One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen attorneys and other solo professionals, coaches and consultants make is confusing their purpose of an initial consultation with their prospective client’s purpose.
The prospective client’s purpose during an initial consultation is to a) either gather enough information to determine whether they should hire you, or b) if they have no intention of hiring you, to get as much information as they can out of you without paying you.
Oftentimes, the service professional thinks the purpose of the initial consultation is to advise the prospective client. We do so in the mistaken belief that the prospect will think “Wow, this person is so smart and wise, they really know their stuff, and they were so nice to give me all this great advice for free, so now, I really feel obligated to hire them.” Essentially, we think the Law of Reciprocity will work in our favor if we are generous. (Plus, it’s an ego boost when someone asks questions to which we easily know the answers, isn’t it?)
That gets old quick, though, when we discover it doesn’t work, and the prospect moves on to hire another professional instead. After all, we can’t pay our bills with ego boosts.
MONEY STORY MISTAKES
Or, perhaps, our mistake isn’t that we give away the farm in the form of advice, but that we buy into the prospect’s money story—or we start projecting our own money story onto them. When it’s time to talk turkey, i.e. money, we “feel” for them and lowball our fees.
We offer reductions, discounts, or payment plans before they even ask. Why? Because they just told us how broke they are, and we feel sorry for them. We know what it’s like to struggle to pay for expense services, and if we had to come up with thousands of dollars at one time, well, let’s just say we wouldn’t be happy about it either. WHAT WE THINK THEY ARE THINKING
When you offer to reduce your fees, jump to provide a payment plan, or immediately start explaining why you charge what you charge, what you think the prospective client is thinking is:
- “Oh, my gosh, this person is so generous to reduce their fees for me.”
- “I really appreciate how she is making it easy for me to make payments, so I don’t have to struggle to come up with the money all at once. How nice of her!”
- “I am so glad she cut right to the chase and told me how much it was going to cost so I didn’t waste my time or her time discussing something I ultimately cannot afford.”
WHAT THEY ARE REALLY THINKING
Would it surprise you to know they most likely are thinking this instead…?
- “This person must not be very good at what she does if she is already reducing her fees before I even asked. She certainly doesn’t seem very confident.”
- “Pretty much everybody offers payment plans, so I don’t know why she’s acting like that’s so special.”
- “Why did she just assume I could not afford her services? She doesn’t know me. She doesn’t know I can get the money if I really want to. I have to make this problem go away and I am willing to pay whatever it takes, but I have to be sure it’s going to work, and she’s just not making me feel confident she’s the best one to solve my problem…”
If this sounds like you if you are tired of being a nice girl (or guy) who finishes last because people mistake your niceness for incompetence, and you have a sales conversation (and sales confidence) problem. If you’re fed up and ready to turn that around, then it’s time to schedule a chat with me so I can help you.
P.S. My latest training just dropped. Check it out. How to Create a Million Dollar Law Firm You Love (without Killing Yourself in the Process).
P.P.S. If you haven’t yet subscribed to The Solo to CEO Podcast on iTunes, you are really missing out! We’ve had some ah-mazing guest experts, and we’ve profiled some fabulous women attorneys who’ve shared stories about their solo to CEO journey. You can listen here.