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Corporate Video: Getting Your Clients to Commit

Rebecca Case

Get your clients to spend money on corporate video… and have them feel good about it.

All images from Shutterstock

As the contemporary landscape of our industry shifts, more and more of us find ourselves in front of corporate clients. No matter what market you’re in, if you’re trying to make money in this space, you’re likely supplementing your income with corporate video jobs (or relying on them completely).

As creatives, we’ve dedicated most of our time to developing our technical skills for on-set or in-post.  We’ve learned to be better shooters, editors, or animators and have not typically learned how to be sales-minded business people. But without learning how to sell video (and yourself), your technical talents will be wasted as you’ll have no clients to do work for.

There are dozens of proven sales processes out there and they all share similarities. Here are some of the basic steps for a getting a client to commit to a corporate video project:

Corporate Video Proposal Step 1: Build Rapport

Corporate Video: Step One - Build Rapport

No matter what you’re selling, you need the person in front of you to like you. You may have heard it before but, “people buy from people they like.” If you want to get hired, you’ll need to establish trust and make them comfortable with you.

Whenever possible, proposing or developing corporate video projects, it’s best to have these conversations face-to-face. Being able to see and interpret body language and their environment can help inform you about how to talk to them. Also, being in the room with you will make them more willing to listen to what you have to say. Creating a corporate video is a collaboration that requires buy-in from all involved in the production process.

Also, and this is important, make sure (before you ever set up your appointment) that you are talking to the decision maker. If this is not the person who has the power to hire you, you’re wasting your time. One easy way to find this out is to ask, “Besides yourself, is there any one else we need to talk to or get input from? Should we ask them to join us?”

Mark Suster, a columnist at Inc., calls this the “Champion” sales methodology. Do what it takes to build a healthy rapport with someone who will champion your project.

The person who drives through the approval to give your company the go ahead (and secure the budget)… A champion is somebody with both “influence” and “authority.”

Corporate Video Proposal Step 2: Problem Solving

Corporate Video: Step Two - Problem Solving

Conventional sales training usually implores you to find your client’s biggest problem, sometimes referred to as their “pain”. What keeps them up at night? If you can solve that problem for them using your product or service, then closing the business is a snap.

For example, if they own a factory and the production line is down because of a broken part, it would be relatively easy to get them to buy a replacement part from you. You’re putting them back in business!

However, with corporate video, it’s not always as black and white as that. Generally, you’re solving a less defined form of pain. They think they need video, but they don’t really know what they’re missing by not having it. It’s your goal to show them what that is.

Ask them what their competitors are doing with video. Ask them if video could help potential customers get excited about their product or, if their product is complicated, help people to simply understand it. Ask them if corporate video could help standardize and reduce costs for their employee training.

And then ask them, “What happens if you do nothing?” Help them see that not having video to help them communicate is their problem and you are there to solve it.

Corporate Video Proposal Step 3: Budget

Corporate Video: Step Three - Budget

Get comfortable talking about money. Most of us are raised being taught that talking about money is inappropriate or in bad taste. However, when you are trying to get a client to buy video services from you, you have to forget all that. You are not being rude because you are asking how much money they have to spend. You’re trying to help them using the appropriate resources.

They will have a budget for this corporate video project – it may be written in stone or it may be number in somebody’s head, but either way you need to find out that number. 

Once you know what they are willing to spend and what their vision is for the final product, you can craft the scope of work around that. You know what your time is worth and how much it will cost to hire a crew, talent, and equipment or other resources. Know their budget and you can work backwards from there.

It will also help you have a conversation about expectations. Explain to them that with a budget of A, it means you can provide B. If they want C, they’ll need to look at increasing their budget to D.

Having open and candid conversations with them about the end result, and what it will take to get there, will help build trust and will help you avoid surprises or disappointments.

Corporate Video Proposal Step 4: Follow-Up

Corporate Video: Step Four - Follow-Up

Your next step will likely be to put together a formal proposal or service agreement for them.  Try to follow up within 24 hours of your meeting with them. You need to get them to “sign on the dotted line” while they are still excited about you and the possibilities video can have for them. If possible, try to provide a sense of urgency (“We probably don’t want to wait to start this project, because…”).

Most importantly, get a clear commitment of the next steps. The longer they sit on your proposal, the more likely that they’ll forget about it or move on to something else. When you send the proposal, ask for a timeline on their decision and promise to follow-up again. It’s your job to hold them accountable. 

And last of all, show how excited you are to work with them. Be earnest in your desire to do the work and remind them of the benefits corporate video will provide. Eddie Justo of Creative Cow points out the SEO advantage offered by corporate video, a benefit definitely worth pointing out to your client:

Of all the searches that are made on all the Search engines, the highest percentage of the results will be of the videos. Top results of any organic searches will be of video adverts and this means that video adverts will always rank high in the search engines. Therefore, there is a possibility of your video being viewed by many people as it keeps on popping up in many searches. This will definitely increase the traffic on your site and there is a huge probability of improving the sales.

Video is a powerful medium and probably something you really enjoy creating. Look at every project as an opportunity for a new experience and every prospect as a potential life-long client.

Here are some additional resources for sales training and talking about the benefits of video:

Got any tips on sealing the deal? Let us know your methods in the comments below!

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