A crucial step to growing your business and also gaining more fulfillment and joy from what you do as a sales professional or business owner is getting clear about what it is your clients fear most. Once you identify their deepest fears, you are then armed with what you need to begin having more impactful conversations that convert more business. On a bigger level, this deeper insight provides you what you need for creating unique processes in your business that will transform those fears and help you stand out from the competition and create life-long clients or customers that refer you even more business.
Now what I’m talking about is not learning some new “sales tactic” or playing mind games with your clients in order to win their business. What I am describing is a truly thoughtful and powerful way to add value to the lives of your clients unlike anyone else. It is about learning, and enjoying, having conversations with prospective clients that your competition isn’t willing to have, and providing a unique experience that leaves them saying, “Where were you the last time I needed your service?!”
The sad reason this works for me, and can work for you, is because most sales professionals and business owners are afraid to ask the tough questions and many simply just want to sell their widgets or a transaction. They are stuck being viewed as a commodity and are unsure how to escape this trap.
For those of us willing to commit the time and effort to identifying what our clients and customers truly desire beyond the product or service we sell, there is a tremendous opportunity to stand out from all others in your industry and no longer be commoditized, make more money with less effort, and have a bigger impact on those you serve. Simply by asking questions that peel back the layers of concerns and frustrations until you ultimately land on what scares them the most, whether it be personal fears, financial fears, or professional fears, your business AND life will dramatically improve.
So how do you apply this process and learn to transform fears?
First, think of every type of client you have. For my mortgage company, this could be a new home buyer or a new real estate agent or financial planner we want to partner with. A real estate professional has first time home buyers, move up buyers, investors, sellers, people downsizing to a smaller home, etc. A financial planner might break out their various types of clients by age group or size of their portfolio to manage. The key is each type of client has a different set of goals, concerns, opportunities, strengths and fears.
Start with one type of client and find a place you can think. (I know…not always easy!) You want to do this process yourself before actually meeting with the client. Get inside the head of this client and think of what concerns or frustrations exist for them. Go beyond the surface of trivial concerns or fears typically shared until you get to what you think their greatest fear is.
Let’s take a typical new home buyer as an example, since this is one of my areas of expertise. What are the initial concerns or fears they usually start with? Interest rates and loan fees typically are the top layer. If you are already decent at getting past those obstacles, often the next layer of concern is in regards to their ability to qualify for the mortgage to get the house they want. The discussions often center on income, or credit, and whether or not it will satisfy lending guidelines so that they can get pre-approved. Perhaps they are concerned about their ability to afford this new house. If you are asking the right questions to get them to this level of fear, you are doing well. Now it’s not simply about rates, and fees, and qualifying…they are beginning to show their lack of confidence in their decision to try and buy this new house. I call this, moving from the conversation of “What CAN you do?” to “What SHOULD you do?” This transition alone is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!
But let’s keep digging. What could be worse for this new home buyer than ultimately finding they can’t afford this new house and they decide to pull the plug? How about if they are already in contract, and find out they can’t qualify or get “cold feet” and sacrifice their earnest money? That’s pretty bad, right?
Keep digging. If you do, you might come to the same conclusion I have. The worst fear a new home buyer has, deep down, is facing a foreclosure in the not-so-distant future and losing everything. If you carry on this discussion long enough, I bet that losing their home and going through a painful and stressful foreclosure and possibly even a bankruptcy, is about as bad as it can get for them. As possible side-effects, we all know money problems can tear marriages apart and even leave lasting negative impressions on children when they grow up if they lived through tough financial times as kids.
No, I’m not using fear to talk people out of ever buying a home. I’m letting my clients know, “I get you. I understand what might keep you up at night. This is a BIG deal. I know there are questions, concerns, and genuine fears you have, (since we all have some) that you’re probably afraid of sharing with me or other mortgage lenders…so I’m going to bring them up for you to we can address them and focus on eliminating and transforming those fears into confidence!”
Their fears exist. It is a matter of whether or not you’d like them to come up at 2:00 a.m. when you are not around and you wonder why you never hear from them again, or if you want to address them personally, with empathy and passion, within your unique process. I’m encouraging you to have real, deep discussions with your prospective clients that get them to open up and share some of their deepest fears. And once you take them there, show them you have solutions that will transform those fears into moving forward with confidence…with whatever decision is best for them. This mindset, and the resulting conversations and unique solutions you develop, will transform your business.
The level to which you are able to transform their fears will be proportionate to the increase in income you see in your business and the joy you have in helping your clients and customers on an entirely new level that your competition doesn’t even know exists.