Do you ever feel bullied or intimidated by prospects or clients?
Have you had prospect conversations with people who just make you feel defensive, like nothing you say is ever good enough? It’s like they just keep pushing, using a tone of voice that makes you feel like an underling?
Why does this happen, when all you’re trying to be is nice and helpful? When you’re going out of your way to make them like you? After all, people do business with people they like. You’ve heard it dozens of times, so it must be true.
What if it’s only partly true?
What if being liked is only one piece of the getting-business puzzle?
Being Liked: Only Part of the Puzzle?
John Jantsch, world-class conversion expert and creator of Duct Tape Marketing is adamant that your prospects and clients needs to know, like and trust you.
The ubiquitous and authoritative reference Copyblogger.com site offers the same message in multiple blogs, webinars and products.
Both authorities hold in common that this level of trust rarely occurs in a single touch or exposure.
Creating this level of trust is usually a process that requires time and patience on your part, coupled with a consistent brand message.
So, what if you think you’ve created the know-like-trust triumvirate and you’re still getting intimidated? What’s missing that still leaves you feeling intimidated or bullied during the prospect conversation?
Intimidated by Prospects? The Missing Element
So you’ve created the know-like-trust triumvirate still intimidated by prospects. I want to add one more element to that conversation: respect.
Now you likely respect your prospects, unless of course you’re the kind of shark that likes to prey on the confused and vulnerable. (And If that’s you, you need to stop reading right now and go punch the unsubscribe link. There is nothing for you here and you don’t have enough money to pay me to consult with you).
For the rest of you, you likely know what it’s like to be the prospect who is confused and vulnerable – maybe even feeling a little twitchy because you’re reaching out for help (something you’re not accustomed to doing).
Where in the midst of that confusion does your prospect find their respect for you?
Well, my friend, ultimately you have to earn that. It doesn’t come just because they’ve read your book or attended your webinar…or read your blog.
But here’s the critical point: your prospect is prepared to respect you. They’re waiting for you to prove to them that it’s the right thing to do.
So how do you do that?
4 Key Steps to Overcome Feeling Intimidated by Prospects
The key to overcoming this issue is to prove to your prospects that you deserve their respect. Here are four key steps to get you started:
- Focus on their problem. What are they hoping you can do for them? What do they want to be better or different? Don’t get carried away with what you do, or the wonders of your fabulous product or process. Your prospect won’t care about that until they’ve confirmed for themselves that they can respect you.
- Show you’ve solved their kind of problem before. Validate that it may be a challenging situation but you’ve helped others with that problem. Use your mini-case studies (30-60 story of a client you helped with the same problem).
- Make certain you are clearly articulating why you’re different and how their life is improved by choosing and working with you. You should be able to do this quickly and clearly. If you’re not, this could also be a strong reason prospects are pushing you around – you don’t sound like the expert they were hoping you would be.
- Make clear your confidence that you can make a difference. This is the piece of the puzzle the tough prospects are really looking for. They want to know that you know your stuff. They may have been burned before by someone who promised to help and didn’t live up to the promise. As a result, they ask tougher questions. If they push pretty hard, that’s likely a danger signal you are sounding ambivalent, timid or uncertain that you can help, or that you lack the experience or expertise to pull it off.
I want to be clear on one thing here. I’m not talking about the kind of people who ask for a rail car full of data, then ask for another rail car of data to confirm it. Unless you’re selling jet engines or cruise ships, prospects who do this are looking for reasons not to decide. I’m also not talking about someone who is condescending or genuinely abusive.
Remember you’re the expert. You know what needs to be done and how it should be approached. Now, you just need to sound like it and act like it.
Take Action – Make This Your Own
Review your last few prospect or client conversations where you felt intimidated:
- Ask yourself – what do they have in common?
- Are you being liked? Trusted? Does the prospect feel like she knows you, at least to a degree?
- Where are the gaps in your prospect conversation? If you’re not sure, go over it with an objective third party, ideally someone outside your industry.
- Pick one step to take to close a gap.
You can also check out these related posts:
“The Customer’s Always Right – Oh, Yeah?” 4 Tips for Handling Difficult Customers
Are Prospects Mistaking You for a Non-Profit? How to Stand Your Ground and Demonstrate Value
Why Should I Buy From You . . . Show Me!
Share a comment: tell about an uncomfortable propspect conversation you had recently.