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A candid letter to a marketing consultant who wants me to hire her

Dear Miss Marketing Consultant:

I witnessed the awesome work you did to help an entrepreneur friend of mine get her story in the newspapers, on the TV and on the radio recently. I’m very impressed with what you achieved. This is why I called you to see if you could meet with me. You see, I also have a great project around which I want to create a lot of media buzz.

I liked our first meeting. You asked a lot of questions, took many notes. I get your youthful enthusiasm and your love for what you can do for your clients.

But here is the problem. I feel a distance between us. At the end of our meeting, you said you would come back with a proposal outlining your process, with a couple of recommendations and a detailed quote. I expect that to create this proposal it would take some of your time (one or two days). I’m concerned about creating a situation where I might feel guilty about all the work you have done to date, and if I say no to moving forward now it will mean the end of any future relationship, and conversely if I say yes, I will lose control of my project.

I like you. I really do. And I want to find a way to incorporate you into my project, this baby of mine in which I have invested so much of my time, energy, money and emotion.

Which is why I decided to write this note to you, so you can understand my current state of mind and how I feel about the potential of us working together.

Please read these notes as simply my current thoughts, so you are aware of where we really stand.

– If I ask you to meet with me, it’s not necessarily to write a cheque to you right now. I’m curious to meet with you, judge your suitability, and see what you think about my project. Consider this a first date.

– Give me some ideas or point me to some resources right now to demonstrate your credibility. They don’t have to be the final answers, or even right ones. Be open with your ideas. I’m not paying for you to learn about me, or for you to demonstrate your ideas to me. I’ll pay (well) for the execution, for results.

– You asked me what is my budget for this project. I don’t know (and if I knew would I tell you at this stage of the relationship?) What is the magic number you are looking for? Of course I don’t want to pay for media. Tell me how you can make my investment in you pay for itself, plus a substantial return.

– I don’t want you to go away and come back with ideas. Co-create them with me, please!

– At this stage I’m not interested in a detailed report with a pretty cover and my name on the front. You’re wasting your time. Meet with me a couple of times, let’s brainstorm. Don’t worry, I’m not going to act on the ideas in your place, I’m too busy with what I’m working on. But I do want to have some kind of ownership stake in the process. After all, this is my baby we’re talking about.

– Don’t tell me what you’ll change, tell me what you like about my current branding/positioning/logo/name and what aspects could be retained or emphasized. Don’t make me throw away ten years of emotional equity in my business. I already know that I will reject any ideas for logos, names, that I have not participated in brainstorming with you.

– Don’t treat me as if I don’t know anything about marketing. (You’re not saying it, but there is a little bit of that tone in your approach). After all, I’ve been in business much longer than you have. What I like about you are your contacts and how you connect with them to get your client’s stories out.

– Ask me questions, check out my sites, have a couple of coffee dates with me before sending me a quote. Draw up some ideas, quick sketches or storyboards. Invest some time and effort in me. Schmooze me.

– Propose ideas that are in alignment with my approach to business. I’m not interested in Search Engine Optimization of my sites, I want to create an active Tribe around me. Do you know authors like Seth Godin, Michael Port, Tim Sanders, Tom Peters? Whose ideas inspire you?

– Teach me what I need to know, don’t make me dependent on you.

– Don’t ask me to send you my materials. Do as if you were to look for me. Give me feedback on how easy (or not) it is to find me, and what your impressions are (good as well as points to improve).

– Please don’t interpret a “no” as in forever. I want help, but I will act on my own time. The more accepting you are of my “no”, the sooner you will get a “yes”. It’s a paradox, but since we are dealing with affairs of the heart, that’s the way it goes.

I hope with these points you understand better the frame of mind that I’m in. I really want to make this work, I really do. Now do you want to sell your services to me, or become a long-term co-creating partner in a Big Project that is making a long-lasting impact in our community?

Sincerely yours


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