10 Basic Principles for Turning Your Prospects into Clients: Ask the “Expected Results” Question

November 19th, 2009 by | Print

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This is a little disclaimer that I will be adding to the beginning of every post in this ten part series so new readers that jump in mid way will understand the premise for these posts. If you have been following through the entire series, you can skip the following paragraph to get to the latest lesson.

 

If you are just joining us, I am writing a series of 10 basic principles that will help you increase your conversion rate of turning potential prospects into paying customers. If you missed that post, then I recommend that you click on the title, “10 Basic Principles for Turning Your Prospects into Clients” and give it a read before going on.

 

Before we get into it, I admit that this post is mainly for the service providers. Not all prospects may have an expectation for a result from a product (think clothing) whereas all service consumers will (from carpet cleaning to copywriting). And since a service prospect has a preconceived expectation, you better make sure you know what it is upfront.

 

Unrealized expectations lead to disappointment. Disappointment often leads to a loss of business. How can you know what mark your prospect hopes to hit if you don’t ask?

 

Here are my top 5 benefits for asking the “expected results” question:

 

1. It shows you care.

Ask your prospect the expected results question next time and experience their positive response. Prospects want to know that you care as much about their goals as they do. This gives you the leg up for turning the prospect into a client.

 

2. It indicates whether the prospect is worth your time.

As I stated in the first post of this series, we want to focus on good prospects only. Why waste your time with someone that has goals outside of your area of expertise? Or worse, has unrealistic expectations that you know are unattainable and won’t defer to your expertise?

 

Bad prospects turn into dreaded customers that tie up time and can cost you money if you give a guarantee. Keep your time free for strategic prospects.

 

3. It gives you insight into what the prospect really needs.

Customers often ask for what they “think” they need – typically a result from a lack of knowledge or misinformation. You are the pro to put them on the right path. You now have the opportunity to dispel inappropriate, preconceived notions and set obtainable expectations. Are you an Order Taker or a Solution Provider?

 

4. It allows you to get to know your prospect’s business better.

Unless you like one-hit wonders, you should work on establishing long-term relationships. By asking the expected results question in the first discussion, your prospect will open up about their goals and strategies. This will give you excellent insight into their potential for repeat business.

 

5. You may not get a second chance.

You spent time listening to the prospect discuss what they want, but you forgot to ask the expected results question. You take excellent notes and submit a proposal on time. But then, you don’t hear back from the prospect.

 

You follow up and find out that the prospect chose to go with one of your competitors. You ask why. They tell you they felt the competition did a better job of understanding their needs. You are left dazed and confused. Was something lost in the conversation? You assumed you had all the information while the prospect assumed you knew what they really meant.

 

Even if you do ask the question, realize that at this point you may not have landed the prospect. However, asking the “expected results” question will give you an advantage when it comes to the remaining basic principles in this series.

 

Next up, “Contribute Ideas and Suggestions”.

 

All The Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

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