Lessons From Entourage: Managing Your Client’s Expectations

I was watching HBO’s Entourage over the weekend and came across the One Day in the Valley episode. In it, the fictional movie Aquaman is about to be released.

The star of the fictional film, Vincent Chase, expects it to have the greatest box office opening ever – topping the record set by Spiderman (real film). His agent, Ari Gold, is concerned that this will not happen and gets his manager, Eric, on the phone and expresses his concerns that Vince will be disappointed. Ari yells at E: “Manage your client’s expectations.”

As always in Entourage, everything works out in the end. Despite some deus ex machina events, the film opens to great reviews and crowds and achieves the largest box office weekend in history. The boys celebrate…the ending of every Entourage episode it seems!

This got me to thinking. Do we do a good job setting and managing our client’s expectations? I’m not talking about the blocking and tackling stuff like deadlines and deliverables. I’m talking about giving serious thought about the client experience, openly and honestly discussing expectations with the client and then managing to it. For example:

  • If we set the expectation we will be trusted advisers do we demonstrate a real interest in their business?
  • If our clients expect us to make it easy for them do we still send them burdensome administrative work like tax organizers?
  • If our clients expect fair and transparent fees are we doing so?

If we set good expectations with our clients and then manage to them accordingly, they will be more loyal and satisfied. It’s good business.