Most people in professional services don’t like selling.
Perhaps this is you. You love working with clients but feel inauthentic trying to persuade someone to hire you. What’s the answer? Stop trying to sell. What to do instead? Have a conversation.
Try this the next time you meet with a prospect: Ask where they are now and where they want to get to. Then ask what’s kept them from getting where they want to go. Make sure to listen carefully and replay what you’ve heard (clarifies and builds trust).
If you can help them, say so. Explain your services. Allow them some time to absorb what you’ve told them.
Let them ask questions. Answer as if you were already working together. Speak in terms of benefits and solutions.
If you’ve made a strong connection you may never have to ask for ‘the order’. The prospect may ask, “How do we get started?” or “What are the next steps?” If they don’t, simply ask if they are interested in working together and, if so, which of your services (or programs) they would like.
Note to consultants who deliver via engagements: Ask if you could present them with a Consultants Statement of Work (the specifics of what you will deliver, how, and much more). If they agree, tell them when you will have it prepared (24-48 hours, for example) and set up a time to meet again so that you can walk them through it with the intention to leave that meeting with a signed agreement!