I think I know what you want from our business relationship. After all, I have asked you lots of questions during the sales process, and I have asked you directly, "What do you want from our business relationship?" That's a great start. Now I have a good idea how to deliver the inbound marketing results that will "delight you," as everyone says these days. But what about me? How are you going to delight me as we build this relationship and reach your goals? Here are some of my favorite ways. You might be my favorite customer if...
Simple enough. A request for help doesn't signify weakness or ignorance on your part. It's just an acknowledgment that you don't have all the answers and you trust that I can help. You hired me for that, after all, so if I were you, I would ask early and often. Your requests will help me tailor our strategy and solutions to deliver what's most important to you or at least help me identify the areas we need to explain better. A good (common) example? "Hey John, what's up with SEO these days? I sense we are doing this wrong, but I have no idea how or what we should do. Can you help?" Now we're talking. If instead you say to me, "I want to rank No. 1 for X, Y, and Z keywords, what are you going to do to get me there?"—Houston, we have a problem.
I know you're busy. That's why you hired us to be your inbound marketing agency. But when you study the results we present at each review meeting, dive into the analytics and ask penetrating questions, now you really have my attention. Here's the thing. If my team knows you're engaged, really engaged, they're going to do everything possible to exceed your lofty expectations. I know, they're supposed to do that anyway, but it really helps to have a customer that cares about how we get there, not just getting there.
I don't mind when a prospect asks me to summarize who we are and what we do. You should do that. If a sales person or executive can't give you a short, coherent answer, then the rest of the conversation is likely to be a waste of time. On the other hand, if you haven't bothered to do your homework on me and my company, I'm going to find out pretty quickly, and yes, I will call you out. I'm going to ask you why we're having this conversation (if you contacted us) and how you found out about us. I want to know your goals and interests, and I want to know why you see us as a fit. This is what I call a "two-way conversation." If you're asking me for a sales pitch alone, forget about it.
We're busy, too. We want to delight you, but we aren't looking to be order-takers. We provide much more value as trusted advisors and experienced inbound marketers. If we start off on that footing, we should stay on that footing. Let's treat each other as partners and respect each other's time and priorities. We're going to get the job done for you, but we're not too excited about receiving demands by email and voice mail every 5 minutes. This thing's going to go well if we respect each other's space.
I'm sorry your last marketing agency engagement was a disaster, but that's not our fault. We're not them, and you shouldn't assume otherwise. Now, let's move forward. Let's set some specific goals and go get them. Let's measure the right marketing KPIs and evaluate our progress frequently. We know you've been burned in the past, but we will earn your trust if you will just give us a chance. Let's agree on expectations for both of us, and if, for some reason, we (or you) fail to live up to those expectations, I'm going to be the first to raise my hand, but you should feel free to do so, as well.
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With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. Connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.