Reason #2 You’re Losing Sales
I get excited by solving client problems.
Can't help it. It's in my DNA somehow.
I bet it's in yours too.
It's what makes us good consultants, coaches, lawyers or whatever our profession is.
But it can also let us down when it comes to selling.
Does this sales meeting scenario ring a bell?
You build rapport with your potential client. You ask insightful questions. They talk about some of the challenges they're facing.
Bam! Your problem-solving skills kick in. You identify the root cause of their issues. Their eyes light up as you hit the right hot buttons. You've got the perfect solution for them.
They get interested. You talk about how you might work together. They get enthusiastic. They really want to proceed…
…then they ask how much.
You tell them your very reasonable fees – a fraction of what the solution is worth to them…
…and for some reason, it all falls apart.
You see, the problem is that your problem-solving skills kicked in too soon.
It's great to solve client problems. I have no qualms about giving them great advice and insight as part of the sales process. In fact I try to do so whenever possible.
But what I've learnt through painful experience is that if you jump to solutions before the client realises just how big their problem is – how much of an impact it truly has on their business – then you don't sell.
What's happening is that since you're an expert, you see straight away just how much that little morale problem actually damages productivity, staff retention and customer satisfaction.
You can take one look at their marketing and see how much money they're throwing away.
You can tell from a brief discussion about how they train their senior staff that their lack of leadership is impacting the company from top to bottom.
But they can't.
They're not an expert like you. So they just see a small problem with morale. They just think they need to beef up their marketing copy a bit.
They can't see how their dysfunctional leadership is damaging every aspect of their company.
And because they can't see this your reasonable fees look huge to them.
A sledgehammer to crack a nut.
You know the rest. Much gnashing of teeth and knotting of brows later they either do nothing, try to fix it themselves, or go with someone cheaper (who doesn't really understand the issue).
Two years later you bump into them and they still haven't fixed it.
So how do you avoid this lose-lose scenario?
Before you jump into problem-solving mode you must work with your potential client to explore the impact of the problem or opportunity they have.
Not just superficially – fully. The knock-on and contingent impacts too.
And you need to help them see the impact for themselves – not just tell them what it is. Ask them questions to help them figure it out.
In many ways, it's even more important than drilling into their problem. Once they've hired you, you can do further exploration of the problem. But if you don't fully explore the impact, you're not going to get hired.
Now I don't mean by this that you exaggerate or manipulate. If through your questioning you discover the problem isn't really a big issue then you say so and move on.
But since you're the expert and they're not, it's your duty to highlight when things are a bigger issue than they realise.
And it's crucial to getting the sale.
Next, I'll reveal reason #3. Or go here to jump ahead.