1. Set the expectation – The best way to start a trial session (get to know each other, first encounter meeting) is to let the other person know what is going to happen and what is expected from each one. Potential clients love to be informed what’s first, what’s next, how they will know the time is over, etc. Your responsibility in setting the expectation is also to communicate very clearly what your intentions are with regards to this meeting.
2. Make a connection – This is the time to build a trusting foundation so that your potential client feels good working with you. Funny, but even if you are the best in what you do, failing to connect heart to heart with your potential client can be disasterous. Even if they sign up with you, they won’t stick around long enough to appreciate your good heartedness and expertise. Having a private practice really means that you work with individuals. You may be working with them one on one, in groups, through an organization. Regardless of the frame through which you communicate with them, you work with people. And people LOVE to be treated with dignity, respect and appreciation.
3. Co-create desired outcome – usually prospective clients don’t know exaclt how to get what they want or they need a boost of strength or confidence, or creativity, you name it. What is surprising though, is that they may say what they want but they may not really know how that want looks like. They surely want some results but how will achieving those results look like, why they don’t have this success yet, when they will go and get it, those and many more are the types of things your prospective client knows about but most likely haven’t voiced it out in a structured way so that they can easily see the big picture and at the same time look for the details and define the steps to be taken to turn the vision into reality. That’s why they talk with you, right. So, you can go on the meeting with at least 5 different ways to co-create the desired outcome and on the meeting itself use the one that you perceive will help the client the quickest to get that.
4. Offer options – when you are on the same page of what the scope of the work is be honest with yourself and admit it if you are prepared to work on that. Then different options present your potential client with the opportunity to choose what helps them achieve their goals and fits with their budget. Just beware to not offer anything and everything. Recommend what you think will work best and explain it to them why you think it will work best for them. In the end they get to choose.
5. Master the rejection game – If you think your potential client comes on the meeting with you unprepared, think again. They are always ready to assess – is this for me and theyhave a couple of quick exit strategies if this is not, or they are not convinced it is for them. At this moment, it’s your turn to sort those situations out for the client if you know you can help them. Part of the work is – to pay attention to your own feelings and attitudes. It might be that you sabotage your own client winning.
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