What’s Your Process? Q+A With Laura Lindorfer
It’s as simple as treating people like people
Account Director Laura Lindorfer shares her tips for forging solid client relationships
The most unbelievable thing Laura Lindorfer, Account Director at EPIC, will tell you is that growing up in Maple Grove, Minnesota, she was painfully shy. Bubbly and confident, Laura has an easy way about her that makes you think you met her at summer camp. Laura’s key responsibility at EPIC is managing and growing GE HealthCare accounts, and on a typical day, her calendar is packed with meetings. Here, she’ll spend time with clients, assessing their marketing challenges, identifying their goals, and proposing solutions. Laura is invested in her clients. So much so, that some consider her their dominant marketing hand. How has Laura, a relatively young talent in the industry, built the kind of client relationships that even senior executives dream of?
It starts with humanity
When questioned about being shy when she was younger, Laura just laughs and explains that she spent a lot of time focused on studying in high school. “It wasn’t so bad,” she laughs. “I ended up becoming valedictorian.”
So what changed? “Working in a coffee shop brought me out of my shell,” Laura explains. In college at Concordia in St. Paul, MN, while thinking maybe she’d become an accountant, Laura got a part-time job as a barista for Caribou Coffee. The shop was near downtown, and it was filled with regulars almost like its own community. “You really got to know the customers, she said. “You knew their names, their orders, and you knew about their wins and struggles in life.”
Laura says that she learned a valuable lesson at Caribou. “Many of our customers were going through a lot,” she says, “and I wanted to be a bright spot in their day.” In an effort to connect with them and begin building trust, she said she reminded herself of a simple truth. “You may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee), but you just have to treat people like people,” she says. “So that’s what I did.”
And that is what Laura continues to do. She says titles and seniority aside, every client is a person, and she remembers to treat them that way.
Be comfortable being uncomfortable
After switching her interests to marketing and then graduating from college, Laura then did a very cool thing. She took an internship in Australia for six months working for a non-profit business council. She had never been out of the U.S. before, and now she was setting up networking events in a foreign country. Here, Laura learned another great lesson she still applies today. “I had no idea where to start with some of the things I had to do,” she says. “So, I got really comfortable with being uncomfortable and then you just get to work.”
A great example of this is Laura leading EPIC’s efforts to assist GE HealthCare with the migration of their web pages to a new design platform. There were many unknowns in this endeavor but Laura had a lot of confidence in the talent at EPIC and in their ability to master new skills and come to the table with solutions for clients. She also knew that spending time with GE HealthCare’s web team was critical to be true partners to the business and its many stakeholders. In the end, the hard work has paid off. EPIC is considered a key partner in GE HealthCare’s web efforts and is often recommended within the company itself.
Eat a frog or two
As mentioned earlier, Laura’s calendar is full. However, she never seems stressed and comes off as incredibly organized. What’s her secret to staying on top of agency work? First Laura credits EPIC’s team of top-notch project managers, buttoned-up processes, and great tools like Workamajig, Trello, budget trackers, etc. But, she notes, processes and tools aren’t always enough. Laura explains that for her, keeping things moving is key, and sometimes we have to get scrappy and figure out a path forward together. “For me personally, I never want people waiting on me,” she says. “When the ball is in my court, I get on those tasks and get them off my plate to help others be able to keep moving.”
And what about tasks so daunting you just want to put them off? Laura laughs and shares some wisdom she learned here at EPIC. “Those daunting tasks are called frogs,” she says. “And yes, sometimes to keep things moving, you just have to close your eyes, scrunch your face, and eat the frog.”
Be the connector
Overseeing a large corporate account such as GE HealthCare can be challenging because there are so many players and different departments. But Laura has a strategy for that too. “They have a lot of arms that don’t always know what the others are doing,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for us to be that connection point, helping them stay informed about successes in other parts of the business and internal team collaborations that could enhance the overall story.”
If I can give the client a platform to be successful, that’s a win.
“And that means not being an order taker, but rather a very intentional strategic partner,” Laura explains. She notes that she is continually asking, “Tell me more,” when a client asks for a specific deliverable. “It’s my job to listen and figure out what they’re trying to achieve. Who are we targeting and what are their challenges? What does success look like? What channel mix and creative strategy can help us reach target customers and drive the desired action? And most importantly, how can we tie it all together into a powerful recommendation to drive momentum in a scalable way to fit the budget?”
“In the end, I don’t think of myself as being in sales,” Laura says. “If I can give the client a platform to be successful, that’s what I consider a win.”