Last week I let a prospective client get away with the old “Oops, sorry, I can’t afford it after all” move. You know the one – at the end of the discovery or strategy session, or at the end of the sales call, they are all enthusiastic about working with you, can’t wait to get going. And sometime between then and the first paid session, usually within a day or so, they come back and tell you they’ve done their sums and they just don’t think they have the money it will take.
And of course, they truly believe they don’t have the money to pay your fees. It might even be really true (as opposed to more a question of priorities). The frustrating thing is, if they don’t take some action, their situation is not going to change – it’s a bit corny, but very often they really cannot afford not to work with you!
Here’s the thing though: it was my own fault that my potential client slipped away from me. Just like she was, I was excited about us working together – she is just the sort of client I love: an exceptional person, just lacking direction and confidence. I was so enthusiastic, in fact, that I forgot one of the most important parts of the client interview – ‘setting off the bombs’.
That’s something I learned from Marcus Cauchi “@The_Inquisitor” (love him or hate him, he is a very, very good sales trainer), and what it means is that you need to explore whether there is anything that hasn’t yet come up, that might explode the sale. And then you set off those bombs, so you can deal them.
In this case, it was the proximity of Christmas, and some car repairs that will need to be paid for. Had I not skipped on this very important part of the process, I could possibly have explored with my new client how we might get over that. Which is a lot easier when someone is sat in front of you, and excited about all the possibilities you have just opened up for them.
And it’s those possibilities that make this such a frustration for me. Sure, the money is always useful (to go towards my Christmas trip to Andalucia, apart from anything else), but what has disappointed me most is that I did the lady a real disservice by allowing her to go back to just existing in a life she had wanted my help to inject some zest into.
As “change-makers” we owe it to our clients and potential clients not to let them believe their reasons and excuses for not making the shifts that will see them living the life they truly desire, and I let this lady down. I console myself with the knowledge that she says she got real value from the discovery session (she even offered to pay me for it), but that doesn’t make up for the fact that because I missed a simple step, her life will probably not become as rich as it could have if we had worked together.
Don’t get me wrong, she may well come back to me after Christmas, and I’ll certainly be catching up with her then, but that assumes I’ll still have capacity in a couple of months. And it assumes there won’t be other reasons and excuses too.
So my question for you this week is: where are you allowing clients (or maybe yourself?) to get away with their reasons or excuses?