To be truly successful at getting new clients, your passion for your work must be accompanied by three essential skills:
- The ability to ask provocative questions.
- The ability to listen with total focus on your client.
- The ability to relate compelling stories and metaphors.
In this article, I’ll focus on the last of these skills:
The ability to tell compelling stories. Testimonials about your service help you get clients, because human beings are hardwired to love stories. Even before people developed a written language, they told stories with cave paintings. Much later, humans still gathered around the campfire to hear stories of great exploits. Sure, you may lack a campfire around which to gather your prospects so that you can weave tales of the great service you provide. But you can still tap into human beings’ deep-rooted love of stories and turn wary prospects into ready clients.
My client Michael, a financial professional, is a master of sales stories. Here’s how one of his most effective stories goes: “Joe, your situation is very similar to that of another client I’m helping. He approached me a few years ago, also having lost money in the recession. What his last advisor had done to him was almost identical to what yours did to you. He too was struggling with whether or not to get back into the market. But after we talked, he decided he couldn’t let a past mishap get in the way of his planning for retirement. We’ve been working together successfully ever since!” It’s a rare instance when a prospective client isn’t swayed by one of Michael’s stories.
Michael also uses metaphors in his stories. One of his clients had a small retirement fund and asked whether he thought she could handle it without an advisor. “Sure you could,” Michael told her, “but you’d be like a leaf on a rushing stream. With no rudder and no one to steer, you’d be rushing toward whatever result fate had in store for you.” Michael delivered the excellent “steering” service he promised, and the woman remained a loyal client.