By Lisa Hester, Senior Account Manager
So often we talk about how our job as PR practitioners is to gain the consumer’s trust in our client. And yes, that’s absolutely a key responsibility. But as we work with our clients, and particularly as we seek to gain new clients, our responsibility, first and foremost, is to gain the client’s trust in us. That can be challenge enough in any environment. But with the level of mistrust that prevails today…in news, in business…with each other…trust may not be as easy to come by as it once may have been.
So how do you gain that client’s trust? Of course it’s never as easy as simply saying “you can trust me.” These days, it can be the most untrustworthy person who utters these words. So instead, you have to show the client you can be trusted.
Start this process (and it is a process) well before the first meeting by learning as much as you can about the client, their business, their workings, their industry, their competitors. Then, in the first meeting, engage with them. Show that you know them..and that you care. Ask specific questions to understand them better. Listen.
Then show the client you were listening. Develop a PR plan that is tailored to their needs. Make it insightful, inventive and on target with the client’s goals.
The role of the PR professional is not, however, to be a “yes man.” Our role is to provide counsel. That means that there may be times when we don’t agree with the client’s thinking. If you disagree, state your case calmly and thoroughly with well-founded reasoning and with confidence. Help them to understand why you don’t agree. And offer a solution.
And always, always be respectful, sincere and accountable.
Finally, keep a pulse on the client’s business and activities. Think outside of the box about ways you can help them achieve their goals. It’s fine to suggest things that they may not even have considered yet….whether PR-related or otherwise. By demonstrating a constant interest in the client and the work they do, you are earning their trust every day.
In summary, win your client’s trust by putting their best interest in mind, by doing what you say you will do and ask great questions that show you not only know them, but you care about them, as well.
At Rountree Group, our promise to our clients is all of that and, especially, “no surprises.” And we mean it. Let us begin earning your trust today. Contact us for information about how we can support your company’s endeavors. Please give us a call at 770-645-4545 or email Don@rountreegroup.com.