Have you ever given a presentation to a client only to find out later that your best advice was taken and implemented without you?
It’s important to be aware that some clients like “using” sales people for free ideas and free work.
This wastes your precious time, and you need the client to value your time a lot more than this
To reduce this problem from happening, you can do the following:
1. Often sales people think they need to be endlessly generous to make the sale happen. This does help in terms of building (1) generosity / reciprocity and (2) proof of competence, but it’s not efficient because some people are not ready to buy and may see you as desperate. Savvy clients can take advantage of this and use you to fish for “free advice and information”. If your goal is to break $20k/mo – $50k/mo at your agency then focus your time on discovery. The more time you spend on understanding, the better you can build rapport and trust, and the better you can deliver a laser focused presentation, and actually deliver high impact results for the client. This stage is so important that some high performers spend days on discovery alone. The more discovery you do, the more trusted and valuable your advice becomes. It’s a win-win and they aren’t getting your work for free!
2. They need to realize UPFRONT that you are putting a significant amount of effort in, and it would normally cost $500 – $2000 for this research. (Ideally you want them to pay for this research) … But if you are trying to be generous and you’d like to reduce the chance of wasting your effort, then you can ask them to commit to reciprocate your effort FIRST by asking: “I’m quite busy working with clients this week, but if I clear some time out of my schedule and spend the next 4-5 days doing research for your company and put together a custom report for Thursday, and if the solution makes sense and fits your budget, what happens next?” (Let them explain the next steps. If they are not clear with you about paying for your solution, or not clear about the next steps, then you may be able to detect that they are not ready to commit). You can also do “engagement tests” by asking for micro commitments DURING the week you are working “for free” to see how much they are GIVING BACK in return. This test shows if their level of interest is genuine, and can save you from big headaches.
3. Instead of giving them something they can steal from you, give them something they can’t steal, but still increases your (1) generosity / reciprocity and (2) proof of competence. For example you can show the typical solution and why this typical solution won’t work in their unique situation. This will position you as the expert and engage them even more than normal. Show them exactly what problems there are with the typical approach, but show how your company has a unique solution involving “XYZ” that has worked in the past, and make sure to back this up by giving case studies. This gives value, positions you as the expert, creates a hook so they will be curious for more — making them more interested in working with you — and you shape their buying process, eliminating competitors.
4. Ideally you don’t want to do the work for free, so charge for it if possible, even if it’s a small amount. This shows them you value your time, and shows you whether or not they are a serious client.
Does this help?
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