In one of our CEO Stars sessions, an ad agency owner brought up the point of how much relationships with clients have changed over the years.

There was a time when it was easy to become friends with your client and do some socializing. You had an opportunity to go beyond the working relationship to develop an emotional trust.

The lack of social interactions today, puts subliminal restrictions on the growth of agency-client trust.

How do you build a deeper trust that has longevity? How do you get inside a client’s heart and soul and in-touch with their feelings?

Imagine, if you could do that, how different and sustainable your agency-client working relationship would be.

With the challenge of getting inside the ‘protective walls’ of a client, here’s one question that I would always pose to the CEO or CMO that got me ‘inside their world’ –

‘What are your dreams?’

‘What are your dreams’ is a simple 4-word question that’s guaranteed to give you a 500-word answer.

Ask the question, then follow-up the client’s answer with a few more questions to confirm the dream. And then, express how much you love the dream.

At that point, you’re now inside the client’s heart and soul. You’ve just established a major victory for yourself.

Now, here’s the million-dollar next-step that ensures a trusting relationship: Offer to help your client achieve that dream in a way that nothing will ever get in the way.

Do you know what your clients dreams are?


Joel Cohen is the founder of CEO Stars – – a unique concept with a community of over 105 ad agency CEOs. Cohen is also the founder of Dreamland, USA – ‘An Imagineering Community’ – that helps leaders accomplish their ‘impossible.’