Every interaction you have with a potential client is critical if you want to establish a good relationship and eventually get the account. I firmly believe that you should value your input and expertise and charge for it adequately (I have blogged about it here.) However, I also believe that with each exchange with a promising new account you should find a way to add value in a way that cements in the other person’s mind the need for your services. Here’ s how I do it.
I listen to their story. No matter what field of work you are in, people do business with other people and not just faceless entities. In order to be able to offer help, you need to know what’s important to the person you’re talking to, not only what’s needed in his or her business. These are often two different things. Sometimes you have to bridge the gap between what people “think” they need and their true needs. I use to assume that people knew what they needed and quickly tried to connect what I did with their needs. I didn’t work. I came across as an overly eager sales guy. You even know what they need, always listen and try to figure out what your audience’s hot buttons truly are.
I scratch their itch. I have heard many times “I need a better website.” While that might be true, that, most likely, is not his primary need. Often business and ministries need a better digital strategy in order to drive the specs for a great website. I start where they are and hopefully help them see where they need to be. There’s nothing more powerful than asking questions in order to get people thinking about their assumptions. “Ultimately, what do you want this website to do that’s not currently doing?”
I give them the unexpected. That’s where you can make the most impact and where your experience and expertise can pay the most dividends during sales. Phrases like “In my experience, I have seen this type of results. . . ” or “have you consider this type of action? It has worked well for . . . “. These “freemiums” of consulting have helped me close deals. It communicates to my soon-to-be client that I can bring fresh and innovative ideas to the table and that she needs me and my team on her court.
How are you at closing deals?