Today’s digital world has forever changed how companies operate, especially public relations and marketing agencies.
One of the biggest challenges we hear from the agency owners we work with at Agency Owner Lab is not just the struggle to gain clients but to retain them. PR and marketing budgets are typically the first to get cut. And competition for clients is increasing as more agencies start and expand.
The key to building a business and growing your client base is to focus on relationships.
When you add the personal aspect to business relationships, you’ll see a change in the way people talk to you, trust you, and appreciate the value you’re bringing.
The merge of personal and business is a fine line. And understanding how to blend the two is key. You want your client to feel comfortable enough to be honest with you and to come to you with issues so you can work them out together rather than being caught off guard. But you don’t want to cross the line into overly personal that you’re being forced to over deliver or worse, becoming their therapist.
Here are three things to keep in mind when it comes to building business relationships.
Know the Whole Chain
When it comes to retaining clients, especially larger companies with many team members, make sure you know the whole chain. Your day-to-day contact may not always be there, and if they are, they may not have a say in making the final decisions about money.
Save yourself the scramble and headache when a new day-to-day contact starts and wants a fresh start or to bring in a company they previously worked with. No matter how big the company, make sure they know who you are and the value you bring.
Just like consumers, companies and their decision-makers want to buy from and work with someone they trust, like and feel they can relate to. If they don’t feel they know you at all on a personal level, they may not feel a connection. This is where you need to find the line between personal and professional. Comfort and trust are key. A day will come when they wonder why you over someone cheaper or promising more? Make sure you prove your value and create an environment filled with trust and openness.
A Wider Reach Can Be Challenging
You would think technology made the lead generation process easier. The ability to send out as many emails as you want each day sounds promising but don’t forget, your competition has the same opportunity. Which means prospects are receiving more emails. I find myself digging out of at least 500 new emails per day across all of my accounts, so when something looks general and from a “bot” or copy and paste template with no relevance, it goes directly to the trash.
Even if you can’t fully customize every email you send to prospects, have a template that allows you to use language that represents you and the value you provide, and then do your research to customize where possible. Have templates per industry and service. Then add in specifics about each company, how you can specifically help based on what you see, and why you’d be a good fit. Do your homework and prove it.