I mean, to me: My clients are my responsibility!
And if you set up your small business marketing like everybody else’s then YOU are deciding what the clients’ needs are and selling products and services that fulfill these needs.
Not that there is anything wrong with this approach at all…except for the fact that it is backwards.
Don’t feel bad!
It’s exactly the same approach that your competitors are using.
But if you want to turn the tables, and elevate and separate yourself from all the other options out there you need to SHUT UP AND LISTEN!
Do You Start Fixing Problems Before Clients Have Even Asked?
It may seem like a novel approach, but if you let your clients talk, they can tell you what they want fixed.
Unfortunately for so many of us source-matter-experts, we jump into problem-solving mode even before the client has shared their perspective…and what they want fixed.
Yes, it’s important to help your perfect clients see their own situations and troubles in fresh, revealing new ways.
And certainly, we like to think that finding a solution to a problem quickly is a necessary exercise for customer satisfaction.
But for many of us, we are so intent on showing we are the expert, that we are trampling the client in our rush to show how much we know.
And this approach kills sales conversion!
To Be A Successful Consultant, Stop Solving, Start Asking…
The first step is to SLOW DOWN!
Take a breath and start asking some questions.
- What is the client or prospect concerned about?
- How long has this need/concern/issue been going on?
- What have they done so far, and what results have they experienced?
- Would they like help solving the need/concern/issue?
If you want to differentiate your brand from others and help your products and services stand out in a crowded field, it is extremely important to understand your clients better than anyone else.
And that understanding starts AFTER you talk with them.
It is NOT based on your assumptions about what they need!
- Solving a problem that a client has not given their permission to treat is like telling someone you just met that you can HEAL them!
Yes, as an experienced professional, you may know what they NEED, but first find out what they WANT.
Once you understand their WANTS you can make smarter, more connected suggestions of how your products/services can solve a particular problem.
Hint: You Can Discover Unconsidered Wants
One of the added benefits of listening to your clients is that you may discover unmet “wants” that your products and services can fulfill.
Stop approaching client meetings as an opportunity to drive your solutions down their throats—no matter how well intentioned or how “smart” you think your brilliant expertise is.
First find out what your clients are looking for.
- What are their unmet desires that you may have missed?
- What are the everyday challenges faced by your clients?
- What are they hoping to solve?
- What things are they just “living” with?
Answer these questions and you’ll find a treasure trove of opportunity in relation to your products and services.
When you listen to your clients, you will discover the right problem to solve!
You will also be able to bring value to future selling efforts as well.
By slowing down and listening…I mean really listening, you can engage with your clients and prospects in creative ways.
Once you understand them, you’ll be able to speak their language and take a solution oriented approach that will inspire purchase motivation.
And you will soon have them preferring your approach over others!
Lucy M. Morgan, CPA, MBA