5 things your prospect needs to hear from you before she says “yes”
We’ve all been there at least once.
You connect with someone you just know would be a great client. You spend an hour talking to her, establishing what feels like a strong rapport and describing what you can do for her. You’re excited and psyched and…ultimately deflated when she says she “has to think about it” – which, as we all know, is really code for, “You haven’t yet convinced me you can provide the results I want.”
What the heck??
The problem in this situation is that, while you may have spent a good deal of time talking, you probably did not spend time saying what your prospect needed to hear in order to want to invest money in your services. And, unfortunately, that means you’ve wasted time and raised hopes only to see them dashed – for both the prospect and yourself.
So how do you avoid the aggravation and disappointment of leaving money on the table like this? You make sure you tell your prospect exactly what she’s hungry to hear, so that hiring you will be one of the easiest decisions she’s ever made.
Here are five absolute essentials to include in any prospect discussion.
Their problems + your solutions = mutual success.
1. “I’m confident I can help.”
As my friend and sales coach extraordinaire Pat Schuler says, “Your client is really buying your confidence.”
The reason your prospect is talking to you in the first place is that she doesn’t feel capable of getting the results she wants by herself. Why in the world would she work with someone who also seems incapable of generating the desired outcome? (Hint: She wouldn’t.)
So one of the most important things you can do to shift someone from “prospect” to “client” is to let her know you’re confident in your abilities to propel her forward toward her important goals.
- First of all, be clear in your own mind that you truly can help. This means not getting so excited about the prospect of additional revenues that you overstate your merits.
- Demonstrate why you’re confident by sharing examples of your successful work with other clients. (See also #2, below.)
- Make sure your vocal inflection and delivery are both confidence inspiring. In other words, let your voice drop at the end of statements, so you don’t sound as if you’re asking a question every time you say something; neither squeak (which can imply uncertainty) nor boom (which can imply overbearingness); be energetic, but not frenzied.
2. “I know where you’re coming from.”
Not only do you need to sound confident, but your prospect needs to feel confident in you. And one of the best ways for her to experience that sense of security and confidence is for you to demonstrate to her that you’ve been there, done that, handled that situation, solved that problem…in other words, that you’ve got the experience needed to get her where she wants to go.
One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is to intersperse success stories in my initial get-acquainted call with a prospect. It takes advance preparation, of course, but it’s really simple to do: I lead into each pain-related discovery question by telling a story about a client for whom I solved a problem caused by that same pain.
For example, when I want to find out what’s just not working right now in a prospect’s business, I’ll share the story of how I successfully worked with Ellen to identify where she was stuck, why she was stuck, and the action steps needed to un-stick her. I close by telling how Ellen is more successful as a result of our working together.
This success story serves several purposes:
- It demonstrates my experience and effectiveness.
- It increases my credibility.
- It assures the prospect that I know what I’m talking about, since I’ve solved similar problems for other entrepreneurs.
Use these stories (or scenarios, or case studies – whatever you’re comfortable calling them) to clearly demonstrate to your client that you’re going to be able to forge ahead in overcoming her roadblocks, not get bogged down right beside her.
3. “I’ve got your back.”
This is related to one of the biggest challenges faced by many entrepreneurs – trying to go it alone.
Think back to those times when you yourself were up to your adenoids in confusion, overwhelm, and/or frenzy. If you were able to find someone to take over some of the mountain of activities, or even just talk to, you know how much less stressful and impossible your situation seemed.
Likewise, your prospect wants to know that she can rely on you to show her a way – and give her a helping hand – out of the quicksand. She wants to able to know that, by entering into a powerful partnership with you, she’ll be in a much better position to kick some serious business butt.
4. “You’ll work hard, but you’ll have fun, too.”
This is an important two-part disclosure.
It’s essential to be up front about the “hard work” piece. The last thing you want is to sign on a client, then find out that you’re working harder on her success than she is. You can’t always proactively weed out those who are not willing to do the important but uncomfortable work; I’ve had to fire a couple clients after the fact when it turned out that they talked a good game but were actually more concerned with being comfortable than being successful.
As for the second part, I have a really strong bias in favor of fun (it always shows up in my top five whenever I complete a values-identification exercise). That’s why I include this as an important point to bring up to a prospect. Let’s face it: Aren’t you more willing to do the tough stuff if there are moments of light-hearted fun mixed in?
Letting a prospect know she’s going to be both challenged and energized can make her buying decision easier and more comfortable.
5. “Your life will be better for having worked with me.”
Now, I don’t actually say this in quite such a bald-faced manner, but I do make sure the prospect has a clear picture of the difference in the outcomes she can expect if she works with me rather than continues to huff and puff on her own.
This is the time to clamp your mouth shut about your processes, the features of your product or service, and all the myriad logical arguments you can muster to demonstrate your value.
Clamp. It. Shut.
Your prospect doesn’t care about “how” at this point. She cares about “what”: what burdens she can finally shed, and what successes she can experience that have so far been eluding her.
In other words, you want to paint two pictures: one that enables the prospect to really get into the pain of things not changing, and one that enables her to bliss out as she imagines what it will be like when you help her get out of her own way.
In fact, you’ll go one better than painting these pictures: You’ll ask her questions that enable her to paint her own pictures, using her own words to describe the pain of things not working right as well as the anticipated delight of getting the outcomes that are so important to her.
I’ve said it for years: You want to let the prospect know how working with you will make her life better. This is one of the most powerfully enticing ways to convert prospects to clients.
Have you realized you’re already covering most of these areas in your Discovery (get-acquainted) calls with prospects? Woohoo! Kudos to you.
Or are you still swamped in figuring out what makes you special, who to talk to, how to talk to them, where to find them? If that’s the case, I’ll bet I can help.
My specialty is slowing down entrepreneurs who are in a frenzy and goosing along those who are paralyzed by indecision – because both need and deserve to get better results than they’re currently getting.
Can I do this for you? Probably. But at this point we don’t know if that’s a good idea.
If you’ve been feeling itchy about wanting to see more results faster, let’s spend some time on the phone getting acquainted with each other. By asking and answering some questions, we’ll both be able to confidently decide if we’d do good work together.
It’s easy to set up that call: Just grab a spot on my calendar, and we’ll forge ahead.
(BTW, thanks to Daniel Lugo for posting the “yes” image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in marketing and tagged confidence, prospects. Bookmark the permalink.