A few weeks ago I began a blog series titled "The Three Systems of an Advisory Business." To recap, they are: Marketing, Service, and Operations. Today, let's focus on the second system, Service. While system one is intended to get them in the door, the purpose of the system two is to acquire and retain. This week we'll discuss client acquisition.
Communicating Your Value, and Values
Once the prospect has responded to you how will you convey your value to them? More important, how will you convey your value in the area they need it most? Before you meet, consider sending out a "pre-meeting" questionnaire. It shouldn't be anything too lengthy and it should focus entirely on their needs. The key is to find out what they are seeking. After all, if they had already found it, you wouldn't be meeting. The very fact that they are willing to meet with you is an indication that they are looking for someone to solve their problem, however large or small it may be. Therefore, you should have a well-defined process in place so that when you are face to face, you won't have to "wing it." Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
You should begin with open-ended questions. What brings you here? What are your most important goals? What keeps you up at night? Then, let them talk. As they do, listen carefully and they'll tell you everything you need to know.
When it's your turn to talk, address their concerns. Not necessarily with specific answers, but with the assurance that you've helped several others in similar situations (I'm assuming that's true). Then, let them ask questions about you and your practice. Never forget they are looking for someone to help them. Also, never forget that they don't care how much you know until they know how much you care! I know we've all heard that, but sometimes we need to be reminded.
One final note on acquiring the prospect. Their first impression goes beyond you personally. It extends to your place of business and you might think it begins when they arrive at your door, though in truth, , it begins with your website. Make sure it's professional. Keep your parking lot clean. Make sure the areas of your office that they'll see are neat and tidy. Your surroundings will say a lot about who you are. Make sure you send the right message. You should be organized, efficient, courteous, professional, competent and responsive.
Next week, we'll discuss client retention.