When Challenging Our Clients Beliefs Strengthen Connection
By John Burwell, Jr., Service & Sales Coach
Go ask any of your service techs if they made a good connection today with the customer and they will tell you yes. Next ask them, How? In most cases, you will get a very general response at best. Now ask them to give you 2 specific things they did to connect with the customer today? From the answers to these questions you will be able to determine how the tech made the connection from his view point. Additionally you will hear how you can help them get even stronger at connecting.
Here is what we know, none of our clients woke up this morning expecting to call the plumber, electrician, or HVAC guy today. Knowing this helps us to see how important establishing a connection is.
Sometimes connecting with a client means challenging their beliefs. Assuming that you have worked hard asking the right questions, thoroughly checking the situation and the system of your client, you have invested a lot of time and energy and have earned the right to recommend the work you have identified.
Let’s fast forward to the kitchen table where you have discussed the solutions you identified and the benefits they will bring to the client and their family. At times we may get resistance here for a variety of reasons with the most common being price. Fair enough, we’re asking them to make an investment that can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars and we want them to make that decision now. We have to help them see this purchase as an investment not just spending money. Here is where we may need to challenge our clients thinking.
First we need to clarify if the issue is really the money.
2 questions that reframe a customer’s perspective on price
1. When making a decision about this type of investment is money the main thing?
Wait for their response which almost all the time will be “yes.”
2. How important is safety, quality, and workmanship to you with this decision?
Wait for their response which will likely be “very important.”
The key here is to wait for a response after the first question before asking the second question. We must separate these two questions by allowing a response. People like to feel like they are in control of the situation. Allowing them time to respond gives them control. You can then ask which is more important. They will likely tell you both. We all know that doing something cheaper means something has to be sacrificed. The client may not fully understand that. Help them understand through agreement questions.
“Would you agree that to get something done cheap you have to sacrifice quality, workmanship, or safety, cut corners?” I have never seen a client disagree with this.
This process creates buy-in from the client. Tying that buy-in back to the answers from the questions you asked them earlier and to your qualifications will position the client to agree on moving forward on the solutions they need.