Talking with Potenial Clients (Part I)

The following list of questions is designed to lead the clients to where you can clearly tell whether they are really ready for the services you have to offer.

  1. Tell me a little about your business.
  2. How long have you been in business?
  3. What do you see happening in your business over the next 12 months?
  4. What challenges do you see coming in your business over the next year?
  5. Why did you get into this business?
  6. What's the best part of your business?
  7. What are some of the tasks in your business that you need to do that is taking you away from your clients, your family or time to yourself?
  8. What types oftasks could be slowing down or standing in the way of having more and happier clients in your business? (this is more direct and should only if you are not getting anywhere with the previous question… some people have trouble getting into the desired way of thinking).
  9. How are these tasks getting in the way of growing your business and your personal life?
  10. If you could get rid of these tasks and not have to worry about them, how would that affect your business and your personal life?
  11. If you didn't have to worry aboutgetting done, and you were able to, would that be of value to you?From this point on, how far you go will be strictly determined by the clients questions to you.

    If you promised not to try to sell them anything, you need to stop here, thank them and ask them if they could give you the names of three people who might be willing to also meet with you. If, on the other hand, they ask you what it is that you do, which most people will do out of just being polite, you can continue on a little further.

  12. Explain how yourservices work and relate it back to them, their needs, their pains and the pleasures they could get from having someone like you taking care of their needs. Be sure to always use the SAME WORDS that they used when talking to you as this will help them connect by feeling heard and understood.
  13. Check in with them to see if they are with you. Ask "Does this make sense?" and "Would that be valuable to someone like you?"--- NOTE: Notice that we haven't talked about any money yet? That's because you are selling them the feeling of relieving them of their pain and gaining the feeling of the pleasure they will get from hiring someone like you. People buy the feelings they will get, whether it is from purchasing a product or hiring someone to provide a service. That’s why we buy junk food, isn’t it? That’s why we go pay to see a movie about romance, action and even to get scared. When we get a haircut, it’s to feel better about ourselves. People buy expensive cars because of the feelings they associate with their car. They get married and have a family because they want to feel loved. People also pay to avoid pain. In fact, studies have shown that the optimal marketing strategy emphasizes 80% on how you can avoid pain and 20% on the pleasure you will get. Of course there are some exceptions to that rule of thumb.

    No matter what the question a client asks of you, always find a way to tie your answer back to their needs they previously expressed.

    Again, if you promised not to sell them anything, don’t go any further. The last thing you want to do is to lose their trust. Ask them for the referrals as described above and thank them for their time. Unless…

    If they ask you about your fees, you will know that this is something that would be valuable to them. Only then should you start talking about your fees.

  14. Ask "Is this something you would be interested in?". Don't wait for them to offer. 80% of people will not offer but will accept if asked. Even if they don't need you today, they can arrange to put down a deposit to secure a contract for your services for their busy season. If they agree, sign them up for your services on the spot. Have a contract handy. I don't remember exactly what the stats are but someone who doesn't sign up right away will be less likely to sign up later. The longer they wait, the less likely they are to just go for it.
  15. Ask them when they would like to get started. It may take them a few days to get the work ready to hand over to you. Take this opportunity to ensure that you are both on the same page about what is expected from each other. What will they be sending you and what they expect in return?

Once you get back to your office, send them an email or fax or mail them a letter thanking them for their time and include a reminder of when you will be contacting them next, and a written confirmation of any arrangements you made. Clarity is important if you are to have a happy customer.

95% of the time you spend together will be about them and they will be doing the talking. This is where you will be gathering the information to not only know when to market to them but also what services to market to them when the time is right. If you have questions about the timing, contact them and ask when would be the best time to contact people like them in that type of business.