The Wrong Customer

shocked kid

People hire a professional because they need expert advice or service, and yet sometime they want to tell the expert how to do their job. The problem is, sometimes they’re a little off. In fact not only are they sometimes a little off, sometimes they’re completely wrong. If you’re like me, you’ve had one or two financial rough patches in your life where you swallowed your pride, shut off the part of your brain that does the rational thinking and said “ok, fine”. I kept those clients, but I put out crappy work I wasn’t proud of, I learned nothing in the process and those clients were one time hits.

It’s hard to tell a valued client that they’re wrong. Once you’re in the relationship, you have to roll with the punches and learn how to communicate with them. But I’ve learned a little trick in my sales process that’s helped me and I wanted to share it with you. While you’re selling the job, lead with a little shock. Not just any shock, but a very specific one that establishes your value.

Not going thru the whole sales process here, but be sure you’ve established some authority in your sales process. For example, if the client is a word of mouth referral then I just need to reinforce it, but if not, I use a combination of existing work & reputation, people in common and rapport building to establish my authority (I’ll write some more on this in the future). Then before asking for the sale, I insert a little unexpected line:

“Just to let you know, I’m not the bargain guy. I’m more expensive than a lot of my competitors and I’m very good at what I do, so I’m worth it.”

Then I pause (p.s. pause = say nothing, newbie sales people talk way too much).

If they say nothing or say something positive like “well we need quality, we’re not looking for bargains” (actual quote) then I have a sale. If they say anything like “we’ll have to see what your price is first” I will usually assume there is no sale. I won’t do a detailed proposal, or invest too much time into closing that business, because it’s likely to be a problem customer down the line. I’m not walking away, but they’re not a high priority prospect.

It may sound harsh (or a little scary), but the clients I’ve won by being upfront like this always respect my opinion and aren’t offended when I respectfully point out they’re mistaken. On a side note, they also pay on time, become long term customers and often become friends.

 

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