“I need a marketing consultant.” “I need someone to manage my calendar.” “I need a new car.”
This is what our clients say, but is it really what they’re buying? Nope. Not really.
We think that the sales process is about uncovering needs. But that’s just the beginning. If you stop there, you could easily lose business, and worse, charge far less than you could if you really understood what you’re selling.
Let’s use an example.
Sarah is a professional organizer. An attorney wants to hire her to manage his calendar. Sarah knows that under every need is a desire to fix or prevent some discomfort or pain. So she asks him a couple of questions to find out why he needs help with his calendar. He tells her that and he’s mismanaged his own calendar and is worried he’s going to miss important meetings and court dates. Sarah could stop there, knowing now that her job is to help prevent this from happening.
But Sarah’s wiser than that. She knows that there’s more below the surface. Perhaps even something that keeps him up at night. Why else would he consider hiring someone for something he could easily do himself? So, our smart organizer asks “What would happen if you missed appointments and court dates?” to which our disorganized attorney replies “I could be sued for malpractice and lose my license. I’m terrified of that happening.”
Aha!! Sarah’s uncovered the real reason he wants to hire her – to prevent the painful and costly prospect of losing his livelihood and reputation. That’s a far cry from “manage my calendar.” One’s an administrative task that can only demand a limited fee. The other, preventing a malpractice suit and loss of his license, is invaluable. What do you think our attorney will pay Sarah now that he’s identified her true value?
What would your clients pay when you help them to see what they’re really buying?