First published on http://www.mediaupdate.co.za in July 2015
Clinching new clients brings in revenue and is therefore an integral part of any business. When it comes to the public relations industry, practitioners need to constantly be looking for new leads, because the more clients a PR company has, the bigger and better their reputation stands to be.
By Remy Raitt
Lucinda Boddy the managing director and part owner of Livewired says often clients come to them. “Clients normally seek us out, however we feel that seeking out new business is one of the most important aspects of running a business and should be a priority.” She says making these new connections is, at times, overlooked. “Unfortunately new business is often slightly neglected as you get caught up in current clients.”
The power of word of mouth
Judith Middleton the CEO of Duo Marketing and Communications says they are fortunate as most of their clients are a result of referrals from existing clients. Good news travels fast, plus, good work will be seen through the PRs interactions with the public on their client’s behalf.
And if current clients aren’t sharing their satisfaction organically, PR Couture recommends joining a referral group. “Essentially, it’s a group of professionals who agree to refer each other business.”
Use the internet
“In the past 90% of our clients found us through word of mouth, now a good chunk come from our digital assets,” says Middleton. Having a strong online presence means those on the hunt for public relations services will swiftly find the company they need. Social media channels, an easy-to-use, website and profiles on industry websites are also beneficial.
Middleton also recommends sharing what people have said about you on your digital platforms. “It’s good to have testimonials and case studies,” she says.
Keep opportunities top of mind
PR Couture suggests setting up a wall of reminders and intentions using company logos. “Just seeing those logos day in and day out keeps them top of mind for employees. When partners or prospective clients come in for a meeting, they get a clear picture of our current list as well as a clear understanding of the types of clients we are looking for.”
Meet potential clients
Once contact has been and the client’s interest has been piqued PR practitioners should set up a meeting. “The most important thing to do is to meet face-to-face with the potential client in order to fully understand what they are looking for,” says Boddy. “Once we have met with them we then put together a high level PR proposal and quote.”
It’s important to show, not tell. “You seal the deal through evidential proof of your commercial impact. This proof is what often clinches the deal,” says Middleton.
PR practitioners, are in essence, sales people, so they should be able to convince clients that their services will be beneficial. Boddy says it’s important to tailor each pitch to cover specific client’s needs. “We don’t do blanket presentations and we try and target each client as much as we can by doing research and getting to know them as much as we can prior to presenting.”
Once the deal has been sealed, new clients must be kept in the loop. Boddy says this can be done by “communicating often and by being passionate about their brand or offering”. Middleton says that maintenance is paramount and the PRs must set hard goals and report back often as “it’s all about output and value”.
Are you a PR practitioner? How do you clinch new clients?