Every client you win buys three things, in this order…
First buy: “I have a problem and I believe you understand my problem.”
If they don’t believe they have a problem, they’re not becoming a client. You can (and should) influence this belief—more on how to do this in a bit. It’s one of the ways you generate demand for your firm.
But, can we agree, if a person doesn’t think they have a problem, they’re not (yet) ready to buy.
And, if they believe they have a problem but don’t believe you understand their problem, they’re not buying from you.
Second Buy: “I don’t know how, but I trust that you can eliminate my problem. You’re my person.”
They buy YOU before they buy the solution.
Third Buy: “I see you have the solution and I understand how it will eliminate my pain.”
This is where most put all the focus. It’s totally natural…we’re world-class problem solvers. So, we go to our strength…you have a problem, I have the solution.
Yes, and so do 1000 other firms that your future client has access to with a quick Google search.
Anyone can deliver a “good enough” solution to solve the client’s problem.
That’s not what you’re selling. You’re really transferring confidence to the client…
Confidence that you’re the one.
Confidence that you will become their trusted leader—their fiduciary—always acting in their interest, and always bringing the right solution for them.
And they must have this confidence because your clients (usually) don’t have the expertise or inclination to truly judge what you’re presenting.
Think about the last time you bought a service.
I saw my accountant two weeks ago. He made some recommendations.
Because “he’s my guy,” I implemented them. I’m not inclined to read the U.S. Tax Code, so I have no idea if what he told me was accurate or not.
But I bought him. I trust him. He transfers confidence to me, so I can act in an area where I have no expertise.
You do the same for your clients.
They’re making the “three buys” every time they hire a professional, the only question is have you created a sales experience that facilitates them making those three buys, from you?
The New Way Forward
If you’ve hit the plateau on the “Arc of the Survivor Business” it’s OK. There’s an easier way forward. Let’s get into it now…
The change that has to happen is first in your thinking.
I’ll bet getting a new client is a happy event for you.
It should be.
The problem is classifying it as an event. As in, that happened, I wonder how we’ll make it happen again.
The shift in thinking is to start seeing client acquisition as a set of systems that pre-sells prospects. What I call…
A pre-sell universe.
The purpose of your pre-sell universe is to make those first two sales, in the prospect’s mind, before you ever sit across the table from your prospect.
You want them to already believe they have a problem and that you understand their problem…
That’s the first sale, and you make that sale by being 100% focused on your future client, having a deep understanding of who they are and where they are right now…what is their world like? What are the big challenges (both those that you can fix and the others that have their attention)? What opportunities are in front of them that they need to capture?
From that deep understanding, you then educate your prospect on the challenge they face and the consequences they face if they fail to act.
Do it well and you’ll make Sale #1.
You’re off to a great start.
Now your new pre-sell universe must intentionally create the trust to support Sale #2 (buying YOU).
Back to Charlie Green’s trust equation…
There are three components that grow trust and one that diminishes trust.
C = Credibility (builds trust): Your pre-sell world needs to establish not only your credibility, but your preeminence in the mind of the prospect.
R = Reliability (builds trust): You’ve got to demonstrate your reliability at some level BEFORE you can do business.
I = Intimacy (builds trust): In Charlie’s video he explains this is not the same as personal intimacy, but instead, is a feeling of safety and security… “this person [meaning YOU] is OK.”
Your pre-sell world needs to strategically create all three beliefs in the mind of your prospect before you’re in a sales situation (like an initial consult).
Do it well and the last factor in the trust equation…
Self-orientation (the “S”) which destroys trust and is described as the perception that you’re all about your own self-interest.
That last factor, self-orientation, goes down (dramatically).
You’re freely educating your future client—helping them gain a deeper understanding of their situation and their options—without any expectation of return.
Does that mean you give away the farm and never sell…absolutely not. You’re simply creating the conditions that will support a sale.
Now, if you’ve built your pre-sell universe the right way, you’ll have made Sale 2—they’ve bought YOU.
Done smartly, all of this happens in a way that scales. It requires very little of your time to maintain. You have systems that run it all.
Compared to doing the rubber-chicken dinner circuit, you’ll spend just an hour or two a month running the whole thing.
Turning Prospect into Client
Ok, so now, we’ve got a pre-sold prospect, what next?
Here’s where it gets fun.
Click to continue…