Your Number 1 Competitor
Here’s a riddle for you:
How can you lose business to someone who has no background in your field and no real expertise … who does no marketing … who isn’t even in your business … and who has absolutely no interest in obtaining a single client?
As a matter of fact, what distinguishes this person is that they’ve demonstrated an inability to do the very thing you’re really good at helping people with.
And yet, they represent your most formidable competition.
How is this possible?
Who is this strange rival? Is it someone you know?
It’s your prospective client!
Yup. That’s right. Depending on what field you’re in, it’s very likely that your number one source of competition comes from your own prospective clients!
How’s that exactly? Five words …
“I can do it myself.”
“I can lose the weight and get in shape by myself. I can develop the marketing plan for my business myself. I can build a website myself. I can do my own taxes and handle the books myself.
I can do my own administrative work … my own research … my own home repairs … my own landscaping. I can create my own S Corp using a kit from the internet. I can get myself out of the corners I’ve painted myself into and back on track to realizing my dreams … all by myself! Heck, I can even change the oil in the car myself.”
When would-be clients decide to go it alone and do it themselves, you lose out … and you lose out to someone who, more often than not, isn’t really very well qualified or capable of doing the thing they’re taking on. At least not without help. In fact, the thing they plan to do on their own is usually the very thing they really need your help with! And, more often than not, it’s something they’ve struggled with and/or failed at … or they wouldn’t have entertained the idea of seeking help from you in the first place!
Whether they say it out loud or just think it to themselves, the phrase, “I’ll do it myself,” is the sound of the door being closed politely in your face. And … ironically and unfortunately … when they close it in yours, they’re often closing it in their own.
Now, if someone really can do it by themselves and chooses to, that’s cool. We’re all in favor of self-reliance. But we aren’t in favor of self-deception and people spinning their wheels when, with a little help, they can have the things they want.
As a professional service provider, you aren’t doing anybody a favor if you stay silent and just write them off when they decide to go it alone. If you’re serious about serving them and you’re really looking out for their best interests … and they’ve proven by their track record that they haven’t gotten the results they want by doing it themselves … it’s really up to you to challenge them a little … in an appropriate way … assuming the opportunity presents itself.
You certainly don’t have to be rude or pushy, just direct.
“So, you’ve been using your current marketing approach for three years. How’s that workin’ for you?
You say you have six clients and you’d like to have 30. What do you think the chances are that you’re going to get where you want to go by continuing to do what you’ve been doing?”
If the person has a revised plan that sounds good, they’re dedicated and capable, and they (and you) think the odds are good they’ll succeed, hallelujah. Tell them to go forth and prosper! But if you think they would benefit from getting help, you need to say so. Sure, there’s a fine line between serving the client and serving yourself in a situation like this, but if you can’t be honest with someone about what you think is best, you’re not acting like a true professional.
And to those who try to do it all themselves … myself included on more occasions than I care to admit … it’s okay to let someone else help. You can’t do everything yourself. You don’t have the time. More to the point, your time is valuable and should be used serving your highest purpose. And we can’t be good at everything. Concentrate on those things that you’re great at and that you enjoy, and let others help you out in those areas where you either aren’t that strong or where you really shouldn’t be spending your precious time.
It can change your life.
All the best,
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