You can’t make me!


You’ve heard children say to their siblings – and sometimes even their parents – “You can’t make me!” Childish and defiant, right?

Allow prospects to choose you.And yet haven’t you, a mature and self-assured entrepreneur, implicitly said the same thing when someone tried to sell you on their product or service?

You can’t make me!

And you’re absolutely right.

No one can truly make you do anything in business; that’s true whether you’re the buyer or the seller. However, when you’re wearing your seller’s hat, you can certainly make it easy for your prospect to want to buy from you – if you keep in mind some basic behavioral principles.

People love buying and hate being sold.

The reason this has become a cliché is because it’s so true. Nobody likes to feel that they’re being coerced, controlled, manipulated, bullied, or harangued into making a purchase. However, everyone enjoys basking in the warm, fuzzy emotions they experience when they feel they’ve gotten excellent value for their money. So make it easy for them to feel they were savvy to hire you.

They want to be confident their purchase will create a terrific experience for them.

If your clients feel that your product or service makes their lives significantly better or easier or more profitable, they will naturally feel, as one of my favorite clients does, that “I can’t afford NOT to work with you.” You get to figure out what their pain is and whether your products and services can do an excellent job of relieving that pain.

And if what you offer is not right for the prospect, you’ll be laying the groundwork for future referrals and good karma by telling the prospect you’re not a good fit. You might lose out on revenue from that particular prospect, but you’ll build enormous goodwill and turn that prospect into a person who has confidence in your integrity.


When prospects clearly see your value, they’ll want to buy.


It’s your responsibility, as the seller, to close off any emotional loopholes that may lead to buyer’s remorse.

This is the classic case of addressing objections before the prospect becomes mired in them. You naturally don’t do this through rote formulas, “yes, but..” responses, or glossing over their concerns. Instead, you authentically and thoroughly address their concerns in a straightforward manner, even before they think to voice those concerns themselves.

This is one of the great advantages of having a rock-solid understanding of your ideal clients: By knowing them inside and out, you know what’s likely to cause them concern, and you can essentially preempt those concerns through the process of qualifying your ideal prospects, helping them articulate the pain they’re experiencing, and demonstrating how you can offer them relief from that pain.

If the prospect feels the solution you offer will effectively address her pain, she’ll be putty in your hands. (I mean that in a good way.)

A buyer only feels they’ve been taken advantage of if they don’t get what they hoped for and expected. If you deliver just what you said you would, got them the results they were craving, and made life easier on them in the process, they won’t mind even if they pay a premium for your help. You only have to think back to a time when you had a professional change the oil in your car to know exactly what I mean.

Remember your prospect wants you to follow Eliza Doolittle’s advice.

You’re probably familiar with Eliza Doolittle, a character in the musical My Fair Lady who is “transformed” from a Cockney flower girl into a cultured lady, due exclusively (to hear him tell the story) to the efforts of Professor Henry Higgins.

Good ol’ Henry spends hours and hours training Eliza to get rid of her Cockney accent and speak in a more posh tone. Eliza gets tired of all the words, many of which have no significance in her real world, that come flying at her day in and day out. She finally snaps (but in a genteel fashion) and points out that words are all well and good, but actions speak far louder:

“Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words; I get words all day through. Show me! Never do I ever want to hear another word; say one more word and I’ll scream. Show me now!”

This is great advice for the entrepreneur who’s ready to stop struggling with sales. Demonstrate your value!

One terrific way to do this is by sharing client success stories in your marketing – and yes, this does include getting your raving fans to write you testimonials and recommendations. (I addressed an efficient, effective, and painless way to get killer testimonials in an earlier post.)

Another way to demonstrate your value – one of my favorites – is to let prospects sample what you have to offer. For example, whenever I speak at an event, I put a lot of effort into effectively and authentically demonstrating my style and my problem-solving skills:

When you back off the talk-talk-talk and start letting your actions and outcomes speak for themselves, it’s much easier for prospective buyers to feel confident about hiring you.


What’s been your experience in presenting yourself in such a way that it’s a no-brainer for the prospect to decide to hire you? How do you allow prospects to buy from you, rather than try to force a sale on them?

Or is this whole idea of “create a process that makes it easy for my ideal prospect to buy from me” just another item on your Too Much To Do list that you haven’t gotten around to yet? If so, I have some ideas on that.

My specialty is showing entrepreneurs how to cut through the mental clutter and focus on the important activities that will actually create the outcomes they want. I’m certainly not the right fit for every prospect, nor is every prospect the right fit for me – but I’m always interested in finding out if there is a good fit between us.

How ‘bout you? Are you curious as to whether you and I could do good work together? I make it easy and safe for both of us to explore that possibility: We simply get acquainted by phone. After we’ve had the chance to ask and answer questions, we’ll both be confident we’ve made the right decision – whatever that turns out to be.

So if that get-acquainted call sounds like a good idea, get the ball rolling by calling me at 319-270-1214 with times you’re available to talk. Or you can send those times to me in an email with “I know you can’t make me….” in the subject line. We’ll set up a time to talk and see what’s what.

(By the way, thanks to Joseph Kranak for posting the image of the stubborn woman in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)

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