Recently someone contacted me about getting involved with my filmmakers podcast Crossing the 180. He asked me something to the effect, “I don’t know if you’re still doing your podcast, but…”
Okay, let’s stop and percolate on that for a while. “I don’t know if you’re still doing your podcast, but…” I thought to myself, “Really?! You want to be on my podcast and get that exposure, and you can’t even take 5 minutes to see if I still do it? Not to mention that it’s obvious you don’t even listen to it.” What does that immediately tell me? He was basically just interested in promoting himself and really could care less about the podcast.
That got me thinking about the importance of getting to know your prospects before you do business with them. Before you ask someone to make an investment in you, you need to show them that you are willing to make an investment (in time) to know a little about them. I don’t care if you shoot weddings, bar mitzvahs or commercials. Every client wants to know that you are invested in their project. Invested mentally, artistically, and where applicable, emotionally. The same goes for if you’re in the job market looking to get hired by a company. Do your homework!
- Website. Start here. This is a no-brainer. Read their “about” page. Look at their products and services. Look for ways in which you can contribute to their success.
- Social media. Just about everyone nowadays has a Facebook page and Twitter account. Check them out. What kind of things have they been tweeting about lately? Is it their birthday? Are you already connected to them via a mutual Facebook friend? Do they have videos on YouTube that can give you more insight?
- LinkedIn. Most companies and managers also have some kind of LinkedIn profile. Check that out too. What is their work history? Do you share something in common that could be fodder for “small talk” as you get to know them?
- Google ‘em. Find out what else has been written about this company and/or person. You can not only find out things that will help you provide better service, but you may discover things that may even aid in your negotiation? Is competition stirring up in their industry you should know about? Are they a multi-millionaire socialite in your city you didn’t even know existed? Did they just make a $2 million donation to some charity? All that info is good to know before negotiating.
- Ask. Lastly, ask them about what they’re looking for. What are their goals and objectives? What are their hopes and dreams? How did they find you? And it should go without saying that if you land the gig, continue to learn about their needs via meetings, e-mail, phone calls, etc. I send all of my clients a form to fill out that has a series of questions about their objectives, branding, etc.
In today’s globally connected, social media-crazed world, there is no reason why you shouldn’t go into a conversation with a potential client knowing as much about them as the FBI would know. (Well, maybe not as much, but you get the idea).
What other ideas do you have for getting the 4-1-1 on a prospect before meeting/speaking with them?