One of my favorite sales-related movie quotes is from Boiler Room. Ben Affleck, in between expletives, tries to get his team of new recruits fired up to sell more bogus stock.
“A sale is made on every call. Either you sell the client some stock, or he sells you on a reason he can’t. Either way, a sale is made. The only question is who’s going to close. You or him?”
PracticeProfs never advocates strong-arm tactics, but as professional service providers, we can all still learn from Ben. You get one chance to make the right first impression. By understanding what’s going through the buyer’s mind, you can set the right foundation for converting that prospect into a client.
What’s your “sale”?
As lawyers, CPAs, financial advisors, and marketers, most of the time our initial contact with a prospective client is by email or phone. Someone referred your firm, or your name came up in a Google search. Your goal at this point is to set up a meeting or consultation to understand the need and opportunity. Depending on your clientele, it could be during this initial communication or at a later date. That’s your “sale.”
Regardless of whether your firm focuses on business or consumer clients, people make the buying decisions. During this initial communication, think like the prospective client and enter the conversation with these assumptions:
- You’re not the only one. A choice will be made between several professionals, so you need to differentiate yourself.
- You’re a priority… at this moment. It’s up to you to maintain that priority, or you’ll end up at the bottom of the to-do list.
- The person is looking for guidance. Take the lead, outline a process, and prove that you’re the best choice. Offer options other than yes/no.
Make the sale. Schedule that face-to-face meeting, presentation, or other applicable events that puts you one step closer to landing a new client.
She gets it… and me…
Now you’re getting your chance to meet with the prospective client. What are the buying criteria? Sure, experience matters and cost may have an impact, but there are a number of other factors that influence the buying decision.
Let’s put on our buyer’s brains again. When people buy, here are some of the more intrinsic reasons. Understanding this, how will you adjust your communication style?
- She understands me, my need, and (if applicable) my company.
- We’re a lot alike – similar background, education, interests, etc.
- She was engaging – asked great questions and then listened.
- She’s successfully handled similar situations before.
- I understand or at least feel better about, the next steps in this process.
- I know why this professional/firm is the best choice. No need to search any further.
Follow-up early and often
We can’t all be like Ben Affleck and close business on one call, so it’s important to maintain your mindshare until the client signs on. Here’s another area where you can differentiate yourself without ever having to ask the trite question, “Are you ready to buy?” Here are a few ideas:
- Send a thank you note within a day.
- Confirm the process you’ve established. Signing up is just another step.
- Share a relevant article, blog post, etc. to educate and show you still care.
- Point to a relevant review or testimonial, or proactively offer a specific reference.
- Introduce a team member who may be helping out.
- Invite them to a group event such as a 5K, seminar, or charity fundraiser.
Need some help?
Since PracticeProfs runs complete marketing programs for our clients, it’s our job to keep track of new business opportunities until they become revenue-generating clients.
Business leads are your firm’s most valuable marketing asset, so we often work with lawyers, CPAs, and other professionals to hone their consultative selling skills and track new opportunities through the prospective clients “pipeline.” Please give us a call or contact us if you’d like us to help your team.
“Now be relentless! That’s it, I’m done!”