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Post originally written on 2/20/2020. Updated and audio added on 2/22/2023.
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In August of 2019, I made the transition from intern to full-time SEO associate. I was thrilled; I had worked hard and been rewarded with my first job in the digital marketing field. But then came a nerve-racking moment: I was assigned to multiple client accounts and told I would be making my introductions on the weekly next call. I was sweating bullets and worrying about how to establish trust and confidence when I’ve only been doing this job full-time for a couple of weeks.
Luckily, I had some experiences in introductions from previous jobs I was able to put to use and I am going to share those tips with you. From day one associates to senior managers, introductions can be scary, and they are extremely important to establishing confidence with your client so that they see you as a capable and competent partner; but, by following a few simple steps we can make sure that first impression counts.
Update Your Online Profiles
The work you are about to do for your client can lead to their promotion or lack thereof so you better believe they are going to do their homework on you. Make sure your LinkedIn and company profiles are up to date and reflect your current company and title. For those just starting off, your client might come out of the gate with a hard question like, how long have you been doing this job for? Make sure, to tell the truth, because you don’t want to start a relationship off with a lie. While it can be scary to say I’ve just started working here last month, there are plenty of ways to build confidence and show that you can handle the position. Now let’s get to it!
Show Your Value & Build Confidence With Your Client
During the introduction, my main goal was to let the client know that I had their back, but my problem was that I had only been doing this role for a couple of weeks. Luckily time at your current role isn’t the only way to show experience. The following steps can help anyone establish confidence with their client:
Do Research on Your Client
Know your client, their business, their industry, their competitors, get on Google, go to their website, read their company profile, core values, and mission statement. Also, research your point of contact if this is a new client, then go to their LinkedIn and conduct a Google search. If this is an existing client, ask to talk with those who have worked with them and find out what they like and don’t like, both professionally and personally. This will help you create a foundation from which you can build trust.
Find Common Connections
By knowing your client you can look for links both professionally and personally between yourself and them. Establishing connections between your world and theirs is key to building a relationship.
What’s In It for Me? (WIIFM)
Through those common connections, you will be able to go beyond your work history and calm anxiety caused by change; by answering the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) question. Even if you have years of experience, clients can still wonder if you’re right for their business. By showing you understand them and their business you can put those worries to ease in your introduction.
With your knowledge of the client and common connections established you are now ready to answer the WIIFM questions in your introductions. Here are a few examples from my experiences.
Overcoming a known lack of experience:
Example: “I’m a veteran of the Marine Corps and recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Marketing. I transitioned to the SEO Associate position after completing Seer’s summer internship program.”
Here I looked to highlight past accomplishments even if they were not heavy on the job description, this shows you can figure stuff out and get wins, which is what people care about.
Example: “I chose to work at Seer over other agencies because of their data-driven customer-first approach to digital marketing.”
I added this in for a client because our P.O.C. is very data-driven. I did my homework, established a connection. Also, I used the wording “I chose to work” which indirectly says while I’m new here numerous people saw the value I could bring to their team (that whole social proof thing really works).
Looking towards the future:
Example: “I’m excited to be on this account as I look forward to being able to combine the data generated by the PPC and Analytics teams to find SEO opportunities that drive quality traffic to your site.”
If you don’t have a lot of experience then change the conversation by delivering the WIIFM to the client. With my data-driven client, I wanted to not talk about my past and focus on what I was going to do for them. I used positive phrasing about the future using adjectives like “excited” and “look forward to” and combined that with what they care about (using big data to drive results). These simple phrases can really help set a positive mood for the conversation that follows.
Including personal experiences:
Example: “As a homeowner who’s hired professionals to install carpet and bamboo floors, I look forward to using my personal experiences to create content that addresses your customer’s pain points and helps guide them through their journey.”
Here I was working with a client in the flooring space and was going to be creating blog content for their site. I was able to use my personal experiences to supplement my work experiences.
Example: “I believe my non-traditional student background can bring a different perspective and create a well-rounded team.”
With my client being in the higher education space and knowing that non-traditional students are a subset they want to market to, I looked to highlight my personal experiences in this area. I also used the phrasing around how my different perspective can create a well-rounded team, being new isn’t bad as you can help bring a fresh outlook to a seasoned team.
Example: “As someone who grew up in Houston, I can really appreciate a product that protects you from the sun and mosquitos.”
Not everything has to be about what you’ve done on the job or in school. Here I highlighted to a client in the screening space my knowledge and appreciation of their industry by demonstrating that I had spent years living in one of their target markets.
Write Out Your Client Introduction
Now that you’ve done your research on your client and P.O.C., found connections between your life and their world, and thought about how those connections can bring value (answer the WIIFM) to the client it's time to start writing your introduction.
"Hello, John, my name is Sarah, and I am thrilled to be your dedicated point of contact here at Acme Marketing Solutions. With a deep understanding of the tech industry and your company's goal of expanding market reach, I am committed to crafting tailored digital marketing strategies that will drive website traffic, increase brand visibility, and ultimately boost customer engagement and conversions. I look forward to working closely with you and building a strong partnership based on trust, collaboration, and exceptional outcomes for Acme Marketing Solutions."
By following this guide you will be able to show that you are a well-rounded individual and help ease anxieties on the client-side; by demonstrating you understand their space, can overcome obstacles, and drive results.