One of the brilliant things about working online as a Virtual Assistant is that you get to work one-on-one with so many different and amazing people. They come from all different walks of life, countries, backgrounds and they all have different levels of skills and experience. One of the things that all these people have in common is that they can work with a VA. No matter how different they all are, no matter what their business is, a VA could have a place in it.
But we can’t expect ALL of them to understand what a virtual assistant is right? And even if we do go to great lengths at crafting a superb and comprehensive elevator pitch, which makes perfect sense to us, we still shouldn’t expect all of them to understand what the message actually is first time round.
When I literally had just launched my business I was in town in a print shop, I overheard a guy at the till, he was asking if the shop owner knew anybody who designed business cards, because they provided a service printing them – I guess it seemed an obvious choice for him to ask there. I was on him like white on rice as he left, and I said “I couldn’t help overhearing you are looking for someone to design your business cards”, he said “yes do you know someone?”, I said “yes me, I am a virtual assistant, here is my card.” He looked at the card and said, “What is a virtual assistant?” – so I went into all the explanations I had found online about assisting people at their fingertips using the latest technology, giving them the support they needed to succeed etc… etc… And he was looking at me like I was wasting his time.
You know the problem was not with him, it was me, I was not talking this guy’s language, I didn’t know any better back then, but what I should of said is, “Yes, I design business cards, amongst many other things”- this was a potential client, this is what he wanted to hear, and even if it’s tunnel vision, I could always have gone into the finer points of the other services I offer later on… I did eventually end up designing his business cards, but I definitely took the scenic route getting there.
Learning The Language of The Potential Client
If you are finding that it’s a struggle obtaining clients, because you go through the motions of explaining what a virtual assistant is – one of the problems, is that many people are only considering in their mind what they think they need, and believe me, not everyone is thinking they need a virtual assistant, even after you tell them what a virtual assistant is, but if you can corner exactly what they do need, and solve just one problem for them from your repertoire of services and skills, then you can build on the rest later, and as they come to work with you they will get to know you more and you will get to know them and how you can help them. Then at every opportunity find another problem to solve for them, and you’ll soon be their “go to” person for anything they need relating to this area of their business. Patience is a virtue, I appreciate it can be a little frustrating at times, but having patience with your potential clients, to help them slowly come to understand what it is you are really capable of, can be a way to get your foot in the door, and develop a growing long term relationship.
By trying to explain too much to a potential client who has never heard of virtual assistants you could end up sending them into overwhelm with the explanation, and they could end up feeling that what you do is beyond what they need. When in actual fact that may not be the case. I have had clients come to me for some of the smallest things, over a relatively short period of time, that have turned into the biggest clients. 2 hours a week updating blog posts can turn into 20 when they realise that you can not only update their blog posts, but you can also manage their social media, their website updates, the transcription of their video blogs etc… Did I try to present this bigger picture to them immediately – no, because it wasn’t necessary, it’s not what they wanted at the time, and in many cases, I myself need the time with the client to fully understand myself what I am able to do for them, all you need to do is help them with the “here and now,” and work on what else you can do for them as time goes on.
Next time you find someone curious about what you do, and you think they could be potential client material, don’t focus on yourself, try first of all finding out what it is they do, then use your brilliant VA skills to tailor your explanation to them, “talk their language” and you will make a breakthrough with nearly every potential client you speak to. Not ever by telling them what you are, but by telling them what it is that you can do for them as an individual and for their particular business.