When it comes to persuading a prospective client to buy your services, it ultimately comes down to two big things.
Honesty – That is, does your service actually deliver the results you say it does? And…
Persuasiveness – Are you able to convince your prospective clients that your service is worth investing in?
It’s important to understand that these two things are very different and both make a big difference in your success as an independent professional.
Honesty seems simple but it’s not. Because honesty is always contextual.
You say your team building program will increase the productivity and engagement of a client’s employees, leading to a more successful company.
Sounds good, but the client is wondering if it’s really true.
Well, it might be true in certain contexts and not true in others. So, you need to take that into account and communicate that.
• It is more likely true if the management gives full buy-in to the program.
• It is more likely true if you’ve had experience in leading these programs with other clients and gotten favorable results.
• It’s more likely true if you have actually measured increases in productivity and engagement as well as company success. And what have you used to make such measurements?
So, I believe that the baseline for marketing all professional services and programs is to be honest and to communicate the context of your claims.
If you are making claims that are not honest, or the context in which these claims are made are unclear or ambiguous, you have a problem.
And I happen to believe that you shouldn’t sell professional services without the baseline of honesty. If you can honestly deliver the goods, great, no problem. If you can’t, you need to figure out how you can improve your results and prove them.
In fact, this may be the most important overall factor in your business. Can you honestly produce results for your clients, given the right conditions?
Persuasion, on the other hand, is a whole other kettle of fish!
You can offer a very honest service and fail to persuade prospective clients to buy your services.
Or you can have a very dishonest service and persuade a whole lot of people to buy your service.
Let’s focus on the first one. In this case, all your persuasion should be based on the honesty of your claims.
What we often don’t realize is that we need to do this from many different angles. We really need to make a strong case for the value of what we are offering.
The strongest persuasive argument is always results. And you can point to results through two things:
1. Measurement – Show the actual improvement in results and performance before and after you have provided your service.
2. Stories – Give testimonials or case studies of how your service has improved your clients’ condition.
You’d think that measurement would be more powerful than stories, but that is not true.
Measurement is great, but it contains no emotion. So, if you say that your program increases productivity by 29% and engagement by 34% that is pretty impressive, but those are just boring numbers. They are true, but don’t connect very well emotionally.
On the other hand, if you have testimonial quotes that say something like, “Roger’s productivity and engagement program really turned our company around. We had lost our spirit. People weren’t excited about coming to work anymore. But things are just the opposite now. People come in early, stay late, work hard and most of all, have fun on the job.”
Now, if you use both improvement measurements and stories, your persuasive factor goes up even higher!
So, nothing is more persuasive than actual results, both shown by measurement and by stories.
Dishonest marketing also uses measurements and stories, but they are based on lies or a manipulation of the conditions. Despite the fact that these can ultimately be proven to be false, businesses do this all the time.
But when it comes to marketing professional services, this is a very dangerous path that can lead to ruin. Don’t do it!
There are also many other ways to persuade a prospective client that your program or service is worth investing in. The baseline is still honesty, measurement, and stories.
Honest Persuasion Strategies
1. Affiliation. Show that you have worked with clients exactly like them (demographically and psychographically).
2. Familiarity. Show that you really understand their industry, role, situation, problems, needs, and wants in great depth.
3. Technology. Show how your service works and what principles and methodologies it is based on.
4. Comparison. Show what your service is compared to other approaches they may have tried before without success.
4. Structure. Show how the program is structured and organized to produce the results.
5. Guarantee. Show that you have a guarantee that reduces the risk to the prospect.
6. Pricing. Price your service so that it feels like good value for the money.
7. Steps. Show them the simple steps and processes to get started. Make it easy to work with you.
The good news is that you can accomplish all of this with a well-structured presentation. You can honestly and persuasively show a prospective client how your program or service can help them achieve the results that are important to them.
You can not only show that what you’re offering is honest and valuable, you can persuade them that it makes sense to invest in your service.
Are you a loser, a struggler, a con artist, or a winner?
If you are dishonest, with poor persuasive skills, you are a loser.
If you are honest with poor persuasive skills, you are a struggler.
If you are dishonest, with good persuasive skills you are a con artist.
If you are honest, with good persuasive skills you are a winner.
Who are you and who do you want to be in your business?