“Why Should I Choose You?”

John Tabita
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In my previous article, Throw Your Prospect a Bone, not the Entire Meal, I said in a desire to demonstrate our expertise, we give away far too much information to unqualified clients. Determining “how qualified” a particular client is requires two critical pieces of information:

  1. How committed is your prospect to this project?
  2. How likely is he to select you?

Even with sincere buying motives, why prospects select one firm or person over another is often subjective and intangible. You can ascertain your chances of winning the project by asking a simple, direct question: “Why are you considering me?”

There’s a sales axiom that says you should never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. If you choose to ask this, the prospect may turn it around and ask, “Good question. Why should I consider you?”

Your response ought to be the real reason clients have hired you, not why you think clients should chose you. Which means you ought to be having the following conversation with all your current clients:

When we initially met, I asked you why you were considering me for this project. You said it was because __________________. Now that the project is finished, have I lived up to your expectations?

[Assuming your client says yes]: “Why else are you glad that you hired me?

It’s been said that people may not remember exactly what you said or did, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. Depending on your particular personality bent, you ought to inspire at least one of the following emotions:

  • Confidence: “He knows what he’s talking about and how to get things done. I should listen to him.”
  • Excitement: “She’s energetic and enthusiastic. I’ll enjoy working with her.”
  • Dependability: “He’s easy-going and steady. I can depend on him.”
  • Trust: “She understands my problems and listens to what I say. I can trust her.”

All the technical knowledge and skill in the world won’t land you the job if you can’t communicate how your expertise translates into making your client richer, happier, sexier, or more successful. If working with you to successfully complete the project fails to elicit an emotional response, you’re anything but memorable in that client’s mind. When a prospect asks, “Why should I choose you?” you need to respond with how you make your clients feel:

Clients have overwhelmingly told me they chose me over the competition because they felt confident that I knew what I was talking about and how to get things done. Because they were willing to take my advice, I was able to meet their business objectives.

In order to write effective website copy for our clients, we always want to know: What sets you apart? Why should a customer choose you over the competition? Invariably, the answer is some form of “because we’re better”—our products and service is better, our prices are better, our employees are better. But claiming to be “better” is not setting yourself apart at all. It’s what everyone says. What truly sets you apart is what your clients say sets you apart. Do you have the nerve to ask them?

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  • http://millionairemarketingmachines.com Alberto

    I find small business owner generally ignorant regarding SEO. When I discuss even very simple strategies they should be implementing they look at me like if I was speaking a foreign language.
    The most common reaction is a blank expression and then the usual “if you say so…”. I often feel like talking to myself. Asking them “why are you considering me” would confuse them even more. All they care about are results. That’s what they base their decisions on and definitely not on the way I make them feel.

    • http://smallbusinessmarketingsucks.com/ John Tabita

      I read your comment early today as I sat in the dentist’s waiting room. Now, I go to two different dentists for my cleaning. Today, Mary cleaned my teeth. I can’t even recall the name of the other hygienist because, like you, she seems to think her job is about “results” and not how I feel when I leave. And I definitely feel different when I leave her office than when I leave Mary’s (which is why I don’t remember her name). Technically-speaking, I’m sure both do an equally fine job. But Mary has the knack of making an otherwise less-than-pleasant experience more enjoyable. Given the choice, whom do you suppose I’d choose?

      I’ve asked that “why” question of both prospective and existing clients, and the answer has always surprised me. It’s never because of the “results” I produced; it’s always been something about me personally. The second time a client described me as “down to Earth,” believe me, I sat up and took notice. It told me that I took what many clients felt uncomfortable or intimidated about and made them feel comfortable. (And I’ve met clients who’d rather have a tooth extraction than discuss marketing.)

      I’m not clear why you think asking them “why are you considering me” would confuse them even more, especially since you’ve never tried it. If all your clients care about are results, you have the wrong clients and you’re in danger of being a commodity. With everyone’s brother’s cousin offering SEO services these days, you need every edge you can get to stand out. And it’s your people skills, not your technical skills, that make you shine.