Here are my top tips for maximising the possibility of converting the client.
You need to be really confident about what you do and how you do it, especially on a phone consultation. If there is a question you are asked which you don’t know the answer to don’t worry about it, seriously, it’s not an issue, confidently say “this is an excellent question, let me look into that for you and I’ll get back to you with an email summary within 24 hours” or whatever time you need to get the answer. Make a note, then move on. You don’t have to, nor are you even expected to know everything all the time, and the worry of being asked something you can’t answer can make you nervous and knock your confidence – it’s fine to not know everything immediately when you’re asked, and long as you have the “I’m on it” response.
Always follow up on anyone you want to work with – I usually do one follow up as a courtesy these days, for anyone who looks really interesting, you could do 2 or 3 until you get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. Mention in the 2nd or 3rd that it’s your last follow up, but if they are interested in working with you in the future, they can contact you anytime, and you’ll be happy to help. People want to work with people who want to work with them; if you skip the follow up process, they may assume you’re “just not that interested,” or worse, you simply can’t be bothered.
Charge What You’re Worth.
Don’t be afraid to state your price, whatever that may be, I once answered a question from a VA who was worried about “charging too much” for her services. It’s your business and because of this, really you can never charge too much, the important thing is to charge in accordance with your skill, service levels and experience. We would all like to eat in the best restaurant in town, but if you can’t afford it, you go to McDonalds and get a cheaper meal, clients will have to accept this too. If you state your rates, and you’re happy with them, but the potential client isn’t – do you seriously want to work with them anyway?
But Be Open To Flexibility.
This is something at your discretion – entirely. Say the guy went to the expensive restaurant, and say I own it, and the guy said, “Look, okay – I’m new in town, I have never eaten here before, and I’m looking for a place to eat lunch everyday for the next 6 months, could we negotiate a reduced rate for this first meal, just so I can try it out, then if everything goes okay, I’ll eat here everyday for the next 6 months?” Hell yeah, I would do it if I had a good feeling about them, I liked them, and wanted to serve them my food.
But here’s the thing…
I would also charge them a week of full price lunches in advance, and each week moving forward to avoid being shafted. It shouldn’t be a problem if their request was genuine. If we’re scratching backs, I’ll want mine scratched too. Remember, this is your party, your rules. Only do this with people you get a good feeling about, your instincts are usually always right.
Unique Selling Point.
If you don’t have at least one solid USP then you need to get yourself one. This is what will separate you out from the crowd and also give the client something to think about. Do you make a point of never missing a deadline? Then why not shout it from the rooftops as a USP? Often things we do which are a given to us, are not a given for a majority of the population. Do you always respond within 24-48 hours? Do you provide a free serviced and managed client area? Do you guarantee your proofreading work to be without errors, or you’ll fix it for free? Whatever you can think of that gives your service the edge, use it as a USP, don’t assume clients will always know you do these things.
Time to completely ditch the employee mentality, it will hold you back. You’re not a robot, you’re not on a job interview and you’re not even ‘trying’ to impress anyone, if you have to try too hard, then you’re not being yourself, and it means deep down you know the client might be looking for someone who is just not you… if that’s the case then it’s better they don’t work with you. You are looking to be honest, upfront and give good solid reasons why you’re the best for their requirements, but even if you’re the most amazing online business consultant, online business manager or virtual assistant on the planet, sometimes it’s just not to be.
In the industry today people are looking for real, genuine people they can trust to help them elevate their business. Believe in yourself, and your service, and it will carry across naturally to the client, just don’t force it too hard. If we want to be happy in our work which is obviously very important, we want the client to accept us for who we are, not how we want them to perceive us to be.
Smile & Be Positive.
Nobody likes a Debbie/Danny Downer.