY YEAR!!
Know Their Hobbies and Interests
Take this tip from someone who’s sat through a countless number of corporate interviews and rep meetings- the way to be memorable is to talk about anything besides work.
So, take the time to do some social media sleuthing to learn what interests (outside the industry) your reps have. Whenever you’re together, Make a memorable impression by shifting the mood in the room with your presence- keep the conversation fun and lighthearted and they’ll forget they’re still at work. Ask them about things that make them happy- their hobbies, family, interests. This knowledge will also come in handy when you bring gifts for birthdays, holidays, as a thank you, to say congratulations, or just because.
Do Holiday Drop-Ins Around Thanksgiving
Once it hits the second week of December, as agent and manager offices get ready to close for the holidays, it can be mass chaos as clients come in to drop off holiday gifts and get in a little face time before network pilot season. With so many clients coming and going within the span of a couple days or weeks, it can be easy to get lost in the mix. Who brought what gifts for whom? Who’s going where for vacation? Conversations are rushed and repetitive.
To prevent this, I suggest dropping in for the holidays in November versus December, if possible. “The holidays” technically start with Thanksgiving. And what more appropriate time to stop in and give thanks than around the holiday specifically set aside to give thanks? It’s less crowded, and reps will likely have more time to chat with you one-on-one without being pulled away with the arrival of another client during holiday open office hours.
Or maybe you can pick another favorite holiday at a totally different time of year to drop in. Remember what I said earlier about building trust with the assistant? National Assistant’s Day is in April… just sayin’.
Know Their Preferred Communication Style
Another thing to discuss during your initial meeting is their preferred mode and frequency of contact with clients. Some reps want to chat on the phone about your life every week, some only reach out to communicate bookings. Some like email, some want to sit down in person, it’s impossible to gauge so make sure to get clarify on their preferences upfront.
Use a Compliment Sandwich
When asking for something or delivering a piece of feedback that could be taken negatively, a compliment sandwich is as useful tool. Sandwich that piece of feedback or that ask in between two positive, complimentary statements about things that are working or that they are doing well. This softens the message without changing it, and prevents feedback from being received in a harsher way than intended, fostering more productive communication between you and your team.
Be Thoughtful and Considerate
To your team, and to people in your life in general! So you don’t gain a reputation as the client who only reaches out when you want something, I recommend periodically emailing your reps without an ask.
Just simply, “I saw this online yesterday and thought of you!” or just dropping in occasionally when you’re in the neighborhood for a (super) quick chat. Remember to be respectful of their time, but also show that you’re thinking of them and ways to make their day better!
Reach out once in a while with a value-add but no ask, and I guarantee you’ll stand out from the pack! Just don’t spam their inboxes too often. Use your discretion and take their preferred communication frequency into consideration!
Reps are part of a team that you’ve built so you can optimize profits as a business together. Treat them like the valued, respected coworkers they are and even if it doesn’t ultimately work out in a business sense, you’ll maintain a positive interpersonal relationship that could play out for your career down the line!