Are your Clients Feeling Heard?
One of the most important gifts you can give your client during a sales conversation is to let them feel heard. But are you letting your client – and your business – down in your eagerness to help and serve?
As you know, I recommend that you develop connection with your client and get to understand what has drawn them to approach you by asking them questions during step 2 and step 3 of “The 7 Steps to Yes!” sales conversation to encourage them to open up and tell you more about the problem or frustration that has drawn them to speak to you in the first place.
But especially if you work with a particular niche and target market that client might only have to talk for about 90 seconds before – You’ve got it! You hear them! You speak to people like this all the time! You are so excited because you know you can help them! So you jump in and start telling them about all the ways that you can help them and the details of your programme and offer.
But all that has happened is that YOU have decided that you and the client are a good fit. For the client to decide to work with you THEY must also come to that conclusion. And you haven’t given them the opportunity to do that. So anything you say now feels like persuasion on your part, not to mention an invalidation of the problem they were just starting to open up and share.
There are 3 reasons why it is important to let your client feel heard:
Firstly, you have just encouraged your client to open up and tell you more about what has brought them to you. Now you might be seeing these same problems and patterns day in day out. But to your client their problems and pain are unique to them, and when you jump in with – being a bit cheeky – your “premature solution” what happens is instead of feeling relieved that “at last, here is the help I need” what they feel is brushed aside and invalidated and maybe even silly or embarrassed right when they’d been ready to open up and be vulnerable.
Believing you can Help
Secondly, if they don’t fully feel heard then your client actually won’t actually engage in listening to you talk about all the amazing ways in which you can help them. Instead while you are describing how you can help they will be thinking quietly to themselves: “But how do you know you can help me? You don’t really understand what’s going on for me yet. I’m not convinced.” In other words, they don’t feel you “get” then.
So honour their story and let them get it out. If they feel you have really ‘heard’ them they will be so much more receptive to hearing how you can help.
Giving them the Help then Need
Finally, if you assume you know where your client is at without fully listening to them you run the risk of actually presenting your solution in a way that doesn’t fully resonate with them. Or maybe even presenting the wrong solution altogether. It might be that your standard programme isn’t the right thing for this client, but you do have other ways of working with them that you could have offered – if only you’d taken the time to really understand what they need.
So even when you can quickly and clearly see what is going on for your client and know that you can help them it’s important that you rein in your passion, zip up your lips (think Zippy from Rainbow – if you remember him?) and let them talk until they have felt heard.
Then they will know that you really “get” them and what they are going through. And when you explain how you can help they will experience that “sigh out” feeling of relief that they have finally found you. And be so much more likely to say a resounding “Yes please!” when you ask if they want to get started.