Maybe You Didn’t Ask Enough Questions

A member of my e-letter family, Paul, wrote me to tell me he liked the “date” analogy in my article, Stop Asking For Referrals.

Paul shared an experience many of us has had:

I met with a couple in their sprawling suburban home.  They were worth at least $13 million dollars.  Some of that money was invested in accounts being managed by other professionals and some was being managed by the husband. After discussing their situation and my ideas, they told me they couldn’t afford the relatively small fee I was going to charge them per year to manage a few million dollars of their investments. Then the maid walked me to the elevator so I could get my car….”

Paul’s conclusion was that the couple was just “cheap.”  But while there’s a touch of irony in his story, I suspect that this wasn’t about someone too frugal to pay his reasonable fee;  it was about their perception that there was nothing more he could do for them than they were doing already–“perceived value.” 

Paul might have said, ” I’ll do this for you for  $1,000 a year,” and, they probably would have responded the same way, and really meant it.   When a prospective client doesn’t see the value in your services, it usually isn’t because they’re “cheap,” or because you did a poor job explaining what you do and how you might help them. Rather, it’s about not asking enough of the right kinds of questions. The right questions will move someone from “I really should do something about this situation” to I NEED TO DO SOMETHING NOW,  AND WITH YOU!”

In this case, Paul may have needed to explore their situation more:

~Why did you agree to see me today?
~Why now? What’s going on in your life?
~What do you like about how your portfolio is being managed?
~What don’t you like?
~If what you don’t like continues, how will it affect you in a year, 2 years, etc.?

The idea is to unearth something that you are uniquely situated to help them with. Maybe that means just convincing them you’ll be there for them;  and maybe there is nothing more you can do. Get to the truth either way.

Were these people “cheap” as Paul suggests? Maybe.  But it’s more likely that they just hadn’t been moved from sensing they might need his help, to being sure they do.

E-mail me if you’d like to set up an “Assess My Approach” interview.  It will cost you nothing and it may result in a couple of new clients this month. 

In the meantime, keep REACHING…