No Selling Required
I don’t speak on the same subject everywhere I go, but in one of the speeches I give on how to build a business, I talk about the importance of serving your potential clients vs. selling them.
There are two ways to go about getting new business. You can use clever marketing strategies to entice people to give you a look. Then, with your foot in the door, you highlight the benefits of working with you. All that’s left is to close the deal.
It might take all your persuasiveness and charm, but by being persistent and calling on some proven techniques, you should be able to close at a pretty high rate. You can boil the formula down to three steps. Dangle the bait. Hook ‘em. Reel ‘em in.
As long as there’s no fraud or deception involved, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that approach, no matter how bad I make it sound. But most practitioners aren’t comfortable with it. In fact, they recoil at the thought. It feels wrong. Even if it isn’t dishonest or unethical, it feels manipulative.
Assuming you got into your profession to serve people, there’s a serious disconnect. You don’t want to snare new people. You want to attract them. You don’t want to “land” clients. You want to assist them.
Obviously, I’m using overly dramatic terms to make my point. Notable exceptions aside, most salespeople are perfectly honorable folks who offer us good products and services and want to serve our needs.
But this way of going about getting business requires you to be a good salesperson and do the whole sales thing in a more or less formulaic way that’s alien to most people. So, many either won’t do it or fail to do it well. And there goes the business. Or they do it, but they hate it.
I mean, you can’t help but look at the prospective client as someone who has to be “worked,” someone whose objections need to be “handled” and whose resistance needs to be “overcome.” I
It becomes a game requiring the right tactical maneuvers. Whatever you do, don’t let ‘em slip away. It’s an approach based on maintaining control. Yuck.
We teach a different approach to marketing that’s a whole lot more comfortable and therefore effective. It’s attraction-based.
Here’s how it works:
Your only aim is to serve people. Period.
You get out there and give people a first-hand experience of you and tell them who you are, what you do, and what you can do for them. (So far, not so different.)
But you don’t tease people or try to lure them in with slick sales techniques. You just give them a lot of real value … for free. You don’t hold back. You give of yourself and your expertise. No gimmicks. No tricks.
If they like what they’re getting and it seems as if you’re a good match, then you ask them if they’d like to hire you. How simple and easy is that? Anyone can do it … comfortably.
Now, for this to work, it’s imperative that you give the potential client what they truly need. In our case, that sometimes involves telling people things they don’t especially want to hear. But you do what’s best for them, regardless of whether it’s in your immediate best interests or not.
If that means they’re better off not using your services or going to another provider, so be it. If you don’t think they’re a good match for you or you aren’t a good match for them, you tell them.
Also, you allow them to freely choose. No pressure. Sure, you might facilitate the process by asking questions and dialoguing. You will, in fact, address their objections. You may even probe where resistance is coming from – with their permission, of course.
But here’s the key point. You aren’t doing it to sell the person. You’re doing it to find out how best to help, advise, and guide them. You’re working with them as a partner from the start. The mindset is so very different.
If they just aren’t interested or, upon reflection, choose not to work with you, you honor that. You say thanks for the opportunity to get to know them and wish them the best. Done. No attempt to persuade.
Is this really effective? Can you fill a practice this way? Absolutely. We’re living proof. When your focus in on being of service and let the number of clients and amount of money coming in take care of themselves, it allows you to be completely true to yourself. There’s nothing there but pure positive energy flow. And that’s worth everything.
In the words of the poet:
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.
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