During the pandemic, selling has been tricky. We don’t want to be seen as being self-serving, wanting to close a deal (with the client’s needs being secondary).
That makes sense, but why not sell with the client’s needs being primary? After all, you are in business to help your clients succeed, right?
So, the question shouldn’t be whether to sell your services now, but how to sell your services in this very sensitive and challenging climate.
I want to suggest the following approach:
First, reach out to past clients and prospective clients to see how you can help right now. Send a quick email or make a phone call and say something like this:
“I’ve been thinking of you! How are things going for you right now during the pandemic?”
And then really listen. They will have something to say.
Then, after asking some follow-up questions, say:
“Look, I’d like to offer a little help if you’re open to it. I have some ideas that I’ve been using with some of my clients that you might find useful.”
Then go into your “consulting / coaching mode” and dive in to offer the most you possibly can in 20 or 30 minutes. Ask penetrating questions, offer strategies and resources. Be of service.
And then ask if what you’ve offered has been useful. If it has, then follow up with:
“I’m offering a new service for my clients that’s designed to *produce this Ultimate Outcome.* Is that an outcome that’s a priority for you right now?”
Now, if you don’t have something (a service or program) that can deliver a desirable outcome that will make a difference to them right now, why should they even be interested? They shouldn’t!
So, if your Ultimate Outcome is “increase the effectiveness of your virtual workforce while cutting costs” for instance, and if that’s a real issue for them, they’ll let you know. And they’ll want to know more.
Notice that I don’t suggest you pitch a service or program, but the Ultimate Outcome that this service or program delivers to your clients.
Now, if this interests your prospective client, they’ll want just one thing: More information about this service – What it is, how it works and whether or not it can really deliver the outcome.
This is where so many independent professionals are left flat-footed. They don’t have any good information to send that makes a case for their service or program.
Look, it depends on who your clients are and what your service or program consists of, but it could be a two-page “Executive Summary” of your offering. It could be a collection of testimonials from clients who have realized results with your program. Or it could be a short presentation that outlines the value.
But it shouldn’t be ten bullet points on your website that gives a sketchy overview. It needs to be more than two paragraphs in a Word document.
You want clarity, substance, and value.
Whatever format this information takes, it should include answers to these questions:
Why do I need it? The need for this program or service and an articulation of the clients problems/challenges.
What will it give me? The solution or outcome the client would prefer to have.
How does it work? How this program or service is designed to produce the desired results.
What actually happens? Information on the structure of the service and how it is delivered to the client.
Who else has done it? Stories, case studies or testimonials from clients who have succeeded with this service or program.
What does it cost? You’ll usually wait until you have talked to the client to make sure there’s a fit before you talk price.
If you have a document or presentation to offer them, you then say something like this:
“Let me send you some information about the service, and then why don’t we schedule a time to go over it in more detail and answer any questions you might have.”
In no cases would you say, “Let me send you the information and if you want to know more, get back to me.” You may wait forever!
Then in that meeting, you would ask the prospective client more questions to determine if they are indeed interested in getting the Ultimate Outcome they desire and their challenges in achieving that outcome.
Then you explain a little more about the service or program and see if they have any questions.
If they have questions, it usually means they are interested and seriously considering your program.
At that point, you can discuss price and see if getting this Ultimate Outcome right now is worth the investment to them.
Now, does it always go as smoothly as this? Rarely. But this approach to the selling process works extremely well in the majority of cases. If you have a service that can deliver an outcome to them that they need right now, you have better than even chances of getting the project.
Now, if you have clients that need certain Ultimate Outcomes right now and you have a service or program that can reliably deliver the results they want…
–> why on earth wouldn’t you be attempting to sell it right now?
I promise that if you wait around for things to change and for your clients to call you up asking for help, you might wait a very long time!