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:
- How committed is your prospect to this project?
- 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?
Former owner and partner of web firm Jenesis Technologies, John is currently Director of Digital Strategy at Haines Local Search, a company providing local search marketing solutions to SMBs, including print and Internet Yellow Pages, web design, and local SEO. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks.