These three questions will win you unlimited business in any market:
Question 1: “Tell me about how your business is performing NOW?”
Question 2: “WHERE do you want to take your business over the next 1-3 years?”
Question 3: “What would you say are the Top 3 things that would need to change over the next few months to ensure you start the journey of HOW you will achieve your goals?”
Whatever any business owner or manager says next will provide you a never ending stream of opportunities to assist. So if it’s this easy where do most business advisors and coaches go wrong?
Here are the Top 5 key barriers that prevent business advisors or coaches converting these opportunities:
Barrier 1: No clarity on your Business Model
- If you can explain clearly your competitive advantage, your client segments, your products / services, the average fee per service and how many service offerings you need to sell to which target market to achieve your growth targets then it is a sign you have your business model relatively clear. If you can’t then ensure you invest time in understanding this as its critical to allow you in a prospect meeting to say yes to the right opportunities and no to the wrong ones as they appear.
Solution: Document your Business Model to know what to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to.
Barrier 2: I’m too Busy
- Giving off the perception you are ‘too busy’ may impress some but it’s no coincidence that the most successful business advisors are always the fastest in responding to inquiries , can find time in their diary most days for a 20 min discussion and are always open to more of the ‘right’ opportunities. The reason they have available time is they are well leveraged, stay strategic (don’t get drawn too operational by clients) and manage existing clients expectations on the time investment within the engagement.
Solution: Ensure you stay strategic and are well leveraged in existing engagements. Make time.
Barrier 3: Self confidence to deliver
- Having the right quality of support, training and skills to be confident to say ‘yes’ to the right opportunities is critical. A lack of self confidence is rarely spoken about but could potentially be the biggest barrier to most advisors winning new work. If deep down you are not confident in your ability to deliver the right client outcome self sabotage will creep into the conversion process and you will unknowingly start pushing the prospect away. Ensure you gain the skills to facilitate not just consult.
Solution: Obtain the right quality of support and training then practice, practice, practice (even on your own business first).
Barrier 4: Trying to put a square peg in a round hole
- Many Business Advisors invest heavily in a new piece of software or training course which promises to be the solution to all business problems (but really just shines a light on key issues). They then proceed to pitch this software or new model they have learnt to every prospect they meet which in 95% of cases is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. It can also play out that their strength is working with small business but they are investing their time bidding for government work?
Solution: Understand what target market suits your strengths and then custom build your offering to suit the specific needs of your prospective client which may involve actually referring them onto another specialist.
Barrier 5: Still pitching the ‘things’ you do
- Selling in the advisory market has evolved. No longer is the battle fought over who has the most complex / clever business model or planning process but rather who can most effectively demonstrate their ability to deliver a solution to the biggest key issue your target market is experiencing. Being a great problem solver is critical, prospective customers don’t care about the tools or methodology you use to get there. Understand the valid barriers your prospect raises around risk, time, change fatigue and previous poor experiences and work through them.
Solution: Do some quality training to clarify your sales process and gain ‘swagger’, focus on being a great problem solver and be authentic (direct) during the sales process.
There will always be a steady stream of opportunities arising from your target market if you ask these three key questions however every few months the responses will be different. The key issue is are you confident you can tackle each of the above barriers to ensure you capitalize on each opportunity.
If you have any queries regarding the points in this article, please contact:
- United Kingdom: Gill Burn firstname.lastname@example.org
- North America: Tanya Chapman email@example.com
- Australia: James Mason firstname.lastname@example.org