Meredith Jacobson, influencer marketing consultant and founder of We Are Boosters
If you want to attract high-paying clients, it pays to patiently play the long game. Think marathon, not 100-meter dash.
“Building a valuable community is not for the impatient. It is a lifelong journey,” said Meredith Jacobson, a consultant in the influencer marketing industry, during a phone interview.
She said while there’s nothing wrong with identifying and pursuing someone that you want in your circle, it’s important not to treat people like prospects. If you only reach out to someone when you need something, it diminishes the value of the relationship.
“When someone adds me on LinkedIn and immediately jumps into their sales pitch, I assume that they’re not interested in building a genuine relationship, and I’m just part of a numbers game for them,” said Jacobson.
Jacobson is the founder of We Are Boosters, a community of freelance influencer marketers. She has curated a community of over 50 freelance influencer marketing professionals, including those responsible for crafting and executing programs for brands such as Sephora Collection, Nespresso, and Netflix. As a freelancer in the influencer space herself, Jacobson has supported influencer programs for Sonic, Live Nation, and Ovia Health.
Here is her four-step formula for relationship success:
Step 1: Nurture existing relationships while consistently building new ones.
Step 2: Identify their needs and your opportunities.
Step 3: Lean into your strengths and their needs.
Step 4: Diversify when possible.
“Once you’ve earned people’s trust, it’s safe to approach them respectfully to explore the possibility of collaborating on a business opportunity,” added Jacobson.
Like Jacobson, in my opinion clarity trumps cleverness. Everyone is so busy today you need to cut through the clutter. Here are some of Jacobsen’s tips:
Be up front. “Nobody wants to feel tricked or manipulated into a conversation about business,” said Jacobson. “If you have a pitch, ask them if they’d be open to hearing about it, rather than just jumping straight in. If they say no, respect it and move on—don’t plead with them or act desperate.”
Be clear and specific with how you envision their support. “If you’re looking for someone to hire you, lead with your strengths, rationale for why you’re the right fit for the opportunity and explain how your process works,” advised Jacobson. “If you’re looking for them to help introduce you to other people, be specific about the types of people you’re looking to meet as your target customer.”
When you’re building a referral network, be clear about how you’re monetizing. “If you do end up needing to charge for something that was previously free, consider grandfathering in existing members of your community, be transparent with them ahead of the changes, and make sure the value that you’re offering them is significant enough to keep them engaged,” said Jacobson.
Keep it brief. “Less is more in an initial conversation,” added Jacobson. “Start with a quick gut check to gauge their interest, and once they’ve confirmed, be prepared to follow up with more detail.”
Jacobson offered a final piece of advice.
“Your relationships will be much stronger if you set appropriate boundaries and know when to turn down opportunities that are not the right fit,” she advised. “You will earn more respect and more future opportunities from your relationships when you stay true to your strengths.”