When your presentation needs a boost, the hidden persuaders come to the rescue

friday, 20 june of 2008

Hidden Persuaders

Keep these documents close at hand for when your presentation needs a boost

by Trey Ryder

Your prospect is in your office. You've explained everything in detail. Yet for some unknown reason, he hasn't agreed to move forward. Here are tools you can use to turn your prospect's hesitation into an enthusiastic Yes!

CREDIBILITY. These tools help overcome your prospect's hesitancy if it is due to his lack of trust in you or your ability to solve his problem or achieve his goal.

1. Written Schedule of Fees: Prospects feel more comfortable when they see your fees in writing. Some prospects assume lawyers set their fees based on what they think the prospect can afford. Handing your prospect a schedule of fees on paper helps overcome this skepticism.

2. Reprints of Articles You Wrote: Few things boost credibility as quickly as seeing published articles with your name in the by-line. Prospects immediately conclude you're an expert when they see that editors have published your writings. And the more well known the publication, the more credibility they attach to it.

3. Testimonials From Past Clients: Like published articles, comments from clients, colleagues and referral sources cause your credibility to soar. The more testimonials you have, the better. If a prospect is in doubt about hiring you, showing him 10, 20 or 50 testimonials melts away skepticism. (Check your rules of professional conduct. Not all bar associations allow lawyers to use testimonials.)

4. Client Service Guarantee: Show your client the guarantees you make in writing. You might guarantee the quality of your services, the highest level of personal attention, to return phone calls promptly, to meet all deadlines, to always have a lawyer available, not to exceed the quoted fee, and so forth.

5. Overview of Services: In some cases, prospects aren't entirely sure what you plan to do for them. By having a written overview of what you do for clients -- and a breakdown of the major steps under each service, you help your prospects see on paper what you will do. Also, by having these services in writing, you reinforce that what your prospect is asking you to do is consistent with what you do for many clients.

URGENCY. These tools help overcome your prospect's hesitancy if he knows he should take action, but his desire to delay outweighs his desire to move forward.

6. Actual Case Histories: Prospects are persuaded when they see that you have helped other clients who have situations similar to theirs. The more similar the case history is to your prospect's situation, the more persuasive it will be. Also, the more similar the client is to your prospect, the more your prospect will be swayed.

7. What Your Prospect Gains From Acting Now: List the many ways your prospect benefits from hiring your services today. You might call the document: How you benefit from retaining (your name) (or your firm name). Recite a case history about someone who took action immediately -- and the ways he and his family (or firm) benefited.

8. What Your Prospect Risks or Loses by Not Hiring You Today: List the many ways your prospect's situation can deteriorate and what he loses by not acting now. Recite a case history about someone who chose not to act -- and the terrible consequences that person paid. Emphasize the unpredictability of your prospect's situation and your sincere desire to minimize or eliminate his risk.

UNDERSTANDING. These tools help overcome your prospect's hesitancy if his reluctance is due to his lack of understanding about what you'll do or what outcome you can achieve.

9. Frequently Asked Questions: You help your client when you have a document that answers most questions prospects ask. The more questions you answer -- before your prospect raises the issues -- the more your prospect trusts that you are forthcoming with information. If your prospect has to draw information from you, you risk his concluding that you would not have disclosed these facts had he not asked.

10. Glossary: If your prospect doesn't understand the terms you use to describe what you'll do, your prospect might be happy to receive a glossary of relevant terms. Often, prospects won't admit when they don't understand. The more you do to help, the better they feel.

11. Outcomes: List on a sheet the various outcomes that could result from your efforts. Ask your prospect to assume that you will get a positive result, and then ask your prospect to identify whatever choices he will make at that point. By helping your prospect see past your efforts to future decisions he will face, he assumes you have already succeeded and is thinking far into the future.

UNINVOLVED. These tools help overcome your prospect's hesitancy if he feels distant or uninvolved in the process. In some cases, getting your prospect involved or making small decisions calms his nerves and helps him move forward.

12. Objectives: Hand your prospect a form that includes a list of the many objectives typical prospects want to achieve. Ask him to identify the objectives that are most important to him. This helps clarify to him what you'll do -- and helps him conclude that you understand what he wants to achieve.

13. Contact Information: Asking your prospect to provide you with his contact information gives his something easy to write down.

14. Other Facts You Need: Regardless of your area of law, you probably need some type of information from your prospect before you proceed. The easier it is for your prospect to provide this information, the more helpful it will be in calming his nerves and helping him move forward.

15. Minor Decisions: If you've read sales books, you may know the story of the car buyer who was afraid to make the expensive decision to buy a Mercedes. The salesperson asked, "What initials do you want me to mount on the driver's door?" The man responded with by giving his initials and, at that point, agreed to the major purchase. By asking the buyer to make a minor decision, which he perceived as no big deal, the salesperson effectively sold the car.

When you educate your prospect -- when he understands what you'll do -- when he understands what you'll charge -- and when he trusts you, your prospect has no reason not to move forward.

When you use education-based marketing, you don't need to "close the sale." The "sale" closes itself through your process of answering your prospect's questions.

Eventually, your prospect says, "What do I need to do to hire you?" You show your prospect where to sign and ask for a check, which by this time are the only logical next steps.

And you've won a new client.


© Trey Ryder

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