We all have one or two great stories to share where we’ve been able to close a big deal in just one meeting. But the reality is that winning a business or HNW wealth client usually takes longer than that.
It takes time to build comfort and rapport that can then mature into trust and credibility. Only once you’ve achieved this connection can you close the deal.
What happens to you over a longer sales cycle? I can say from experience that I’ve lost focus, become impatient or frustrated, and often enough, sabotaged a relationship because of that.
Why aren’t they getting back to me? What’s the delay? I’ve made the case and they seemed really keen – what’s going on?
It can be challenging to be patient and stay the course. It’s easy to turn to the next ‘shiny prospect’ and drop the ball on this one. But the art of maintaining a full sales funnel is about keeping momentum going on multiple opportunities at once.
We need both credibility and trust in order for a new client to say yes. This is predictable. And since it’s predictable, you can put a repeatable, trackable process in place and follow it to success. I love this!
Here’s a simple but profound quote from LinkedIn expert TR Garland:
Credibility is achieved when they know what you do and that you’re good at it.
Read that over a few times. Inside this quote are the seeds of your plan for momentum!
Create a chart. Put the name of your prospective client in the left column. This chart will measure your credibility based on that quote. Identify milestones in your business that build from 1st contact to them knowing what you do, to them trusting that you are good at it.
Ask yourself these questions:
What are the steps to introducing them to what I do? What’s important for them to know about my unique approach? How can I articulate it in a way that is compelling for them?
List two or three concrete actions you can take to answer these questions for each prospect. Standardize your process so you can repeat it each time. Put these actions into your chart.
How will they know that I am good at what I do?
Of course you telling them you’re good isn’t enough. Ask yourself – what does it take before you trust that someone is good at what they do?
Here are a few tips:
Update your branding.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and includes your certifications and years of experience. Once it is, you can include the link to your page in an email to them.
Choose a few specific stories you can share about how you have helped similar clients. Don’t lie. If you are working to serve a new demographic (like specialized professions or a higher net worth clientele) and you don’t yet have those stories, lean on your company, get a real story and use the word ‘we’. Put ‘share stories’ into your chart.
Collect verbal testimonials.
Ask a few of your best clients if you can mention the work you’ve done together. Always gain permission and tell your prospects that you have. This is demonstrating trustworthiness. Add ‘share testimonials’ into your chart.
Build in ways for your prospect to test you.
You can demonstrate trust and credibility by follow through. By doing what you said you would do, when you said you would do it. Offer to contact someone or find out a piece of information for them. Then do exactly that. Put ‘follow-through test 1 and test 2’ into your chart.
Hold something back.
Don’t give all the information right away. Instead, share some compelling info, and then say you’ll have the answer to one of their gripping questions in three days or ‘by next Wednesday’. Face time is critical in making sales. This will give you another reason to see them again.
Schedule a plan to achieve these milestones for each relationship. You will create momentum in a longer sales cycle that moves the relationship forward to a close!