How do I get clients to take the first step and sign up for my services?
I am a small business consultant and offer a one hour free meet & greet meeting. I find potential clients want my advice, but when it comes to actually paying for my services they don't sign up. How can I get them to take the first step and sign up?
I have been in your shoes! Just know the first step is to realize you are a business. As much as you want to share your knowledge and expertise with others, this IS YOUR BUSINESS. During the first hour, listen to your clients, take notes. At the end of this hour, let the clients know what areas you have expertise and are willing to offer advice. Restate your charges while assuring them of your experience in dealing with their areas of concern. Finally, have them sign a contract for services outlining what you are able and willing to provide - with the fee expectations.
We all want to "save the world", however, this is a business for you and you have to ensure you are paying your bills as well.
It has my good fortune to be able to reach out to former employers and clients to let them learn about my services and my availability to them. Even long ago relationships can be warmed up and reignited.
in my experience for my first meet with new customer, i will gave them big discount or offer profitable package of my services, but if that was a very potential client i will gave them free of charge and i'm sure most of them will be interesting.
In my experience, it's best to limit the account of free consultation time that you dish out. 99% off all impressions are made within the first three minutes of meeting someone, so my recommendation is to get in, make a memorable impact and leave a business card on your way out. Offering something more then just your services is also a crucial part of securing a client, you have to give them a reason to start a relationship with you! Being lighthearted and easy going, or finding common things you both can talk about are just a few of the top of my head. Wish you all the best in your future endeavors!
I would not give advice that is Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, etc. until they have paid. I would outline what you desire to assist them with for their company's growth in general terms. In giving this one free hour, depending on how detailed you are with them, this does a disservice to your expertise. A consultation in my opinion should not include any specific advice or you lose money, and business.
I would say to shorten your meet and greet time to 15 to 30 minutes. Then tell them you have a 5 step strategy that would work great for them but only share 1 or 2 of them. In order to get the rest of the steps they have to sign up.
Meet and greet is great - as the others say, don't give too much away otherwise why would they come to you? Also, remember the power of silence. People generally hate silence and will do anything to fill the gap. State your business proposal then wait - and practice saying this before the meeting - you want to be friendly and not nervous or demanding. Don't keep talking and don't apologise.
You don't get them to. You don't convince them. They have to do that. Your job is to help them see the value. If you offer enough value (in their eyes - your opinion is irrelevant to their decision), they will take the next step. If you are seeing interest, but not getting sales, review how you are explaining the services. Center your discussions around outcomes, results, and value to the client. When you get this right, they'll sign.
Instead of giving away your talent, use a pay only for results strategy.
Send a contract to clients and not proposals. Also have a stop loss on each client after you reach you set time move on to next client.
Why would I sign up if you give it away free? I can tell you from experience that free isn't a good way to sell. You can do free if you are presenting to a large group of prospects but a free meeting where you are an unpaid consultant just doesn't work. Here's the critical thing to understand, as a business owner your first job is as a salesperson. Unless you have strong experience selling I would highly recommend you take some sales training so you have an opportunity to sell your services rather than give them away and hope you impress enough to create a sale.
Small businesses are notoriously tight with their money. One option is to register with a development funder and join their panel. Another is to run information session for a number of people simultaneously so that their individual rate is affordable. Your free advice should be conditional on ongoing business if the advice meets their initial requirements. Get them to sign a commitment. If they don't then it is not worth spending that one hour with them. Worst case scenario; you are in the wrong market.
I would hold back on giving them "solution" advice, just review their situation at that M&G session, tell them you know how to "fix" their problem(s), give them an example or two of how you did this for other clients, and say: "I'd love to help you, can I have your business?" - and then - DO NOT SPEAK TILL THEY RESPOND!!!
BTW, on a similar note, I just checked your website and it suffers a common marketing malady: not enough feeling and not enough focus.
I have an MBA, 30+ years of systems and operations work, APICS certifications - yada yada - I could say all those things too - but...Wouldn't it be better to describe a couple common business operations "problem/solution" stories on the front page showing how you solved them and are better than your competition?
When SMBs have problems they use related keyword to look for solutions and want to see resources (people) that can relate to their problem, recognize their "pain", and deliver a solution.
Do you have any endorsements from previous clients, stating clearly why they are thrilled with your work? For instance, if your previous clients are raving about how much money you made them, or how much you helped them grow their business, or how much better things are going now that they have a strategic plan, etc. you become less of an ambiguous risk. What are the top three deliverables you are selling, and what separates you from the multitudes in your space?
Cathy, I won't cover ground that others have discussed. If you want to learn how to have conversations that turn into clients who pay, I strongly recommend you read SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. This book has been around for 20+ years and in my opinion is still the best consultative selling book on the market. I use Neil's techniques religiously which is why my coaching practice is far ahead of many of my colleagues.
This is the problem consultants have faced since the beginning of time. My advice from 20 years of personal experience is you have to get them to see and feel their major pain problem and how much that pain will cost them financially if they do not get it fixed. A question to ask is, if you do not get that issue resolved now, how much is it going to cost your business in lost income, extra expenses, lack of competitive advantage...whatever that cost issue may be for that particular business problem. Then, let them know have solved this exact issue for other clients and you can solve it for them. Finally, you need to ask them if they want to continue experiencing this pain and financial bleeding or if they would like you to fix it now and make their life easier. For me to get started, just sign here...
Hey Cathy. Take all this with a grain of salt. Straight up, you're going to have to take a sales training course. For fast and immediate knowledge that won't turn you into a snake charmer, rather someone who will teach your to EARN the business vs. *get* the business, take anything by Jeffrey Gitomer. Online, YouTube, what ever. Gitomer has a ton of great value on his YouTube channel.
Amara Rose - below - is likely right, you could be giving them too much info. No need to hire you if you just game me all the answers.
A *free* meet & greet has never worked for me. I learned to charge a nominal fee (say, $40, to cover wine, water and nice food as well as a quaint venue - then offer some relevant info. Explain the what, not the how.
If you want fast an inexpensive...head over to Jeffrey Gitomer's website, books, and youtube channel.
If you want fast and specific sales training...I work with small business owners just like you, helping them to build, design and scale a profitable business so they can life life on your terms. Click on my profile and you can find all the relevant links to my business.
Lastly. Sales MUST become of your core competencies. I just viewed your website and it looks like you offer a lot of great value. The value of your service doesn't matter if you're not able to earn the business. Thus, sales needs to be one of your core competencies...and all due respect, you're not going to learn what you need to learn here on mosaicHUB. [insert kind an empathetic face as I say this]
If you would like to learn more - feel free to connect with me.
Don't give away the kitchen sink. Put together an assessment that helps you and them see the problem and offers them a taste of what you can do, but leaves them wanting more.
☆I Believe Free Does Not Exist☆Real Value Does and Is Palpable or It is Not Real Value☆
♤Are You Setting and Controlling the Frame?
♤Do You believe You Deserve the Pay?
& -->Big One <--
♤Are You a Habitual Consumer of Free Services Without Signing Up?
It is always a problem trying to land new clients. What I tell people is that you have to market your “value proposition.” In other words what is the ROI for the potential client.