Successful business managers and professionals understand the value of their first conversation with a client. They know how crucial it is for a client to feel comfortable and how it can lead to a potential sign-up. However, a few professionals don’t put in the effort required to make things work, i.e., they approach their conversations with nervousness, apprehension, or even dread. To make matters worse, some professionals initiate their conversations with their clients, talking about the price.
Unfortunately, communication and business development skills are not something people are taught at school, and the focus is mostly on the craft and its associated technicalities. Therefore, without any fault of their own, business managers and other professionals find it challenging to build a strong connection with their clients.
So, how can managers improve their people skills and change their outlook on these conversations? The first thing is to make sure the client feels acknowledged, and someone genuinely wants to help and not make money out of them. Secondly, maintain a constant connection with the clients, show how much you care about them and their concerns.
Regardless of the industry, the primary job of a service provider is to make the clients and potential clients feel confident about the brand and its services. Here are a few tactics that can help professionals connect better with their clients while initiating a conversation with them, whether in-person or on-call.
Regardless of the industry, nature of work, the client or anything, the first thing you need to do is great the client. A simple “Hello, Good evening and How are you?” goes a long way, something that novice professionals often miss. Greeting a client allows the conversation to start at a lighter yet professional note.
Discuss How They Want To Proceed
An easy way to initiate a conversation with a client is to ask them how they want things to move forward. It allows them to express their ideas more effectively without feeling overwhelmed or dominated. The client should be able to visualize a future with a company without feeling pressured during decision making.
Not only does this build their confidence in the service provider, but it also helps the professional in tailoring an action plan based on the client’s needs. Remember, never to put an ultimatum on their decision making as it adds a significant amount of pressure on them and may cause cold feet. When it comes down to spending money, it is easier for clients to feel skeptical and consider other options. When managers and other business professionals undertake a client-centric approach, chances of success become significantly higher.
In Don Gaber’s book, How to Start and Conversation and Make Friend, he emphasized on the fact that the core of any good conversation is the connection between two parties. According to Marjorie Corman Aaron, most clients prefer to work with people who can make them feel cared for. All professionals must try to look at things from the client’s perspective. Remember, no client likes to work with someone who sees them as a money-making opportunity.
The key to effective communication is listening. It’s essential to give the client enough space to speak and share all the information like their concerns, their problems, and their expectations from the company. Take notes and prepare to follow up questions; this is what people called a “meaningful conversation.”
Never spend too much time talking about the company and its accomplishments. Don’t try to sell them in the first meeting, there is a time and place for everything and knowing when to say what sets a brand apart. Try to know the client first; the information is going to help deliver better service.
Ask Them about Their Needs
When clients are given space to speak about their needs, it shifts their focus from their fears. When clients share their needs out loud, they begin to acknowledge that someone is interested in helping them, and that is how customer loyalty is earned.
Asking about the client’s needs helps in learning their expectations, allowing service providers to explain how they fit into that picture. Please don’t assume that the client already knows all about the brand and the services; in most cases, they are clueless, and most of what they know comes from the internet.
Know the Audience
Dealing with a client can sometimes be a bit challenging, especially for an inexperienced professional. However, the client doesn’t care about that, and all they want is to be satisfied with the service. To get better, try to learn more about the target audience and what their preferences are. Knowledge is Power; use it to your advantage.
In the beginning, stages, stay focused on particular clients. An effective way to zero in on specific clients and cases is to collect data and analyze what works best. Have a website? See which pages get the most traffic and where clients are spending the majority of their time. Check if people read the blogs, and if they find them interesting and useful.
Don’t Talk Money
Clients, regardless of the industry, are always cost-conscious. If we were to believe everything the internet has to say about the client-brand relationship, it boils down to pricing. During a conversation with a client, price should rarely be the first thing to be mentioned. The most important thing is to build a relationship.
Yes, clients say things like, “We are keeping one eye on the costs” or “Do I wish the cost was lower? I hope it is”. Don’t start giving them a discount or cost-cutting offers after hearing statements such as these. Try convincing them that the service is worth their investment.
A business professional or service provider’s job is to earn the client’s trust and make them understand the worth of service. Initiating a conversation effectively can regain confidence in themselves and the services being offered, which is an essential pillar of any professional relationship.
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