We get it. A potential client reaches out and is ready to sign by the end of the first phone call. Easy new business, easy $... right? Nope! Slow down. We know it's exciting to have a great potential client call, but let's take a step back. Think of it as a first date with someone you met on Tinder. Your date was hot and paid for all of your drinks, but one background check shows that they’re batsh$t crazy! Let’s talk about red flags to watch out for when you’re looking for new business.
1. THEY’RE LOWBALLERS. If you’re a PR pro, negotiation isn’t anything new to you. There's nothing wrong with finding a middle-ground rate after expectations are discussed. Even if you’re in need of new business, don’t become a “name your price” agency and start letting people lowball you! What we do is much more than snapping our fingers and getting your brand's name on the front of a magazine. If a business is offering way below your rate, chances are they don’t see the value in what your firm has to offer. Sign clients who know your agency's worth and respect the work your team is putting in!
2. THEY’RE RUDE. Ghosting meetings, ignoring emails, and batsh%t demands. We might think that as PR pros that's just part of the business. You better have thick skin, but that doesn’t mean your client doesn’t owe you professionalism. Signing a client with a crappy attitude is something almost every firm has done and regretted. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re struggling not to burn a bridge. Remember, never EVER burn a bridge.
3. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: If you’re on an introductory call and the client starts blaming other firms for their own failures, you better be careful. “They didn’t get us any coverage,” or “Our sales didn’t increase,” are two sentences that should make you RUN for the hills. We know that when you spend your business's hard-earned money, you want immediate results. PR results are not measurable like sales are, so no matter how much blood, sweat, and tears your publicist is putting into your brand, there is no guarantee. Seasoned publicists want clients that have a handle on reality!
4. THEY DON’T TRUST YOU: Your first call with a client shouldn’t sound like they’re interviewing you. You have a kickass team that’s ready to work. Make it known! Clients should have questions, but they shouldn't be drilling you like this is your first day in PR. If they’re shooting down your ideas and your expertise, that’s a big red flag. Client feedback is important, but so is respect for your work! A successful client relationship requires RESPECT and TRUST.
5. THE VIBES WERE OFF: Just like a first date, if your gut is telling you something is off, you’re probably right. We're NOT saying to rule out a potential client just because you may have gotten rubbed the wrong way. Let’s stay professional here. We’re just saying that if your gut tells you that working with this client will be a nightmare, take a step back before signing them.
If you recognize any of these red flags in your meeting, it’s time to swipe left. Itching for new business? We’ve all been there. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and waiting for clients that are a good fit for your firm will save you from a future mess.
Think we could be a good match for your business? Take us out on a date and let’s talk about what we can do for your brand.