Are you giving them what they want?
If you’re a heart centred business owner the following scenario might feel familiar to you:
You are talking to a potential new client and they are telling you all about their problem and how they want things to be instead: This might be to lose weight, find a new job, start a business, find a man or make more money. Now, with all your training, experience and expertise, you know that although these things are what they want, what they actually need is something more. Something deeper and richer than these surface results, but that will ultimately bring them to the thing they really want. This might be to learn to love and nurture themselves, to learn to manage stress, or get the right business systems in place.
And because you see so clearly what they really need, it is so tempting to jumpstraight in with your solution, telling them exactly how you can help them. But the problem is your client doesn’t see it the way you do yet. They are fully immersed in the immediate problem – lets call it the “symptom” of a deeper issue – and so they end up feeling that you haven’t heard them at all. What’s going through their mind is “I want to lose weight not learn to accept my body, I’m going to find someone who can help me do that” or “I just want to make more money, why is she banging on about systems, I’ll get those when I’ve earned the money”.
Or sometimes the effect is more subtle and they are simply left without a clear sense that you really could be the solution – and if it’s not clear to them there and then during the conversation, I promise it will be even less clear after 2 days of “thinking about it”. The problem is that the potential client hasn’t yet made the connection between what they want and what they need. Sometimes you are able to help them make the connection during that initial sales conversation – and if you can, then do that. But very often you need them to commit to work with you on reaching the destination that they want to get to first, and once they are committed to that journey with you there will be plenty of time for you to work on solving the deeper issues underlying the surface problem. So my advice for during your sales conversations is very simple: Give them what they want, not what they need Because if you are to make your client feel heard, and feel that they can trust you, enough to commit to work with you, you need to be able to meet them right where they are, up to their eyelids in their problem and the reality of how that feels to them right now today. You need to show that you understand, that you “get” it, that you feel their pain, and that your work will help them to get to where they want to be.
Yes I know, some of you are wondering if this is a bit dishonest, doesn’t this ring of the manipulative sales approaches that you want to avoid?
Not at all, because when you really “get” this distinction this is when you really start to serve your client – because the truth is that if your client cannot make the connection between what they want and what you are offering, they will look elsewhere and you won’t get to help them at all.
This is why I’ve met so many struggling relationship coaches whose main focus is helping people to learn love themselves. When someone is lonely and isolated and desperate for love the last thing they want is to learn to love themselves. The most successful relationship coaches I know give the client what they need – their ‘promise’ is that they will help them meet a partner – but in the course of the work that they do they help the clients come to love themselves. Can you see why it’s the latter who get all the clients?
And neither do I mean you should lie to your client or promise what you can’t deliver. But it is important to take the time to listen and understand that client’s problem before you start talking in detail about what you do. That way you can wrap up your solution and present it in such a way that the client sees it as the gift they want to receive – while at the same time you know that wrapped up inside that package is the gift they really need to receive.
This is just one of the reasons why it is important to guide your client through a structured sales conversation. It helps you to ask the right questions, gather the right information and offer your solution in a way that deeply resonates with where the client is right now – when you start to do this you will find you get more clients almost effortlessly – and without being pushy.