New Clients: The First Conversation

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By: Sara Urquhart; Photos by Brooke Dennis and Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

You’ve been approached by a friend’s father to help move his business to Instagram. Easy peasy, right? 

Begin by having a conversation with your potential client to established desired outcomes. There’s a vast difference between hiring someone to set up your Twitter account and hiring someone to manage your Twitter account and your potential client might not know this. Though both are projects for which you could be hired, each comes with a different price tag and time commitment. 

Try to understand things from your potential client’s perspective. Likely, he has been hearing about social media, he knows he should be on it, he is feeling behind, he doesn’t know where to start and he is looking for answers. 

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First, during your meeting: LISTEN. Work to understand his concerns, his needs and his goals. He may begin with saying his company needs “help with social media,” which may be all he knows. Let him talk, take notes, ask relevant follow-up questions that will keep him talking and keep listening. You may have many ideas out of the gate but don’t share them, yet. 

The second step is to clarify what you can do for him. Take your time during this meeting to understand all his needs and how you can meet those needs. Explain the kinds of services that may apply to him. Explain the different services that you offer and talk about what kinds of price tags go with each service. With so many platforms to leverage, a company’s need for social media content may outgrow its ability to produce or manage it in-house. Fortunately, there are many, many ways businesses can partner with qualified social media influencers to impact brand messaging, visibility, marketing, customer interaction and sales. Establish expectations about different skills, responsibilities, accountability and price points. 

This is the perfect time to move to step number three: ask what kind of budget the client has for this project. Is his budget ongoing or one-time?  Once you know that, you can begin to narrow down how you can work together. Decide if the project is open ended. If not, what will completion entail? Make suggestions about the scope of what’s required for a project, and explore alternatives that might yield the same or better results. As the authority, you want him to trust your experience because you’ve worked in the social media space for years.

These early conversations about expertise, expectations and outcome establish the foundation for success. Watch for our upcoming posts about the many specific ways brands can use a social media influencer, from promotion and content creation to training and consulting. 

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