As a business owner or service provider there is your world – the backend of the company where packaging, pricing, systems, hiring, marketing, branding and sales take place – and there is their world – a constant buzz and plea for attention and purchasing. No wonder it can be so hard for clients and companies to establish a line of communication. Who is doing the listening? And how does that conversation even go? But with so much competition you can’t go on assuming your clients are happy. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get into the nitty gritty of getting to know your clients. This will not only help you know if your company is on the right track but it will also help you create future services that will benefits your clients and reinforce your five year plan.
Today, I am challenging each reader to open their rolodex and choose ten clients. These ten clients can be a mix of your most loyal batch along with people who you might have just completed a project for. You are going to contact each of these clients and have an honest conversation with them about their experience of working with you and/or your company. Ask them about hindrances or objections before hiring you and what ultimately convinced them, how they found the process of working with you and if they would recommend you in the future. In exchange for their time, offer them an incentive. This can be a percentage off a product or service, a free program or service, or simply a $50 Amazon gift card.
A Novel New Skill. When you are on the phone with these ten clients you are going to simply have one task: listen. Make sure to download a phone recording app beforehand or call using free conference call, which allows you to record calls for free. Recording the call will not only allow you to revisit the content later but will let you be fully present on the phone instead of worrying about taking notes. Listening very attentively to what your client has to say is going to be the secret ingredient to your business success.
Keep An Eye Out For Patterns. The more interviews you schedule (and I highly recommend you do more than just ten) the more likely you are to start seeing patterns emerge. These patterns are priceless information that will not only help you sell your service or product more effectively but also create most of your marketing. Look out for common phrases or situations that made these clients ‘ideal’ to work with. There will often be similar events that acted as catalysts for your clients –what are they? Pay especially close attention to the language your clients use because believe it or not they are all using 5-10 common words or phrases when describing how your business fit their needs. Write does these words exactly as your clients say them; they will be the difference between closing a sale and hearing “let me think about it”. When two people have a conversation the common reaction is for one to sum up what the other is saying. But, in sales, if you actually repeat back precise key words your client is saying then they feel validated, heard and start to trust that you ‘get’ what they need.
Learn How To Hit A Curve Ball. From these calls you will also start to pick up on a common objection that your clients work through before deciding to work with you. This can be anything from ” I don’t have the money” to “I don’t have the time” and even “I need to speak with my wife before I make a decision.” Once you know what the most common objections are for your services you can train yourself to surpass them when they come up in conversation. If, for example, you know that price is going to be an issue then be sure to demonstrate the full value and benefits of your service or product during the sales conversation. You, of course, should be using their key words from Step 2 all along.
What introspections have you learned from interviewing clients? Share with us know below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.