It was 2003, when I first started my coaching and acupuncture practice...before Jesse and I started Thrive Academy.
I'm at a local networking event and I’m feeling pretty anxious about getting some new clients because the amount of money I was making wasn't even covering my bills.
I start talking to a woman who asks me what I do. I tell her I’m a licensed acupuncturist and she starts “leaning in." (You know that feeling when someone seems genuinely interested?)
Then she asks me, “How much do you charge?”
And everything comes to a screeching halt...
I sort of stand there like a deer caught in the headlights and then blurt out, “$60/session.”
I can tell she senses my awkwardness and just like that, it's all over...
No more leaning in and the connection we had begun to build is instantly gone.
She asks for my business card and hands me hers and then she walks away and, of course, I never hear from her again.
If you’re a coach or holistic practitioner and you’ve ever gone to a networking event, I bet this has happened to you at least once or twice.
After so many years of trial and error in our own businesses, Jesse and I have since taught over 25,000 coaches and practitioners how to gracefully transition from the potential of a lost client into an opportunity for a loyal client.
First of all, you should know that when this happens it’s actually a REALLY good sign. It’s likely they’re a good potential new client and interested in what you have to offer them. But if you handle the conversation poorly, you’ll lose them.
What’s the solution?
#1 Look for the Match
At the Client Attraction Summit we teach our signature system called, Heartselling™, which allows you to have an authentic conversation with a potential client that has them asking to work with you, rather than “hard-selling” them into a “yes”.
Taking the time to find out what they’re looking for is key to this successful approach. But when they ask, “How much do you charge?” before you’ve had the chance to see if you’re really a match, it can be awkward.
They don’t have all the information they need to make a decision…and you don’t want them making their decision solely on price.
The problem is that if you answer the question right away there isn’t any context for them to hear an answer that makes sense to their needs.
This is especially true for businesses that provide several offers or options for their services.
You have no basis for an answer and the potential client has no basis to make a decision.
If the person is just bargain shopping they’re not going to be a good client for you anyway, right?
However, this doesn’t mean the person CAN’T be a good client.
But if you answer their question about price right away, you may never know.
#2 Here’s how to go from lost client to loyal client
When you get this question too early in the conversation, here is what you can say: “It depends. I find that different people require different levels of support, so I’d like to discover a little bit more about what you’re looking for, so I can make the best recommendation.”
And then you schedule a free or low-cost consultation with them in which you can talk with them more deeply about what they’re looking for, where they are now and what’s missing for them in their life (or business or whatever is relevant to the service you provide).
You then share with them how you can help them, and make a recommendation based on your experience.
This is where the graceful transition from lost client to loyal client comes in.
With this approach you are able to find out if it’s a match for you and this potential client to work together. You’ll have ample time (and their full attention because they’ve committed to a session with you) to explain how you can help them, so that once they hear the price they can make an informed decision – one that is much more likely to be a “YES.”
#3 Now it’s your turn...
Can you see yourself answering a potential client in this way? How does it feel when you say these words?
It might feel awkward or evasive at first, but remember, you are simply opening the door for a more in depth conversation so that you can truly discover whether or not you can help this person.
Here are a few recommended action steps if you’re ready to give this a try...
1. Pick an upcoming networking event and circle it on your calendar
2. Practice saying the answer I’ve provided above out loud until you are completely comfortable with it
3. Role play this scenario with a mentor, buddy coach, or friend
4. As you’re getting ready to attend the event, release any attachment to the outcome. You don’t want to feel anxious or needy before you even walk in the door!
5. Relax and have the intention of being of service