Winning the Business: Focus on Your Prospect’s Needs

Prospect's Needs

The reason business owners and salespeople exist is to solve problems for their customers.  The better you are at understanding and articulating the needs of your prospect and crafting a solution to meet prospect’s needs, the more effective you will be at winning clients.

Focus on Your Prospect’s Needs First

Before you start “spouting off” your vast array of business features and services, you must deeply understand your prospect’s needs. Think of how foolish a doctor would be to prescribe a medication to a patient before making an examination. Serve your prospect like a doctor serves a patient: ask good questions, diagnose the condition and only then prescribe the best remedies to treat the business “illness.”

Prospect's Needs
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Ask Good Questions.

In the same way that a doctor makes a thorough examination prior to writing a prescription, you must take your prospect deep into his “pain points” or business problems.  Ideally, you want to identify and quantify three to five pain points to help you demonstrate your value in solving a prospect’s needs.

Set Your Client at Ease

Remember, the reason your prospect is meeting with you is that he has a need. However, like a patient who is asked to disrobe, your prospect may be uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk about his business condition. It is your job to set your client at ease. Be quick to admit a fault or mistake you have made recently or in the past; that will help your client to realize that you are human just like them.

Pay Sincere Compliments

It is also helpful to first find things to praise about your client’s business: the size of the business, the length of time in business, their facility, their employees, etc. Congratulating them for their successes makes it easier for them to discuss their problems later. Ask them what they like most about their business, why they started their business, what advice would they give to a new business owner. These are “feel-good questions” that will help set them at ease knowing that you see their value.

Then move into the broad pain questions:

  • What are the top three frustrations in business that you deal with?
  • We find that many business owners have problems with cash flow, working too many hours and not spending enough time with family or friends. Do you?
  • Do you find it hard to find good employees? customers?
  • We had a client who was stung by a large bad debt. Has that happened to you?

Move Into Specific Pain Questions

Once you have developed your list of three to five pain points, get a deeper understanding of the issues. Do not gloss over these! These are important to help the prospect to understand the issues and how much the problems are costing them. Ask the following questions about each pain point:

  • Tell me more about______________________.
  • How long have you been experiencing this problem?
  • What attempts have you made to solve the problem?
  • Have you given up?
  • How much would you ballpark this problem is costing you per year?

Repeat back or rephrase the answers to your questions to demonstrate that you understand and empathize with your prospect. If you sense that your prospect becomes a bit emotional during this exercise, you have done a good job of helping them grasp the reality of their problems that you will solve.

Recap Your Prospect’s Pain Points

Recap each problem and the estimated costs for each problem. Add the costs up to determine the total costs that your coaching solutions could save.

*As a possible interim step, you can ask about the prospect’s budget for your services or product. However, many small business owners do not have budgets. As long as you can demonstrate that your remedy is going to save them a lot more than the cost of your service/product, you can win their business.

Prescribe the Remedy

Now you should be ready to craft your proposal to the prospect’s needs. A few more questions will help you to focus on your prospect’s needs and refine your proposal:

  • What are the top three things you want out of a service provider?
  • What would you want to change?
  • Are you working toward a deadline?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how important is solving these problems to you?
  • How often would you like to see me or talk on the phone each month?
  • Simply list each pain point in your proposal with the coaching solution for each one and the dollar savings goal for each point. If you have done a good job with this, the cost for your service/product will be insignificant to the benefits you will bring your client.

Conclusion

When you focus on your prospect’s needs, they will understand that you care about them. Doing the above will take some practice, but once you are proficient at this, you will win many customers!

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Prospect's Needs

 

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Selling: Winning Clients Through Prospect Follow Up

winning clients

Winning clients is a difficult undertaking that requires considerable preparation and follow-up. You never know how many follow up contacts it will take to win a customer. Most experts say that on average it takes between 5 and 12 contacts to win clients. It is quite rare to engage a prospect during your initial meeting. The timing has to be right for them. Most prospects will want time to think about your services. Many will want to discuss their decision with their spouse. What do you do next to win them as a client?

Winning Clients Through Prospect Follow Up

winning clients

Generally speaking, several contacts are made prior to retaining a client. A business owner might expect to contact a prospect between six and twenty times and even more. Never give up unless the prospect asks you to stop contacting them. Sometimes months or even years may pass prior to your prospect of becoming a client. Your prospect needs to know, like and trust you prior to giving serious consideration to buying your service or product.

Use a Variety of Ways to Stay in Touch With Prospects

You may ask, “How can I follow up with my prospects without “nagging” them?” The general answer is by serving your prospect and using a variety of ways to stay in touch. Think of creative ways to serve others. Below are some possibilities to keep your follow-ups interesting and helpful:

Add prospects to your newsletter.

For example, Small Business Coach Associates has a bi-monthly e-newsletter that includes helpful information for business owners. Links to helpful articles and services are included in the mailings.

Send prospects helpful information.

If you paid attention during your meeting with your prospect you learned about their hobbies, family, interests, and business. Send articles or information that may be of interest or benefit to your prospect.

Stay in touch with prospects by phone.

From time to time give your prospect a phone call. Be respectful of their time. Always ask your prospect at the beginning of your call “Is this a good time to talk?” If they say no simply say “OK, I just wanted to catch up with you. I’ll contact you at another time.” If they have time to talk with you, ask them how business is going, family, hobbies, etc. If you identify a need, such as a prayer, or a visit, fill the need.

Stay in touch by sending hand-written note cards.

Thank your prospect for meeting with you. In this e-savvy world with easy emails, a hand-written notecard will make you stand out from other salespeople. Congratulate them if they have a great sales month. Send them a note on their anniversary. Find reasons to send your prospects notes.

Connect prospects with service providers.

Be attentive to the needs of your prospect. If you find out they have a leaky faucet, go out of your way to help them find a plumber.

Connect with prospects on Linkedin.

Make sure that your Linkedin page is updated with your experience, qualifications, and links to your business prior to sending them an invitation.

Invite prospects to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter.

Post helpful information to business owners on this social media. Your prospects will receive this information in their newsfeed.

Stop by to visit your prospect’s business.

Sometimes the best way to catch a business owner is to simply stop by their business. Face to face contact is always the best way to build a relationship. However, be respectful of their time; make your visit short and sweet. Having a gift in hands such as donuts or some other food, or a book or article is a good idea.

Invite your prospect for lunch, coffee, golf, seminars, etc.

Winning clients requires a unique approach to contacting and communicating with them that puts them at ease. Find creative reasons to stay in touch with your prospect. The more ways you stay in touch with them, the more they will think of you when a need arises.

Reality is that not every prospect will become a client. Your prospect’s business may fail, your prospect may pass away, or your prospect may hire another business advisor. However, if you are persistent and creative in your follow up contacts with your prospects, many of them will eventually become clients.

Conclusion

In summary, become your prospect’s friend. We have had prospects refer us to their friends who became clients before they did. As you demonstrate that you care about your prospect, they will come to know, like and trust you. Your persistence in being their friend will prove to them that you care, and eventually, you will earn their goodwill.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

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