About   |   Shop   | Book Sandy phone-ico 888-289-5551

 

btnfbsm btngpsm btninsm btntwsm btnvmsm btnytsm

Customer Service

DRAW Them a REFERRAL DIAGRAM!

“I found a new way to talk with clients about referring me,” Ryan, a financial advisor, once told me excitedly on the phone.  “I use a diagram!  I’ll show it to you.”

Ryan emailed me a little while later with this:

Of course, I was interested, and I called him back right away to have him explain how it worked.

“First, I draw a circle in the center of a yellow pad, where you see the ‘Joe W’, representing the client,” he started.

“Then,” he continued, “I draw circles surrounding the first circle for people they’ve already referred to me.  I thank them for the ones that worked out and tell them that these referrals are happy; I also point out the ones that didn’t work out, explaining how it just wasn’t right for whatever reason.”

“Finally,” Ryan exclaimed, “I ask them who’s missing from the chart!  I say, ‘Who haven’t we talked about yet?’”

Ryan told me that the client at the center of this drawing, Joe, looked at the chart and said to him, “I wonder why we never talked about my niece, Barbara, and her husband.”  He gestured to the open circles on the page.  “Add Barbara in there.”

Ryan was very proud of his piece of “referral technology”—and so was I!  I went on to suggest to him that any time a client or prospective client volunteers information, his next response should be a magical question—either “who else?” or “what else?”  Once Joe volunteered Barbara, for instance, a “who else” could identify another person for Joe and Ryan to discuss, and with whom Ryan could go on to arrange an appointment.  Asking  “who else?” again might have brought to light a third—and then even a fourth—potential client for Ryan.

Most professionals are terrified of the referral conversation and they either avoid it entirely or approach it so awkwardly that it doesn’t end up working for them at all.

Tim, one of my current clients, told me earlier this week that he was uncomfortable “switching” from being a professional to asking for referrals.  The goal, I told him, is to be a professional while asking for referrals.  There shouldn’t be a difference.  If you’re helping someone by providing a service, why not offer the same service to someone else in his or her life who might also really need your help?

If you have your own method of talking about introductions or referrals that works for you, please share it with me, and with the other professionals in your life!  If referrals aren’t yet working for you, contact me now, and I’ll let you in on a few of the ideas that have worked for me and countless others in my network of clients and colleagues.  No matter what strategy you implement, one technique is certain: ALWAYS be sure to keep REACHING…

Sandy

Boo! Serve, Surprise, and Delight

Growing a practice or a business is way easier than most professionals and service entrepreneurs make it out to be.

Their problem is that they’ve been taught that they need to be frantically and furiously networking, buying and then contacting members off of “hot lists”, writing press releases and making public appearances, and bombarding social media outlets to get their brands “out there”.

All of these practices may have some value, but the most powerful and too often overlooked way to grow a professional practice or service business is to focus first on the clients you already have.  You do this by serving them with all of your ability and in every way you can, and by surprising and delighting them along the way.

If you make your interactions with your past and existing clients as powerful as they can be, they will want to tell stories of their interactions with you to other people.  Fiercely loyal working relationships begin with providing unparalleled service.

SERVE

Great service starts with making “good lemonade”.  In his now-out-of-print 1998 children’s book, Good Lemonade, author Frank Asch tells the story of a boy who starts out with a busy lemonade stand because he offers a better price (with lots of discounts) than his competitor, the boy up the street.

The boy up the street is charging more for the lemonade at his stand.  As the summer days roll on, however, the higher-priced competitor is becoming busier and busier, and fewer people are coming to the less expensive stand.

In the end, our little boy visits his competitor’s stand and learns that the lemonade there is simply much better than his.

How’s your lemonade?  Are you giving your current and past clients enough personal contact?  Are you serving them in every way you can?  Are you doing your best job for them?  These are the minimum standards for great service.

SURPRISE AND DELIGHT

Clients tell stories about you when you do special things to show you care, such as:

~Calling them on their birthdays
~Knowing when their anniversaries are and surprising them with timely gifts
~Sending them articles or books that you know they’ll find interesting or helpful
~Bringing their kids face-painting kits on Halloween or pies on Thanksgiving
~Remembering their favorite flavors of ice cream
~Bringing chew toys for their pets
~Stopping by or calling for no reason at all—just to see how they’re doing.

maxresdefault

In my past life as a lawyer, I would arrive at a real estate closing with a bottle of champagne for my clients and present it to them when all the papers were signed and the money had finally changed hands.  Not only did I delight my clients—who came back to me again for other reasons and who referred their friends and associates to me—but sometimes I also delighted the people on the other side of the transaction, who would hire me the next time around.  Was it just so they could get a bottle of champagne at their closing, or had they seen how well I worked with my clients all along?

I remember one realtor saying, I should have thought of that!”  (And she should have.)

If going out of your way like this seems too much to fathom, remember that there’s a huge difference between doing things so that your clients will think you’re “a nice person”, and doing things to acknowledge and value your clients as human beings—to thank them for their continued relationship with you.

Make an effort not only to serve, but to surprise and delight your best clients, and they will tell stories about you to their friends and associates.  Those listeners may just want to have good stories to tell about their service provider, as well—and they’ll know where to find one the next time around.

Learn to send chills with your spookily-good service, and keep REACHING…

_____________________________________________________________________

Register for My Webinar Today!

3-leads

Take advantage of my 17 years of experience working with financial and insurance advisors at all levels by attending my webinar: How to Triple Your Qualified Leads in 30 Days

If you want more clients with less stress and without spending a lot of money, you’ll want to tune in NOW!

_____________________________________________________________________

And don’t forget to join us for our PowerMinutes Coffee Break!

TODAY, November 1st
And every Tuesday at 10 AM Eastern.

Get answers to your questions about prospecting, sales, marketing, time management, practice management and more.

Just grab your brew and come to http://sandyschussel.com/conference

_____________________________________________________________________

sandy09

Want more info?  Email issues?  Please, contact me here!

Sandy-Signature.jpg

Are You “Recommendation Worthy”?

five-star-service

“I talk to my clients occasionally about introducing me to someone they know who might need my help,” expressed Art, a matrimonial attorney I work with. “But they always tell me that they can’t think of anyone.”

“Maybe that’s true,” I suggested. “Do you have a value discussion before you get on the subject of recommending you?”

“A value discussion?” Art asked. “You mean, like, asking them what they think of my services?”

“Exactly,” I replied.

“No way, man!” Art protested vehemently. “Most divorce clients are angry at everyone. They hate being in the situation they’re in, they hate paying me, they hate the whole process. If I ask them what they think of me or my services, I can’t imagine what would come out of their mouths.”

“Try it,” I suggested. “On all of your appointments this week, ask your clients how they feel about the service they’ve been getting, and see what happens.”

Art was skeptical, but he agreed to do what I asked.

When we spoke again the next week, I could hear Art trying to hold back his excitement.

“Every one of them said very positive, very flattering things,” he blurted. “The only negative comment had to do with me not checking in when nothing was going on with her case, so I promised to fix that and she was happy.”

“But here’s the real kicker,” he continued. “After we talked about how she felt, without my even bringing the subject up, one of them started to tell me about a friend who might need my help.”

One of the best ways to grow a practice of any kind is through referrals. Most professionals make the mistake of asking for referrals—or for the retainer, for that matter—before they have made sure not only that they’ve given value, but that the client has recognized it.

Discussions about your relationship with clients should come up often. Check in with them. Get them to tell you what is working and what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to hear the bad news. Studies tell us that only one in twenty-seven unhappy clients tell us they are unhappy. They just don’t use us anymore and they don’t recommend us.

Think about that figure. It means that if just one person does complain, twenty-six others were unhappy and didn’t tell you. If you don’t believe the statistic, think about the last time you went to a restaurant, were dissatisfied with the food or the service, and vowed never to come back, but didn’t tell the manager about it.

Most importantly, though, before you talk with your client about other people or companies he might know about who could use the same kind of help you are providing to him, make sure he tells you just how great your services are.

Start with a general question, like:

“Peter, I just want to make sure you’re getting the best service we can possibly give you, so I wanted to ask you how we’re doing.”

The answer to a question like this is likely to be positive, but without any detail. So next, get specific:

“What’s something that we’ve done that you’ve found to be particularly helpful?”

When he mentions one thing, ask him, “What else?” Keep asking this question until he’s out of answers.

Then, continue the value discussion by asking directed questions:

“Did you like how we jumped on that mistake and got it out in the open?”

Finally, ask “Is there anything more I can do for you now, or in the future?”

If the client assures you that she’s really happy, ask her if she knows someone like her (or her company) that could use the same kind of service. If she’s not happy, fix your service.

Asking clients about your value can have some great results. Start doing it immediately.

In the meantime, keep REACHING…

Sandy-Signature.jpg

Start Building Your Practice with People You Already Know

Image3

If you need a plumber, would you prefer to hire someone you found in the local phone book, or someone your neighbor used for a similar problem and recommends highly? If you need surgery, would you prefer finding your surgeon through your research on surgeons.com or seeing a surgeon who performed successful surgery on a family member or is recognized as the top specialist in his field by your trusted internist.

I’d be surprised if your answer was not the second choice in both cases. People want to meet their professionals through introductions.

This means that one of the easiest and most effective ways to build your practice, in this or any economy, is through your existing clients, former clients and other people who already know you. Of course, they have to be willing to recommend you to others. There are two things you can do immediately to facilitate this:

(1) Be referable; and
(2) Be on their minds

“Being referable” is about developing relationships with your clients and others that go beyond the particular services you provide to them. It’s about knowing them as people, and treating them in a way that gets them to want to tell stories—good stories—about you.

Providing great service isn’t enough. The largest of corporate clients hires you based on your relationship with individuals. Competence and great service are important, but what these individuals want is a sense that you really care about them. Find out your clients’ birthdays and anniversaries. Know what flavor ice cream their children like.

My friend, Stu, is a master at this. In the first few months of our business relationship, he called me to ask for important dates in my life. “I already know your birthday,” he said, “but when’s your anniversary? When is your wife’s birthday? What are your kids’ birthdays?”

I knew exactly what Stu was doing, and I was thinking to myself, I could never just call up a client and blatantly ask about birthdays. He or she would know I was just putting them into my database.

Then, Stu called me on my wife’s birthday and told me to wish her a happy one. He made a similar call for each of my children’s birthdays. He called to sing Happy Birthday to me on my birthday. He called to wish us a happy anniversary. And he kept on calling year after year.

It no longer matters to me that his call about those dates was so transparent. I smile every time he “remembers” one of these occasions.

Stu also knows that “being on their minds” means having as much contact with them as possible. He has found five reasons to call each year that have nothing directly to do with the work we do together. He has assured himself that if I run into someone who needs his services, he’s the one I’ll recommend. He has made me a “referral partner.”

I learned early in my law practice many years ago that my clients were meeting dozens of lawyers each year, and tended to refer a friend or business associate to the last lawyer they ran into, rather than to me. It wasn’t that they didn’t think I gave them great service or did good work for them; it was a matter of convenience. They had the card of the lawyer they met last week right there, and it was just easier than trying to find my number after not hearing from me for months–or years.

Now, one of the first places I look when a client consults me to help her grow her business is what contact she has been having with her current and former clients, and other people she knows. “If it has been years since you spoke with old clients,” I tell them, “reach out to them now, just to say hello.”

Reach out to the people you already know, especially current and former clients who were satisfied with your work. Have a conversation with them:

  • Tell them you were thinking of them.
  • Ask them how they are doing in this economy.
  • Ask them if you provided lasting value to them and in what way.
  • Tell them your time with them was (or still is) meaningful to you.
  • Ask them not to keep you a secret if they run across someone who might need your help.
  • Ask them if you can help them in any way now—not for a fee—but because you care.

Then watch what happens to the growth of your practice.

In the meantime, keep REACHING…

Sandy-Signature.jpg

Get Clients to Tell Stories…

“I’ve been at this for five years,” James, a financial advisor with a small solo practice, told me last week.  “How do I get people to proactively send me referrals?”

“Deserve them,” I told him.

“But all my clients are already satisfied with my service,” he protested.

“Satisfying your clients isn’t enough to turn them into passionate, loyal referral advocates,” I told him.  “It’s the minimum you need to do to keep a client and maybe pick up a referral or two.  If you want more, you need to get them to tell stories about you.”

I then shared two stories with James:

A while ago, I dropped into a well-known department store near my home to buy a new shirt.  There was a good selection of shirts in my size and the shelves were neatly arranged.  The sales assistant was friendly and professional, and the shirt I bought was on sale.  The entire experience was satisfactory.

I was completely satisfied…but I had never actually told anyone this story before.  I hadn’t even told anyone I saw later that day about the satisfactory experience I’d just had.  It had left my mind as soon as I left the store.  So, why didn’t my experience render me a passionate, loyal, referring customer?  The lesson is the same for a retailer as it is for an entrepreneur or a professional: There was no story to tell.  The salespeople had just done what they were supposed to do.

Contrast that story with this one:

Once upon a time (a long time ago now), my wife Hannah and my daughter Stefanie went shopping for a prom dress.  They found the perfect blue gown at Nordstrom.  But when they opened the bag and looked at it that night, there was a ballpoint ink stain on the skirt of the dress.  It was Thursday night, and the prom was on Saturday night.

First thing Friday morning, Hannah called the store frantically from work in the hope that they would have another blue gown she could pick up at the end of the day.  The department manager informed her that there were no more blue gowns in my daughter’s size, but offered to call around to other Nordstrom stores to see if she could find one.

worried mom

*Getty Images

Hannah hung up the phone and fretted over what she was going to tell my daughter and what they were going to do with only one evening left to find another gown.  But, half an hour later, the department manager called her back with news that she had located the identical gown at another location.

Then, she gave Hannah a story to tell.  She offered to leave her store at the end of the work day, drive the twenty miles to the store where she had located the new gown, and drive another 20 miles back in the opposite direction to Hannah’s business to make the exchange.  By evening, my daughter had her gown, and Nordstrom had another loyal customer, willing to tell this story over and over again—even over a decade later.

To make your clients loyal and willing to refer you, you need to take every opportunity to give them stories to tell.  Doing a satisfactory job for them isn’t enough.  Create a Client Service Plan that distinguishes you from your competitors.  Serve coffee and pastries on a silver platter when they visit your office.  Find out where they’re celebrating their anniversary and have champagne or dessert delivered to them at their table.

If you astound them—exceeding their expectations so far that they want to tell everyone your story—you’ll have more referrals than you can handle.  In the meantime, keep REACHING…

Signature

SERVE, and Grow Rich

My friend and colleague, coach and author Steve Chandler, recently wrote this:

“Most people try to move toward wealth in embarrassing, clumsy ways.  They have cynicism programmed into them from an early age.  So they want a course called Manipulate and Grow Rich, or Network and Grow Rich or Win People Over and Grow Rich.”

“They see companies like Apple, Amazon, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, and Google, and they think ‘I need a big, clever idea like that!’ or ‘I need diabolically opportunistic branding and positioning!’  When that doesn’t work, then they think it’s time to suck up to powerful people…polish some apples and lick some boots!  Why?  Because it’s Who You Know that makes you rich!”

Yet all the while, there is a spirit that runs through all radical wealth creation…and we’ll keep it simple by calling it service.  All the individuals and companies I have worked with in the past 30 years revealed to me this underlying truth: wealth comes from profound service.”

If you’re working on your Business Plan for 2014, make sure it includes serving your clients profoundly.  If it does, this will be a great year for you.

To get specific, here are a few of Steve’s (and my) tips:

1.  Stop Pleasing and Start ServingAs children, we are conditioned to please.  “Were you a good girl, today?” Daddy asked, and what he meant was: Were you sweet, passive, obedient and not too vocal about your opinions?  Never did we hear him ask: “Were you bold and powerful?”  Or, “Were you courageous?”

Adults were the people with the money and power.  If we pleased them, we’d get that ice cream or that allowance.  As a result, too many of us learned to default to pleasing.  We want our clients to think we’ve been a good little boy or girl, so if we think there will be resistance to what we believe serves them best, we choose what will please them instead of what we believe they should do or have.

If we served instead pleasing, we would astonish our clients, instead of simply being “a nice guy”.  We would be making a real difference in another person’s life.

2.  Create Agreements, Not Expectations.  We become anxious because a client or prospect hasn’t done what we think they “should have” done.  Expectations belong in the recycle bin, along with ideas like a “no” answer being a rejection.  To fully serve and grow rich, you don’t need those anymore.  In fact, they will slow you down and give you a life of disappointment—even causing nagging and persistent feelings of betrayal.

If you want a client to do something, create an agreement.  Agreements serve because they are creative collaborations that honor both people.  They are like a co-written song.  Expectations, on the other hand, live and grow in us like cancer.  Nothing good can come from them.

3.  Don’t tell a client she’s wrong.  Proving that your client’s or prospect’s view or understanding about the world is wrong—no matter how ridiculous her opinion might be—is not serving.

Listen for the value in what she is saying before you respond.  Recognize the merit, and acknowledge that you see it.  Agree with the “objection” rather than trying to overcome it with a humiliating argument.  Instead, agree with her, and find a way to “reframe” how she’s seeing it.

“I understand that you don’t believe in life insurance, and if I saw it the way you’ve explained you do, I wouldn’t believe in it either.  What I do believe in is making sure my family has money at the most critical time that I won’t be able to help.  If we didn’t call it ‘life insurance’, wouldn’t that be something you’d want your family to have?”

Make 2014 the year of profound service, and it’s bound to be your best.  In the meantime, keep REACHING…

Signature

Are Your “Gatekeepers” Killing Your Client Relationships?

I had been limping around for three weeks with a pain across the top of my left foot that didn’t seem to be getting any better.  I made it through five straight days on my feet for two workshops and an active vacation, but the pain did not subside.  So, I finally decided to visit a local orthopedist.

It was good for me to go through this experience, because as often happens, it reminded me of why I do the work I do.

I called the doctor’s office and an unhappy-sounding scheduling assistant treated me as if I was a huge interruption to his day.  He was abrupt, unsympathetic, and annoyed when it took me a couple of seconds to give him precisely the information he demanded.  He advised me that the doctor I wanted wouldn’t be available in this century, and offered me some alternatives.  And he became noticeably agitated when I wasn’t satisfied with the first available appointment.  After all, who did I think I was?  HE worked for a DOCTOR and was VERY busy.  I was just one more bother in his bothersome day.

The Gatekeeper

Actor Frank Morgan as “The Gatekeeper” in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

When I arrived at the office, the staff was annoyed that I didn’t notice the big hand-written sign at the window on the right that says “Sign In Here”, and that I thought it was okay to approach the busy person sitting behind the desk on the left instead.  When I got back to the person on the right, she handled our entire transaction—from the clipboard to the insurance card and picture ID—without ever looking up to see my face.

Believe it or not, your staff may be treating people like this—and no matter how good you are at what you do, or how kind and considerate you might be, your clients are thinking, “I’m not coming here again.”

Maybe, as it was in the case of this doctor, there are so many people waiting to see you that you can afford not to know how your staff is behaving.  But if you’re like most professionals, it matters to you that clients who have experienced something like this aren’t staying with you, and that they will tell others to stay away, as well.

If you want to grow your practice or business, you need to be certain that you’ve spelled out for your staff how to handle the phones and how to greet people, and you need to be sure that they’re following your system.  This means listening in on a prospective client or patient call, and having someone report to you about how they are treated while they’re waiting for you.  Don’t assume because you’re being treated well by your assistant that he or she is treating your clients in the same way.

It also means spelling out the basics for your team with a formalized procedure that includes, at least, all of the following points:

1. Identify the office and yourself.  Everyone who answers a phone should use his or her name.

2. Be pleasant.  No matter how frenetic your office might be, every caller deserves to feel that he or she is not an interruption in someone’s busy day.

3. Offer to help.  The identification should be followed by “How may I help you?” or “How may I direct your call?” or—well—anything that’s genuinely helpful.

4. Don’t rush the caller.  No matter how busy you are, clients want to ease their stress, not to confront yours.

5. Own the call.  Until the caller is connected elsewhere, the person answering the phone is responsible for the caller’s experience.

These are just some of the basic rules.

Nearly an hour later, when I finally got to see the orthopedist, I found him to be extremely competent, and a genuinely nice human being.  He advised me that I had fractured a bone, but I wasn’t willing to face his staff for the follow-up appointment.  I ended up taking my foot elsewhere.

Referrals come from clients who tell stories about the “magical” service they are receiving.  If you’re not certain that you and your staff are making magic in your practice—right out of the gate—you can always contact me.  In the meantime, keep REACHING…

Small Talk, BIG SALES: Lessons from a Master Moneymaker

Mehdi Fakharzadeh is one of the most successful insurance sales agents in history.  At 92, he is still taking on and servicing clients.

Mehdi achieved his success despite starting out with a severely limited grasp of the English language and American customs.  Now, at the top of his industry, he is famous throughout the world—with a following in over forty countries.  A Chinese admirer changed his own first name to Mehdi, and at least one other inspired insurance agent gave that name to his son.

Individual Coaching

At an Insurance Pro Shop seminar a few years ago, I had the honor of being asked to speak alongside Mehdi and the renowned publicist Wally Cato.  Here are some of the Lessons I learned from Master Mehdi that day:

1. Doing the right thing for your clients results in more business and referrals.  Mehdi does not attribute his success to any skill of his own—he believes it is his karmic reward for giving what he can to everyone he comes into contact with.  His belief in this regard, and how it humbles him, shines through him as he speaks.

2. Love what you doMehdi told his audience that selling insurance is his hobby.  He is up at 4 a.m. eager to start his day and doesn’t stop until his wife calls him to tell him to come home for dinner.

3. Be prepared to give them what they ask for, but always show them what you believe they should have.  Mehdi talked about how he increases the size of his sales, and helps clients at the same time, by presenting insurance policies at signing time for amounts greater than what he had previously discussed with them.

“They always try to buy less than they should,” he told his audience. “I present to them what they really should have, and often, they agree when they see it.”

4. Make them clients first.  What do you do when a client doesn’t want what you believe is right for him?” a workshop attendee asked.  “I give him what he does want, of course,” was Mehdi’s reply.  But he continued:

“I wait two or three years [until we have a good relationship and my client trusts me],” he explained, “And then I show him a chart that has on the left side what he bought, and on the right side, what I believed was right for him.  I ask him which plan looks better now…and he always points to the one on the right.”

None of this can happen, Mehdi told his audience, unless the person in question becomes a client first.

5. Never give up!  A consistent theme in everything Mehdi spoke about was his persistence“Whenever there is a problem,” he told his audience, “I sit down and create a solution.  There’s always a solution.”

6. Talk “Nonsense”.  That’s what Mehdi calls his delightful way of engaging people in conversation.

“If I’m going up in an elevator and I push ‘4’, and the other man pushes ‘8’, I say, ‘You must be twice as good as me’.  When he asks me why I say that, I tell him that 8 is twice as good as 4.”

Mehdi reminded his audience that day that it makes people feel good when you’re having fun.  As further proof that Mehdi walks his talk, he invited me to spend an afternoon with him at his office to pick his brain, and bought us lunch at his favorite Chinese restaurant—asking nothing in return.

Give first, talk small, and think big—and contact me for help with doing the right thing.  Love what you do, and keep REACHING…

Signature

Client Retention: They Changed Their Minds!!!

After two visits—a total of six hours—advisor Marianne had gotten an enthusiastic “thumbs up” from her new “almost clients”—a young professional couple with small children—to prepare a financial plan for them.  The plan would specifically include some much-needed life insurance.  There was no doubt the mission was going forward!

couple

But a few days later, just before Marianne’s scheduled return with her specific proposal, the couple called to tell her they had decided to hold off on doing anything.

“I needed that sale,” Marianne complained to me during our coaching session.

“And that’s probably why you lost it,” I responded.

Our need is the ugliest thing we can show prospective clients.  If they believe that your need to make money is more important than your delivery of the service they would be hiring you to do, they’ll back away.  Retaining you or buying what you have to offer has to be their idea, not yours.

Even when—especially when—you need the “yes”, make sure that your prospective clients sense only your devotion to bringing them the best and most appropriate service.

Blake, an attorney in Michigan, wrote me last week about his problem in getting prospective clients to engage his services.

“I find out what their situation is,” he writes, “and then I explain very carefully what I’ll be doing for them.”

“Then they ask about price.  I tell them my hourly rate, which is competitive, but they say they want to think about it…and then, I don’t hear from them again.”

Professionals like Blake often don’t spend enough time developing a relationship with their clients, customers, or patients.  They know their work.  They know how to diagnose problems, and they know what the most likely solutions are.  But they don’t know what their prospective clients really need: someone to hear them out; sympathy, empathy, and validation.

Here are some suggestions that might help you “close” more clients:

1. Ask more and better questions.  “Situational” questions are essential for you in order to enable you to do your work, but they have relatively low value to a prospective client who already knows his or her own situation.

How does the situation make him or her feel?  Why does he/she feel that way?  What result would this person like to get from working with you?  How will that make him/her feel better?

These kinds of questions don’t necessarily add any information to your business stats, but they help you to create a bond with your new client.

2. Find out if they’re committed to change before you talk about fees.  Ask if she’s receiving value from the discussion and if she has any questions for you.  Ask if she’d be interested in working with someone who could alter her status quo.

3. Find out what is causing them to hesitate.  If he says, “Let me think about it,” find out what he agrees with and narrow down what his concerns are.  Does he have reservations about your abilities?  Is he looking for a better price?  It’s okay—and important—to ask these questions.

If you want more clients to say “yes” and stick to it, start by making sure you spend the time to ask compelling questions, and base the solution you offer directly on their answers.  Whether it’s in asking for the sale or asking for introductions, make it about themnot about your need.

If you want help learning better ways to ensure that prospective clients become actual clients, contact me.  In the meantime, let them change their minds, and just keep REACHING…

Signature

Holiday Sales are Easy as Pie

For most advisors, the Fourth Quarter means a year-end blitz to improve their production numbers, hours billed, and company or office standings.  Realistically, there are only a few ways to do this:

1) Find more clients
2) Find more ways to serve existing clients
3) Make more sales
4) Make bigger sales

The majority will focus on the first of these, squeezing in as many cold calls, workshops, and client-appreciation events as they can.  They’ll rush around, becoming exhausted and frazzled—but not necessarily maneuvering themselves into a better position—by the time the holidays hit.

Many top producers, however, will slowly and meticulously examine their top clients’ files to see if there are more ways they can serve them, planning out their referral discussions, and looking for ways to surprise and delight them enough that these advocates will tell their friends and family members about the magical experiences they are having.  More business from existing clients and more quality referrals—without the frazzle and exhaustion.  Their Strategy is Simple:

1. Serve them.  Set appointments with your best clients.  Review their files first to see if there’s any way you can help them that you aren’t already—whether it will produce immediate income for you or not.  If they need an introduction to an accountant or a good podiatrist, serve them by being the source.

Santa_jack

Nightmare Before Xmas (’93)

2. Use the holidays as an excuse to surprise and delight them.  Fortunately, while the upcoming season may feel like crunch time, it also presents some great opportunities to get your clients talking about you.  The first of these opportunities is actually Halloween.  Just think of all the ghoulish possibilities!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do your best clients have children who will be dressing up?  How about investing in the Klutz Face Painting Book?  It comes with easy-to-remove face paints and detailed instructions for creating characters.  Or, pick up and deliver some great pumpkins and bring them to their homes.

images

Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

For Thanksgiving, find out if your best clients will be traveling and, if not, order them a wonderful pumpkin or apple pie from a local bakery or pie company.  Hand-deliver it a day or two before the Holiday—or on Thanksgiving morning.

Two years ago, my coaching client, Don, was invited in to meet his financial client’s family when he showed up at the door with pie.  In the presence of her relatives, his grateful client announced how much she enjoyed doing business with her advisor—how much they had accomplished and how much more they would have to do.  A few days later, one of her guests contacted Don about starting to work together.

If pies aren’t your thing, be creative.  It’s about astonishing your clients in a way that gets them smiling about their relationship with you and raving about you to the people they know.  Brainstorm with your team.  Is there something unique and special you can do to show them how important they are to you?

3. Talk about helping their families and friends.  With another financial year coming to a close, do your clients have friends or family members who might need your services?  If you can specifically identify someone in their circles, ask about him or her.  If not, ask them if they know someone who might need your help before the quarter’s done.

You can still go ahead and make those cold calls, book those workshops and events, but put your emphasis on existing clients—the people who already do business with you and will be joyous to rave about you to those they love.  If you need more tips on serving up the right surprises, contact me. Either way, keep delivering what you do best, and keep REACHING…

Signature

 

GIVE SOMEONE THE GIFT OF SELF/SALES HELP

Send someone a thoughtful and thought-provoking gift this season:

Autographed copies of my books, The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet.  I’ll even include a personal note that you can customize.  There’s no extra charge for the signing, nor for holiday gift-wrapping.  Simply click here to order the 2-book package, and make sure to edit the Gift Options and/or Add a Comment or Request to let me know your needs.

Archives