You lead the world in client attraction, client acquisition, and client retention.
A prospective client has made an appointment with you.
I am invited to watch and take notes.
These are those notes:
- In your first meeting with a prospective client, always have a white board or a pad of those giant “stickie notes” to write on. Bring your own colored markers.
- If you are in their facility instead of your own, begin by asking if you can hang one of the 25 x 30 inch sheets somewhere so that you can make some notes and illustrate what you hope to achieve.
- When the sheet is secure on the wall, say, “I appreciate that you took the time to meet with me today. I was once told that bad advertising is about you… your products and your services. Good advertising is about the customer, and how your products and services will make their lives better and happier. In that spirit, I want to NOT talk about me today. Instead, I want to answer, in plain language, all your questions and concerns about [INSERT THE NAME OF THE TOPIC IN WHICH YOU ARE EXPERT.] My goal isn’t to tell you what I can do for you. My goal is to demonstrate what I can do for you. I want to give you the solutions to every problem and every frustration you face. I want to give you the answers to every question you have about [INSERT THE NAME OF THE TOPIC IN WHICH YOU ARE EXPERT.] All I need you to do is name those questions for me.” And then write 1. in the upper left corner of your giant stickie note as you say, “Number one,” and then turn to the client, and smile, and wait.
- Write down each thing they say and then read it back to them.
- Resist the temptation to comment on what they say! Do not begin a discussion. Just write down each of their questions and say,
“Awesome. Can you think of anything else?”
“Thank you. Can you think of anything else?”
“Excellent! Can you think of anything else?”
- When they can think of nothing else they would like to know, turn and look at their list. Study it for a few moments.
- With a different color marker cross out each of the numbers, “1. 2. 3. 4.” etc, and then write “1” next to the question that you have chosen to answer first. Write “2.” next to the question you want to answer second.
- When you have renumbered their questions, tackle them in the order that you have chosen. When you feel you have answered a question sufficiently, ask “Shall we talk about this some more, or is it okay to move on?” When they tell you that it’s okay to move on, draw a line through that question to indicate that it has been dealt with.
- As the prospective client sees each of their questions crossed off the list, they will have a strong feeling of “Organized Progress Toward Goal.” And if your answers were good, they will conclude that you are the most competent expert they have ever met.
- When all their questions have been answered and you have explained exactly what they need to do to achieve all their goals and objectives, sit down at the table across from them and ask, “Where would you like to go from here? What would you like to talk about next?”
If you do this correctly, you will have talked only about their questions and their goals and their objectives. You will have said nothing about what makes you better than your competition.
Don’t talk about yourself. Talk about them, their needs, their questions, their goals and objectives. Don’t have a sales pitch. Have solutions.
The objective of this exercise is to gain a clear understanding of what the client wants, and then to make an honest evaluation about whether or not you are the right person to help them.
This is not a sales technique. You are just giving away a free sample of your advice.
If you are truly an expert, the customer will know.
And if you are not, the customer will know.
Roy H. Williams
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