It’s a Two-Way Street – 12 Questions to Ask A Potential PR or Social Marketing Client

I had a great meeting today with a business magazine publisher. A few things that he said to me during the meeting fell in line with this blog post that I had been planning for a while. Some of his comments included:

“You’re a great listener.”

“You don’t have that usual PR persona.”

“You are think and care about a lot more angles of business than I expected you to.”

I consider these compliments – and testaments to the way we approach not just business, but new business meetings. I’ve never been the PR person who sits at the conference table trying to out-talk the rest of the room. Some folks have commented that I seem a bit quiet, actually, for a PR executive – and you know why? I’m busy listening. I believe actions speak louder than words, and in order to prove our abilities, we need to listen first to align our actions later.

Listening is important – I’ve written about that plenty of times, especially as it pertains to branding, messaging and social marketing. However, as a PR or social media agency, you must first think about how you listen when approached by a prospective client. I’m always surprised when prospects say, “Wow, I hadn’t thought of that – good question.” So, in my humble opinion, here are twelve questions that any PR executive or agency should be asking a prospective client in order to understand their business and marketing needs, deliver a great proposal and determine if this is a company that you want to work with (remember, like any relationship, it’s a two-way street):

  1. Why are you looking for a new PR/social marketing partner?
  2. What has your history been in working with a PR/social media firm (or consultant)?
  3. What do you want to accomplish?
  4. How will you measure our success?
  5. What are your benchmark metrics?
  6. What other types of marketing do you do now or plan to do in the future?
  7. What has been your  most successful marketing effort to-date?
  8. Your least?
  9. Why did you join this company?
  10. If you could read one headline about your company today, what would it say – and where would it be?
  11. What are your top three business goals this year? Five years from now?
  12. How do you define “PR” (or, alternately, social media)?

Of course, these are just a few of the questions that we run through during initial interviews with prospects, but they are helpful in digging deeper and gauging how well a company knows who they are, where they are, who and where they want to be, and how they plan to get there. And, what they anticipate our role to be in doing so.

How do you determine what a prospect needs and if they are a potential fit for you as a client? Are you willing to share some of your best questions?

As always, thanks for reading!