Are your clients clueless?
I recently explored how developing clarity through contrast is a powerful way to super-charge your confidence, beef up your marketing messages, and stay sane. Have you gotten crystal clear on the real value you provide clients? Then here’s a big woohoo for you!
But maybe your clients aren’t as smart and proactive as you are. What if they’re still confused? Let’s face it: There’s a lot to be (potentially) confused about when you’re an entrepreneur:
- Are you getting in your own way? How?
- Is there a way you can be more efficient, effective, and productive? How?
- Should you pay for help in certain areas? If so, which? What should you be willing to invest?
- Who offers the kind of help you need? Who’s right for you? Why?
- What else don’t you know that you don’t even realize you don’t know?
While these are questions each business owner gets to answer for herself, there’s one key question you need to answer for her: “How can [YOUR NAME HERE] improve my results and make my life better?”
It’s not enough for you to know the answer to that question; you must ensure that your ideal client also knows it. If she doesn’t know what you can do for her, why should she invest her time and money with you? (Hint: She’ll decide she shouldn’t.)
Not all clients are created equal.
While it can be tempting, especially in the early days of your business, to feel that anyone with a pulse qualifies as a good prospect for you, this is a risky strategy for long-term growth. Even though you may be confident you can get the prospect un-stuck and propel her to success, it could cost you a lot of aggravation to work with her.
I recently had an interesting experience in this regard. At a women’s conference, I attended a break-out session where another participant kind of hijacked the presentation. I quickly noticed that she:
- rambled and showed a lack of mental organization when asking a question
- kept asking the same question in different ways, hoping to get an answer she liked better
- whined about people wanting to steal her business idea
- came across as well intentioned but truly clueless about what it means to be in business for oneself
While I was confident that I could help her get the traction she currently lacks, I was also clear that I didn’t particularly want to work with her. The vibes I was getting from her raised my suspicions that she had the potential to become a Client From Hell.
Fortunately, I’ve developed a terrific process for determining (1) whether I want to work with a particular prospect and (2) how much value I can provide. I get great results by using a get-acquainted call.
The version of the GAC I currently use grew out of one of my own strengths – asking questions – and incorporated input from two exceptional business coaches I’ve worked with, Fabienne Fredrickson and Pat Schuler. The result is a powerful tool for moving ideal clients from clueless to committed to working with me.
You can use the same process to make your own prospecting easier and more effective by using this three-part GAC:
- Setting the stage. This ensures both you and the prospect are on the same page when it comes to expectations about what the call will and won’t be.
- Qualifying the prospect. This enables you to decide whether she meets your criteria for the ideal client. (Remember: “Has a pulse” is a necessary but not sufficient criterion.)
- Identifying the prospect’s pain. This is the stage where you demonstrate she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know; you’ve shown other business owners how to handle the same challenge she’s facing; you’re confident you can get her un-stuck; and you and she could seriously kick business butt and create the outcomes that may have eluded her so far.
This same approach can make prospecting WAY easier and more effective for you:
- You have a replicable process you can use with every new prospect. No more time wasted re-inventing the wheel for every new prospect conversation; no more blown opportunities because you failed to make a powerful case for yourself; no more trusting to luck as a business-development strategy.
- You’re prepared to ask questions whose answers make it clear that, for the right client, you’re practically the answer to a prayer. Even if a prospect starts off completely clueless about how you can improve her lot in life, she’ll be very clear on your value by the time you’re done.
- You establish a strong foundation with the right clients and ward off energy-sucking relationships with the wrong clients.
Are you ready to start focusing more of your efforts on totally clued-in prospects? How can you see this GAC strategy improving your close ratio? Be sure to comment below, because inquiring minds want to know!
(By the way, thanks to Rebecca Selah for posting what she calls the “extremely candid picture of my family” in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in marketing and tagged business development, effectiveness. Bookmark the permalink.