Are you selling Safety?
When you speak to your clients about your services do you tell them what you think they need to know about how great your service is? Or do you sell them what they are actually buying?
And do you even know the difference?
One of the main things that your client buys when they decide to work with you is, surprisingly, not your service or offering – that is important but it is secondary. What they are buying first and foremost is Safety.
Think about it. When your client first approaches you to discuss the possibility of working with you they usually already know something about what you do – they know you are an interior designer, or a business consultant, or a specialize in treating a particular illness. They may have met you networking, seen you speak or been referred. Chances are they’ve already had a browse of your website, or been on your mailing list for a while.
So they know what you do and they are hoping that you might be the answer to a problem that they have.
So what they are looking for is not whether you can provide that service – they already know what you do – what they are seeking is a feeling of Safety.
A client, regardless of what their position is in life, in relation to their problem they are vulnerable – and they are speaking to you because they perceive you as the expert.
They are vulnerable because working with you requires that they open up and share details of their life and business that perhaps they would rather not share. They are vulnerable because what if they pay you but they don’t get a return on their investment. What if you are not up to the job, or even worse, you mess up? What if you are not what you say you are and they end up looking foolish to their family or employees?
So, before you get to the details of their problem and how your service might be a match to that, you need to make them feel safe. Safe to have the sales conversation with you. Safe to put their problem in your hands as the expert.
There are a number of key ways to establish this feeling of safety.
Most importantly come across as confident and professional. Dress smartly, walk and hold yourself confidently. Be on time for your appointment. Take the lead in the conversation. Build rapport through showing an interest but asking fairly innocuous questions about their current situation. Lead them with compassion through the more vulnerable areas of the conversation. Share areas of common ground when you speak to them but don’t be over familiar or talk about your own personal problem. Remember, they are looking for an expert, for a solution, not a friend. Of course sometimes client relationships do develop into friendships, but that happens later.
Talk confidently about the solution and how you can help. And don’t falter or apologise when it comes to talking about price, scheduling and structure.
It is amazing how quickly a client can feel unsafe as soon as you show any signs of lack of solidity in any of these areas.
Remember, the client often comes to the sales conversation knowing what you do, and hoping that you have the solution to their problem. Your only job is to help make them feel safe enough to step forward and become your client.
With Love & Gratitude,