All of us want to be respected in our field(s), seen as a authority figure, and thought to be the smartest one in the room about said topic -- and then charge a premium price. After all, who doesn’t want to work with somebody who has all of the answers, right?
Truthfully, it’s a lot deeper than that.
It all comes down to getting that coveted first client. When you get your first client, you know what works and how to get another. You have someone to provide social proof, and you have a case study for your service. You can literally reverse engineer your process, refine it and put it to work again.
But it all starts with that first client.
However, the work for getting your first client requires building real and engaging relationships with your target market. This time the engagement focus is on you, it’s about how you interact with your customer base.
Before we dive into what these each mean, let’s first add a little old school business principle to this new wave of entrepreneurship. As a business owner you're either in the B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to customer) market. Meaning, you either sell directly to businesses or directly to customers. Although models in each of these arenas are evolving, the common characteristics of their buyers are not. Many service based businesses today (especially coaches) are in a hybrid B2B/B2C environment. Often times your services are helping and individual run their business.
Most of us have a handle on the B2C bit; catering to emotional appeal creating buzz etc. Yet, we aren't as well versed on the B2B side of things, so let’s take a moment to look at some common characteristics of B2B buyers:
They don’t want to be sold to; they want help with their issues and challenges.
They want to deal with subject matter experts who can add value to their deliberations.
They like to do their own product research prior to being sold to (especially without knowing you).
They buy from people they trust and whose companies and solutions are known and credible (ie social proof).
They are more heavily influenced by acceptable solutions that offer greater personal benefit. (ie service oriented business/solutions)
As you can see, building real relationships that engage your audience extend far beyond positioning yourself as an authority figure. Yes website copy is important, yes knowing your craft is important, and yes getting in front of the right audience is important. But there are two critical elements that happen before all of these things can effectively take place...
Knowing who you are talking to (and how to talk to them)
Knowing how to demonstrate your value
HOW TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
As an authority, the tendency is to :think like a pro, speak like a pro, write like a pro and then everybody knows you are a pro". Not quite, in this case only pro’s know you are a pro. The segment of your audience who really needs you, can generally only scratch the surface with their knowledge of your niche. Even, on the off chance that they can dig deeper -- they are still not a pro.
The answer? Talk to your audience not at them. Research and study their ways. More specifically, know their pain points and communicate using them. Try implementing these three tips when communicating with your audience:
Be Empathetic Put yourself in your prospects shoes. Instead of always doing the talking (communicating at) do some listening. Let your audience tell you their needs, in their words. Hear your communication from their perspective. While it may not always lead directly to a sale, the knowledge you gain as a result will help future sales not require “spin”.
No More Rebuttals No more but-ing the concerns of your prospects. A simple yes will suffice. A common situation where coaches are tempted to say “but” is when discussing price. If a prospect says your services are too expensive, instead of replying “but they are worth it because xyz” or “but think of it as an investment for abc” -- instead trying leading with Yes. Acknowledge their concern and then move into re-framing. “Yes, I understand why price is a concern and abc and xyz reasons this the solution for you. Let’s see how we can make this happen.”
Speak To Their Heart If it feels salesy, it probably is salesy. Spend time learning the intimate needs of your ideal customer, and speak to their heart. Get to know them. What is the outcome they actually desire to achieve? Be clear on these things, connect with them, and share freely. Your focus should be demonstrating a mastery of your target markets concerns, not just a mastery of the market itself. HOW TO DEMONSTRATE “SERVICE” ORIENTATION
To piggyback on communicating to your audience in a way that shows you can help, it’s then logical to assume you need to do just that, be of help.
As an authority in your space, you want to be helpful in a way that is more than just providing a few blog posts, or pretty lead magnets for your audience. It’s not only what you communicate it’s how you communicate it.
When you are an authority, there’s a confidence factor. Confidence in knowing that what you share makes an impact. To do so, you have to share. You have to show your audience, you don’t just talk a good game, you can act on it too.
Being scared to give away too much information, is a sign of a lack of confidence. Wanting to charge for every nuance, for fear of being taken advantage of, or clients getting their answers and choosing not to work with you, translates as a lack of confidence in your ability. As an authority, you are literally a wealth of knowledge, needing to charge for every gem you drop is not your concern.
Your focus should always be on connecting your knowledge to your customers needs, and effectively creating (and communicating) solutions that meet them.
Ask yourself, Do I fully understand the specific type of service business I am in? If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board until you can say yes. When the answer is yes, try these three things...
Identify The End Result They Desire
When communicating with an ideal prospect, keep in mind that they may be coming to you for relief from a specific problem, but they may be unaware of the long term result they desire most. Helping them identify this will assist you in creating a solution they are deeply satisfied with. Your job as an authority is to demonstrate it in being able to communicate with your audience where they are, and share information and content that demonstrates your service to them.
Create A Relationship First You don’t move from the first date to marriage, so logically you shouldn’t expect to sign a cold lead to your premium service. Work to build the relationship first. If you follow the advice above, you have to intentionally get to know your clients before moving to the sell. Prospects can more confidently and comfortably make a purchase from someone they know and they feel understands them as well. Ask questions and get to know your target market, and you will win.
Ignore the Sale... For Now Slow down. You know you want the sale, and your prospect knows you want the sale. Being that it is a given, don’t focus on it. Don’t try to force a sell, instead on your sales calls communicate value. Take the time to discuss the client's business, pain points and benchmarks -- and connect it to your serves. Don’t sell your serves, demonstrate their value and their position as the solution. ONE FINAL THOUGHT
Remember, you've been at this for awhile, and you know the ropes. Your target market will not be as familiar.
They may not be able to connect all the dots, they may not even readily identify that they need you or your services. Truthfully, they shouldn't, and that's why they need you. As an authority, you demonstrate your knowledge by relating it to your target markets needs, and lead them to your services as a solution. Practice this, focus less on selling and proving your value, and the clients will follow.
“Whether B2B or B2C, I believe passionately that good marketing essentials are the same. We are all emotional beings looking for relevance, context, and connection. — Beth Comstock
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