How to get Clients without being Pushy
At an event I was attending I got chatting with a lady sitting next to me and asked her “What do you do?”. Fifteen minutes later she hadn’t paused for breath and I was hemmed into a corner wondering how I could make my escape.
Along the same lines, I had a conversation with a financial advisor but I was too busy with a work project to proceed and asked her if I could get back to her later. Instead of respecting that she persisted in emailing me and my PA about going ahead – she even saw a Facebook post where I mentioned taking some time off and immediately contacted me on the grounds that I must have some free time now and could we speak?!
This is pushy-ness. It’s pushy because it feels intrusive – even if it isn’t uninvited.
And we all know how easy it is to come across as too pushy even when we don’t want to be.
But the thing is, what I see is that most heart-centred business owners go to such great lengths to avoid being pushy that they end up having the exact opposite effect. And in fact probably do more damage to their business in the process. (As a case in point, the financial advisor did get my business – because even though she’d annoyed me, when I was ready to go ahead she was the first person I thought of).
So please, if you think this might be you. If you think that in your efforts to not be pushy you might actually be losing out on clients then I want to encourage you:
- Be a little bolder, a little more courageous on behalf of your clients and your business
- Take more of a stand for those people who really need your help – after all if you don’t who will?
- Take a big deep breath and reach out to someone even if it makes you nervous (nerves aren’t bad, nerves are the fuel of a successful business).
If you really want to avoid coming across as pushy don’t shy away from clients altogether, instead I recommend the following
1. Rein in your passion
You are passionate about what you do. I know it. It’s why you trained in the thing you do, it’s why you left your job to pursue it full time. You know the impact it can have on people and it constantly frustrates you that more people are not aware of its value. So when you get a chance, even the tiniest window of opportunity, you just can’t help yourself. You’re not trying to get anyone to buy from you, but you just can’t help get carried away!
The problem is that although you mean well, the person you are talking to just hears “pushy”, their eyes glaze over, and they try, very politely, to back away from you.
So I recommend you rein in your passion a little and instead try this:
2. Use your Captivating Introduction
Get really clear on exactly who you work with and the results that you can help them achieve. Learn to articulate this in a very clear and compelling way (I call this a Captivating Introduction). When someone asks you what you do, state this Captivating Introduction. And then stop talking.
Pay attention to their response. Have their eyes just glazed over? Or do they look excited and tell you that their wife really needs to talk to you? Or maybe quip that they really need to work with you?
3. Play a little Hard to Get
In sales, as in dating, less is more. Hold back a little. Let the other person do some of the chasing. If your Captivating Introduction piques their interest they will ask you questions and that will give you the opportunity to tell them more. If they don’t ask they are probably not interested, so you may as well save your energy for someone who is.
4. Invite them to a Next Step
Just as you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on a first date, neither should you ask someone to buy from you on a first meeting. Depending on how the conversation is going you might invite them to have an exploratory conversation during the coming week. Or you might offer to send them some useful information for free. You might even say “it was lovely meeting you” and leave it at that. (Honestly, sometimes that is the most sensible thing you can do).
5. Lower Resistance
Regardless of where on the continuum a potential client is and this could be anywhere from:
“Hm, I like the sound of that and I could have an interest in that at some point in the future but not just yet”
“Oh, I’m looking for someone like you right now!”
It’s important that you let them know that they can explore possibilities with you without fear that you are going to be pushing them into anything or making them feel uncomfortable. This helps to lower their natural resistance (because nobody wants to be “sold to”) and helps them stay open to making the decision that is right for them.
5. Respect their time
If someone tells you they would love to speak further but this month isn’t a good time, don’t push on regardless. Let them know you understand, agree a convenient time to get back in touch, diarise it – and keep your word.
6. Let Go Gracefully
Finally, if someone isn’t showing an interest, then no matter how much you might perceive that they need your help, let them go. You would do far better to shift your energy on to someone who does want and need your services than waste it trying to convince someone who isn’t interested.
PS. I would love to know what you thought of this article so please comment below and let me know.