01 Apr What About the “Almost” Clients?
It’s April Fool’s Day, but this is no joke. *insert wah wah horn here*
Recently, I had a conversation with one of my clients about “almost” clients. What do we do with people who got 4th & Goal but never made the touchdown?
✔️ Avoid the “close all deals by any means necessary” mentality. Not everyone you talk to is meant to be your client.
✔️ You cannot crawl inside someone else’s brain and change who they are. Likewise, if your sales techniques are predicated on you having to always light a fire under someone’s butt to close them, you’re playing a dangerous game.
✔️ Ideally, people need to be ready to roll before they ever get on the phone with you. I understand that won’t always happen, but you should aim for ideal prospects who consume your content regularly and pre-close themselves.
✔️ Your prospects also need to have a coherent “why.” They need to have their own motivation. Do you want to drag them across the threshold of change kicking and screaming? Do you want to constantly have to re-close them and convince them to continue with your product or service? Hell no.
Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/
Transcription by Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos!
Hello, hello and welcome to today’s episode of the Causey Consulting Podcast. I’m your host, Sara Causey and I’m also the owner of Causey Consulting, which you can find online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. Today, I’m going to talk about the almost people. And I’m going to warn you up front, I’m gonna be very direct and candid In this episode, I always am very straightforward. But it might get so straightforward and so direct In this episode, that there may be some people to get their feelings hurt or clutch their pearls from it. Some of y’all are not going to be ready for all this jelly. So I’m just telling you up front, that’s where we’re at. I have a client who I will call Suzy, that’s not her real name, obviously, I’m going to use the pseudonym Jane Doe, again, for someone else in the story that I’m about to tell you. So just for the sake of clarity, her name will be Suzy. And I am telling this story with her permission, even though I’m going to be very careful to maintain her privacy. So Suzy has been having a situation that I think a lot of us have, and whether we’re small business owners solopreneurs, we have a service based business. What do we do with the almost people, if somebody got on an intake call with us, and they opted not to buy our product or our service? They sat there and talk themselves out of it? If they come back at some point down the line? What do we do? Or if they don’t come back? What do we do? Do we continue prospecting to them? Do they do we put them on an email list? Do we ask them to like our Facebook page? Like what do we do with the people who seem so close yet so far away? Yeah. And that’s something that Suzy and I have been talking about because Susie had a potential client that I’ll call Jane Doe. Last year, Susie had an intake call with Jane Doe. And things had gone well until they got to the discussion of price. And once Suzy provided Jane with the price, then she said it was like Jane Doe just self destructed right there on the phone, started talking herself out of it. And Suzy couldn’t even get a word in edgewise. It was like Jane just completely melted down. said it was not a good time. Well, is anybody even buying anything? Because pandemic, there’s so much uncertainty? What if I need this money for something else? And it was like Jane just spun out into a panic attack, talked herself out of it hung up the phone and went on. Okay, that was like eight months ago. So now here we are. And Jane has come back to Suzy, saying I realized that I panicked. And I’ve tried some other solutions that haven’t worked for me. I’ll admit to you they were cheaper. And I see now that I shouldn’t have been cheap about all this, I’m in trouble. And I want your help. And so Suzy has been trying to come to a decision about what she wants to do with Jane, is it even worth her time to get back on the phone with Jane, have another intake call, learn about what’s changed. And then there’s all this concern in the background too, which I think is very important. And I want you to hear me on this. Suzy has concerns about what kind of client would Jane be? If I got Jane into the system, if she did pay the money. She didn’t talk herself out based on price, this time looking at past behavior, and what happened in our last intake call and the fact that now she’s coming back saying she went and bought cheaper solutions and wasn’t happy. What kind of client would she be if I did? Bring her into the fold? Now, these are very important questions. And I don’t feel like they’re dealt with enough, especially for those of us who work in tandem closely or we do one on one type of work with clients like what would this person actually be like if I went ahead and brought them in? In thinking about things, Suzy ultimately decided that she did not want to get back on a second intake call with Jane and did not feel comfortable bringing Jane into her program. She just had a gut instinct that maybe things had happened for a reason. Perhaps the deal hadn’t jelled earlier when she thought that it should have for good reason and they just weren’t meant to work together. And that’s okay. It really is okay, that some prayers are not answered. Some deals don’t come together. Not everybody that you talk to is ultimately meant to be your client. And if they are showing you early signs of drama, early signs of turmoil, you’re so much better turning around and walking away from it than trying to onboard somebody and hoping they’ll become stable or hoping that through your coaching or through your program or your whatever you can, you can make them a different person. You can’t, you are not God Almighty, you do not have that kind of power. And it will turn into a major, stressful, uphill battle for you if you bring somebody in and then regret it later. So as soon as he and I were talking, she laughed and said, You know, this would be a good podcast episode because so many sales techniques are driven around onboarding, everybody getting as much money as you possibly can. And nobody really talks about what do you do if somebody isn’t a good client? Like how do you like gently leave a situation? If you realize, Oh, no, this this isn’t meant to be? This isn’t a good fit, like, how do I handle it, then? When I’m working with clients, I don’t like to lead the witness. I like to take more of a Socratic Method approach and ask good insightful questions, to spark discussion and to spark discovery and to help clients determine a solution to their own problems, rather than me sitting there telling them Well, here’s what I think you ought to do. So after Suzy had come to the conclusion, herself through her own soul searching her own decision making that she didn’t feel right about Jane, there was just something off about that situation, she had asked me about how I typically handle those situations. And because she had already arrived at her own conclusion, I felt comfortable sharing this information with her. And in talking with her about, oh, this should be a podcast episode, like, I decided I would go ahead and pull the curtain back and share it with all of you as well. And this is where it’s gonna get super direct, no fluff, you’re gonna drink this straight with no chaser. And I want to be clear, put a disclaimer up here. This is my approach. I’m not saying it’s right for everybody. Everyone’s business is different. Everyone’s communication style and attitude is different. So don’t take this as me saying, This is gospel, and you need to all abide by it. And this is a rule for everyone everywhere across the planet. I’m not saying that at all. All I’m telling you is here’s how I handle it. In my own business. When it comes to almost clients, people that you know, they paid for their intake call, and we got on the telephone, and we started going through what’s actually happening in the business, what do they want to accomplish? Where are they at now versus where they want to be? If we get through all of that, and they come to the conclusion that they don’t want to pay the money? It’s not a good time? I mean, is anybody buying anything because pandemic, I just don’t know, I need to talk to my spouse, my neighbor, my dog, my minister, my cat, my sidekick, my whatever. If things go in that direction, I just say no, at some point down the road, if they come back six months later, eight months later, a year later, whatever they go, Okay, I wasn’t ready, then. But I think I’m ready now. The door closed. And I’m not hateful to them. I don’t say, you know, you had your chance, pal. And you blew it. I just simply say I’m not engaging with new clients at this time, or I’m fully booked. I don’t have space. You know, maybe it’s sometime in the future, but not right now. You know, you don’t have to be hateful in the rejection. But you do have to protect yourself. But what do I always tell you guys, you have to guard yourself, your business and your time jealously. You know, there’s only one of you in the world, you only have so much time and energy to get through the day. And not everybody that comes up and pokes you in the rib with a sharp stick is someone who deserves your attention. And in my opinion, cold and callous, though it may sound if you have gone through the intake process with someone and they flipped out or they tried to haggle on the price and they needed to go talk to a spouse. And then they want to come back later. Like you need to really think about whether that person is an ideal prospect for you anyway. And I want you to be careful of phrases like if only or except for. So like with Suzy, one of the things she said to me was Jane checked off every box, she really appeared to be a great fit for me to take on as a client, except for the fact that she talked herself out of it right there at the end. Or Jane would be a perfect client. If only she would have had more money at that time. If you are making those types of excuses for your prospects, you’re in trouble. Those phrases like if only or except for negate out basically everything else if Jane Doe is a A great prospect for you except for the fact that she doesn’t have enough money for your service, then guess what, she’s not an ideal prospect for your service. Because your ideal prospect will have enough money or the means to obtain it in a sensible manner to afford to work with you. They won’t haggle, they won’t browbeat, they won’t get on the phone and suddenly decide they need to have a con fab with their neighbor, their dog, their minister, their wives, uncles, brothers cousin in law, they’ll be ready to go. They’re serious, they’re suited and booted. And they’re ready to do whatever it takes to make their life, their health, their business, whatever, better. They don’t need you to convince them to do it. They’re already bought in and ready to go. A lot of coaches and sales trainers like to advise you to use the scarcity tactic or false urgency, light a fire under him create some false sense of urgency to motivate them, they’ll just give in to their own inertia. If you don’t give them a reason, if you don’t light a fire under their butt, they’ll just give in and keep doing what they’ve been doing. It’s up to you to prod them out of that inertia. Respectfully, I disagree. No, it is not my job to prod anybody out of inertia, it’s not my job to light a fire under somebody. But if they’re not motivated enough to line a match and light the their own fire under their own, but I sure as hell don’t need to be the one to do that, for them, trying to prod somebody into doing something trying to you know, as I’ve said before, like drag somebody kicking and screaming across the threshold of change, it is so miserable, and you have people it’s kind of like how I’ve been talking about Dr. Aamodt and the book, why diets make us fat, it’s like, there’s some people that will white knuckle their way through these diets. And then the minute that they’re at their goal weight, or they’ve you know, been to an event, maybe they wanted to lose weight for a class reunion, or to be in someone’s wedding, like the minute that that event is over when they go back to eating cheeseburgers and pizzas and milkshakes, because they only had that limited window of motivation. And if you bring somebody into your program or your service, and they’re not really motivated, you know, you had to give them a swift kick in the butt, or light a fire under them to try to force them to try to drag them through the threshold of change, you are going to be in for such a nightmare, especially when all that wind comes out of their sails. And they decide that they don’t really want to be there, they could have spent that money on something else. It’s just like the person after the class reunion that’s like, okay, no, I it didn’t really mean that much to me to get down to this weight. Now that everybody’s seen me looking spelt and looking good, I’m ready to go back to the cheeseburgers and pizza. Aside from the fact that it’s going to cause you a lot of stress in the long run. And it’s not going to turn out to be one of your success stories or a testimonial that you highlight on your website. Now, aside from all that, it’s also a huge waste of your time. So let’s say that you get on an intake call with Billy Bob, and you get to the end, and he says, Well, I need to sleep on this. And this is a major purchase for me and my business. So I’m also going to need to talk to my wife and get her buy in. Even though Billy Bob’s wife is not a partner in the company, he owns his own business. And this should be a tax deductible expense, and he should have on his big boy pants to make this decision himself really shouldn’t even involve her. He tells you that he needs to go talk to a spouse he needs to sleep on it. There are plenty of coaches and trainers that would tell you, you know, you still got a live one on the hook there. You know, you need to create some kind of incentive or some kind of false sense of urgency. So you know, telling the windows closing. No, okay, Billy Bob, you can go home and talk to the wife and sleep on it. That’s fine. But I need a response by 9am tomorrow morning, I’ve got other prospects. I’ve got other gigs that I need to take on. And so if I don’t hear anything back from you, or if you don’t get back with me by 9am sharp with a with a yes. Then I’m going to have to move on and just give your slot to somebody else. Here’s a newsflash Billy Bob doesn’t care. He’s not coming back, he’s gone. He gone. He’s gone and he’s not coming back. If he even has that conversation with her, she’s gonna decide that he doesn’t need to spend that money on your product or your service. She’d rather spend it on something else. Let’s just be real. I don’t care if that hurts your feelings. I’m just telling you. That’s how it’s really gonna be is she she’s not gonna give her consent for him to spend that money inside his business. And he’s not going to sleep on it. You may not even hear from him. He may ghost you. And when he finally does come back, it’s going to be well, I talked about it well, I thought about it. Well slept on it, and I just decided this ain’t the right time for me to do this. There are better things for you to be doing with your time than trying to poke and prod and cajole and convince. And if you’re sitting here listening to this thinking, well, if I didn’t poke and prod, if I didn’t cajole and convince, then I wouldn’t have any clients. That tells me that you’re fishing in the wrong pond, ideal, pre qualified prospects are going to be bought in, they’re going to understand the mission, and they’re going to be motivated. As soon as they move up, before they ever even pick up the phone. Like, as soon as you get on the phone with them, you’re gonna feel the vibe is different, you’re gonna know that this person doesn’t need hand holding, they don’t need cajoling they don’t need convincing. Like one of the reasons why I talked about wanting to work with winners and help them win more help them get out of a plateau and get to the next level is because they get it like they’re already running a successful business. So like, I don’t have to get on the phone and explain basic economics or basic common sense to them. So for example, there are some people that the idea of paying $10,000 for a program or $10,000 to a coach is insane, they just cannot wrap their mind around ever doing that. But they will pay $1,000 to 10 jokers that don’t do anything for them. Or they’ll pay $500 to 20 people that don’t do jack for them, they’re happy to do that, because it’s small amounts, it’s like they don’t waste these little mouse amounts of money on done with you programs, you know, or somebody sends you a PDF and some PowerPoints or refers you to a YouTube channel and then you hear from them once a month. Or they do group coaching, which is an introvert totally effing hate. Or it’s like most of the time you’re on a group call with a bunch of people that don’t understand you, you don’t understand them, you’re not on the same wavelength. You know, so you’re reviewing Google Docs, and then you’re getting on a group call once a week with 20 other people like a herd of cattle. But you know, there’s people that will do that for 500, or $1,000. And they’ll do it repeatedly. Like the old cliche about insanity, doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result. But the idea of actually ponying up some real money to work with a real expert scares the crap out of them, and they just won’t do it. See, the people that I work with, when I get on the phone with them, they’re so far past that point in their life and their business, that they don’t need me to sit on the phone with them, and explain basic economics and basic common sense. They have a successful business, they’ve already overcome that kind of little baby nonsense. Sorry, I know some of you may be getting offended by this, but I’m being real, they’ve already overcome that little baby nonsense. And they have gotten on with the business of having a successful business. You have to make a mindset shift around this and really train your brain to see good, legitimate, viable prospects everywhere. And to understand they’re plentiful, there’s enough of them to go around for your product or your service your business to be successful. You do not have to waste time and energy on nonsense prospects. And they might be good people. You know, Billy Bob, that needs to go home and talk to his wife, he might be a great guy might give you the shirt off his back. If you needed it might give you his last can of food in the zombie apocalypse. That does not mean that he is an ideal prospect for your business. And it also does not obligate you to get on phone call after phone call with him, or to try to poke and prod him and create a false sense of urgency in the hopes that he’ll get off his ass and make a decision for you. It’s I’m going back in my mind to that scene and rocky three about friends don’t own friends do because they want to do nobody owes anybody anything. What’s the same thing with you and your time and your prospects? So I can’t and won’t tell you how to handle the almost clients in your business. The best advice that I can give as sort of a blanket statement is to trust your gut. If somebody comes back to you and you just have that kind of wonky feeling about it, like Susie had with Jane, please pay attention to that, you know, if somebody is showing you that they might be a drama king or a drama queen, there might be a lot of problems, you know, they might sign up and then regret it in two or three days and become a problem for you. Pay attention to those signs. There’s an old cliche about a stitch in time saves nine and that’s really true. There are some situations in life where not getting into the situation in the first place is 1000 times better than getting into it and then having to find a way out. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please share it. If you haven’t already, take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review for us on iTunes. Bye for now.