What’s My Best Advice for Handling Calls from Prospective Clients?
Here’s my best advice for handling calls from prospective clients:
Just shut up and listen. Simple as that. The prospective client does the talking. You do the listening. That’s all there is to it.
People Want You to Listen to Them
The person who is calling has a story that they want to tell you. Something very serious is going on that they’re upset about. They need you to listen to their story, they want to be heard, and they want to know that you care. The best way to show that you care is to listen.
They’re not calling so that you can immediately start telling them how wonderful you are, how you can solve their problems, and how they should hire you. Forget about all of that. Stop “selling.” Just stop. They don’t want to hear it. I hate to break it to you, but quite frankly, prospective clients are far more interested in having you listen to them than they are in hearing what you have to say.
Focus on Listening
The next time a prospective client calls your office, focus all your effort on listening to what the person is saying. It’s ok to ask a few questions now and then to help guide the conversation, clarify your understanding, and show that you’re paying attention. But keep the questions to a bare minimum. Let the client talk as much as possible.
I think listening is very easy. I don’t see why it’s so difficult for some people. For me, it takes no effort, it’s natural, and it’s the right thing to do when someone needs your help to solve their problem. This is the number one thing that I do when I’m on a call with a prospective client.
Although I find listening to be very easy, it’s hard for a lot of people. Some people just can’t resist the urge to open their big mouth and start blabbing. If listening is hard, you need to get outside of your own head. Stop thinking about yourself and the next thing you’re going to say. Get inside the other person’s head. Focus 100% on what they’re saying. The call is about them, not you.
You might think I’m crazy, but I think listening accounts for about 95% of getting a prospective client to hire me. The other 5% might have something to do with what I say during the call and the advice
that I provide. I think that most of my prospective clients have decided to hire me before I say a damn thing. That’s because I listen to them when no one else will.
You have to understand the problem before you can offer a solution, don’t you? In order to understand someone’s problem, you have to listen to them. The more you listen, the more you understand, the better solution you can offer.
Let the Prospective Client Talk All They Want
Let the prospective client talk for as long as they want. Don’t interrupt them. This is not a time when you should be “efficient” by keeping the call as short as possible. The prospective client should determine how long the call lasts, not you. Let them talk themselves into hiring you.
Let the prospective client say everything that they need to say. Let them exhaust themselves. Make sure they’ve gotten everything off their chest. Then, and only then, should you respond to what they’ve said by providing your thoughts, advice, and solutions. This is the last step in showing that you care about their problem.
Spend time listening carefully to your next prospective client. See what happens. They might hire you on the spot just because you listened.
If you would like us to listen to your story, please feel free to call us at (408) 637-5413.