If you or your organization are offering any kind of professional services, this story might be insightful to you.
As a consultant, I get a lot of requests that sound something like this:
“Hey Simon, we like what you do. Is it possible to jump on a call to discuss how we can work together?”
You probably know what I am talking about and also have your own version of this situation.
This can be an inbound lead from your website, a PM on social media, an email, a carrier pigeon... You get the idea.
How do you respond?
Let me guess: You are happy about the request and the new lead. You get on the call and maybe 2 out of 10 of these requests actually become paying clients.
Am I about right?
Btw: the important word here is “paying”.
That means you just wasted 8 hours, went through an emotional rollercoaster, and now have two clients that are more or less happy with you.
So the question is: How can you or your sales team stop wasting your time? How can you get top-quality clients? Some that not only pay you but are happy to have found you and to work with you?
And that is where the doctors come into play.
(I am writing this in Spring 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so let's see how this is going to age…)
Ok, let’s go: Please do me a favor and think back to the last time you went to the doctor.
I bet you had some form of pain or sickness and went there so that the doctor can figure out what it is and how to fix it.
And if your doctor does a good job he or she will take some time to check you, (“Say aaaah…” remember?) and will ask you some questions before any diagnosis is made.
You will then be presented with a few possible treatments, medication, and therapy options you can choose from.
Of course, every good doctor will help you to make a good decision in your best interest.
And now comes the important part:
The doctor gets paid, no matter what you do.
Maybe you follow the advice and change your lifestyle and diet. Maybe you don’t and you continue with your damaging behavior.
Maybe you choose one of the presented therapies.
It doesn’t matter. A doctor doesn’t get paid for the treatment itself.
In fact, most of the time the nurse is giving you the shot. Or you go to the pharmacy to get your pills. Correct?
So why is it that the doctor gets paid the most?
Because a doctor can find the problem and present a solution.
There are many pharmacies where you can buy pills. But there are only a few doctors that can prescribe them.
So what can you learn from this?
Be the doctor, not the pharmacy!
If a potential client comes to you, there is one main reason why. He or she doesn’t know what treatment or pill is the right one for them.
And it takes an expert to figure out which one is the best in that specific, individual situation.
Because maybe they don’t need a pill, but surgery? Who can say before you had a look at the problem?
Ok, enough metaphors for now.
How can you implement this in real life?
Start charging for your expertise!
If someone wants to talk to you to discuss “if you can help them”or to “pick your brain”, charge a fee for that call.
Crazy idea, I know. But hear me out.
That will cause a few things to happen:
8 out of 10 people will NOT book the call and will NOT pay your fee. That is perfect.
You just avoided a bunch of tire kickers, window shoppers, and hypochondriacs.
You will also differentiate yourself from all your competitors who offer a “free strategy call” or another form of sales call to get clients.
You know it is a sales call. They know it is a sales call. Everybody knows it is a sales call.
Because you will try to sell your solution, instead of actually diagnosing first.
If you sell websites, you will try to sell them a website.
If you sell legal services, you will try (consciously or unconsciously) to sell them your legal services.
But if you charge for the call itself, you don’t have to do that.
You already got paid. You don’t care if they actually buy from you at the end. You don’t have to sell but can focus on your clients' needs.
Isn’t that what you want?
To deliver high-quality work to high-quality clients that appreciate what you do for them?
In my experience, from the 2 people that actually pay your fee and get on a call with you, usually one becomes a client that actually needs your services.
The other one becomes a spokesperson for you.
Do it like a doctor; in a nutshell:
Start diagnosing, not selling.
Start charging a fee for your thinking/diagnosing/expertise.
People come to you as an expert because they have a question Google can’t answer, so you better charge for that answer.
You probably won’t become as big as Google, but it is a starting point.
And if the question is: “Can you help me fix my problem?”
Your answer is: “Let’s find out. I charge X for that.”
If you do it like a doctor, people will respect you more and pay you top dollar.
And now you have two options:
You can continue the way you do it. (Because this is how it has always been done, right?)
Or you try it for three months.
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