Talking with Potenial Clients (Part II)
Sometimes a client will ask you about you before you get a chance to learn about them. Be honest. Let them know that you are in the process of establishing your __________ business and would like to ensure that it is built from the ground up to meet the needs of businesses like his/hers in the <specify clients industry>. Without giving them a chance to respond, continue on by asking if they would mind telling you about their business.
In this scenario, towards the end of the conversation, you could say something like “At the beginning of our conversation, you asked me about my business. Some of the ways I can see my services being a good fit for someone/a business like yours would be … and you continue. This is still within integrity of your promise not to sell them anything because they opened the door by asking you about your business. It was just a little earlier than expected.
This can also be a point where your experience at dealing with other people in the same industry can come in handy. By then hopefully you will have an idea of some of how you could fit in with their business and even be ready to ask questions like “how do you handle your marketing” or “how do you handle your contract renewals”… you know, some of the core common challenges. This can give you the credibility of appearing to be someone savvy about the client’s particular industry, someone who really understands him/her and their business.
If you are familiar with their business, you can even take the opportunity to make educated suggestions like "Have you ever thought of sending out thank you cards at the end of the snow blowing season and taking the opportunity to sign people up early before your competitors or advertising your summer business"… or something like that. "Have you ever thought of selling your products on eBay?" or you could even hook them up with someone else who would be useful to them.
By doing this, you are showing that you are more than just another person offeringservices and are genuinely interested in the success of their business.
Here are some common possible responses to a few typical objections. Build up your list of frequently asked question (and answers) and frequent objections and responses:
Question: What are you selling?
Answer: I am in the process of starting up an service. My intention here today is actually to learn about the, about how the business works, what are the busy times of the year, what are some of the challenges people in your business face, etc…. so that I can better position my business to meet the needs of businesses like yours.
Question: What are you offering?
Answer: While I do offer professional services and would love to have the opportunity to tell you about them, I didn't actually come today to offer you any specific services today. I would actually like to learn about…. Would you mind taking a few minutes to answer some of my questions?
Objection: I am not interested in what you offer.
Response: I am not calling you today to offer you anything. I am calling to actually learn about your, how it operates so that I can customize my services to better meet the specific needs of the. Could you spare about 20 minutes to tell me about your business and the?
Objection: Get lost (in some kind of polite way of course)
Response: I understand that you may not be interested in my services or in answering my questions. I respect you for your honesty. Would you be able to give me the names of three people who might be in a better position to possibly meet with me or who might be interested in my __________ services?
Of course you don’t want to push them to the point where you become annoying to them. Sometimes it’s just best to move on to the next call. If they absolutely said no, then thank them for their time and hang up. Feel grateful for being able to offer help to people like that and tell yourself, "I am one person closer to getting my next YES!".
Remember, when someone tells you they have no need for your services, whether they realize it or not, you can be pretty safe in assuming that they just have no need for your services "right now". Leave them with a good feeling, keep in touch with them, and they could end up being your best client or your most proactive Connector.
If they do agree to meet with you, at best, you end up with a client or a connector -- at worst you end up with a better understanding of their business and their industry; you may end up with some referrals and potentially a future client. Neither your time nor their time should ever be considered wasted time.