How Community Managers Can Win Over the Negative Nancy
Alexandra Kruse

Being a great community manager means getting along with people, even the ones who don’t like you.

Here is a common scenario community managers face, as well as project managers; strategists; and, basically, anyone who interacts with other humans. For those who haven’t yet encountered this situation, you almost certainly will at some point in your career.

You scheduled a meeting and have been working diligently on your pitch. You are prepared and excited for the possibilities ahead. You know exactly how to help your client work better. The room is full of people. Some are smiling, others are checking their phones. But there is that one guy who is glaring at you. You know, the “Negative Nancy” type. Even with a room full of people, he is the one that you will most have to convince. That guy is the most important guy in the room.

He might not be paying the bill or making the final decision, but you know that if you can convince him to follow your advice, the rest of the team will be a breeze. As you continue with your presentation, you can feel the excitement. They get it, you are making sense and this is totally going to work. Until your “Negative Nancy” asks, ”Why should I listen to you? What makes you the expert?”

There’s a hush in the room; an air of anticipation among a group of strangers who are all waiting for you to respond. You can feel your stomach tighten and a part of you wants to back out. And then you think to yourself: It’s now or never. I will not back down. I will give it my all and know that I did my best.

Here are my tips on how to turn your Negative Nancy into a Positive Patty.

1: Demonstrate Your Value

Chances are this isn’t the first time you encountered a difficult client. Show your value by highlighting past projects that were a success. You are your own best advocate. Numbers are good; so are client testimonies. The more leverage you have, the easier it will be to convince others that you are the right person for the job.

2: Do Your Research

Prior to your meeting, get to know the client. With so many resources available, it shouldn’t be hard to find something useful. Knowledge really is power, particularly when it comes to client management. If you can talk about a specific problem your client is facing and provide a solution that could be implemented, you are one step closer to gaining their trust.

3: Be Confident

Enthusiasm is contagious and a positive attitude is your ally. Don’t let anyone pop your happy bubble. Clients like to see that you know what you’re talking about. Confidence is key in convincing skeptics that you are the right person for the job.

4: Have a Plan

Prepare a proposal on how you can achieve success. Provide multiple routes for your road to success. Let your client decide what will work best from them, but don’t let them leave without knowing that no matter what option they choose, you will be there to help them succeed.

5: Love Your Client

Become BFFs with your client. Get to know their hobbies and interests. Again, this all comes down to trust. The more your client knows that you truly care about them, the stronger your relationship will be.

Trust+happy client=long-lasting relationship.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Though it might take time to convince your Negative Nancy to invest in your knowledge, just getting them to consider it is a huge accomplishment. Have you ever had to deal with a Negative Nancy? How did you become their friend? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.