Operating a business with tangible goods would sure be an awesome thing right now. Selling can openers to cooks and showing them that it "opens cans at a kick ass rate" would just be sweet on a day like today.
When dealing with SEO and Social Media, our two go to services, we are loving getting our point across to prospective clients. You see, organic results on Google are never guaranteed and results cannot be truly duplicated. A Social Media "project" or "campaign" cannot be replicated to the same success either. I cannot make another Chocolate Rain video work the same way the original did.
Beyond convincing them to spend money on a medium that was never in their sight, nonetheless their budget, is convincing them that it is "them" that has to be authentic and create compelling content. We can only be the tour guide, you have to get out of the Jeep and take the pictures.
At the end of the day, we as consultants have to showcase the value and return for these clients and how it all factors into keeping clients, finding new ones and getting people into their doors and drinking the kool-aid. So how do we do that?
When I go into a client meeting, I shut up and listen to the problems, strengths, beliefs, values, economic conditions, clientèle perception and anything else I can get my greedy ears to listen to.
No techie talk
This is a business you are talking to. One that wants to make money so they can feed their families and keep the office open for a long time to come. They don't give 2 craps about what software you have, what language you code in and how spiders crawl into their site. They care about how that stuff is going to affect all the stuff I listened for when I walked in the door.
I take everything I listened to, and apply the stuff in my brain that our business can accomplish and relate it to their business in terms they can understand. By knowing their search traffic is disappearing 40% a month and online sales have hit rock bottom I know its time to relate new ways of doing old tricks. The thing they did well are failing them and we need to look at how their customers are searching now online. Have them moved to social communities? Are they using larger eCommerce sites? Are they looking for new keywords or phrases that were not in the initial campaign plans?
By relating their pains, problems and strengths, we can then put value to our service based business. That value is the reassurance that after a few weeks of grinding, producing content and becoming better members of their niche community, not only will their see their business come back, but the customers they serve will become advocates and create additional business through recommendations, WOM, blog posts of their own and general good will.
In a recent Cone study it read that:
56% of people believe that a company is providing them with a better service by interacting with them on a social media site.That's value. A better service from a brand through interaction.
It works for us, it works for community, it will work for you. Listen, Talk and Relate. Pretty simple stuff if you ask me.