You get a phone call from a prospective client who would like to talk to you about possibly helping her out. The story may vary, but the bottom line is that she is stuck and needs help from someone who can help her manage some aspect of the healthcare system. She thinks you might be that person.
As part of your marketing, you happen to offer a free consultation, which maybe takes place right then and there on the phone, or maybe you make an appointment to meet with the potential client… Or perhaps you simply have a conversation whether it’s considered a free consultation or not….
An in-depth conversation takes place. This potential client has a dozen questions about her situation, and to the best of your ability, to showcase your capabilities, you answer her questions. You feel great about the conversation because you know you’re impressing her with your abilities.
At some point the potential client says, “Thank you. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I’ll call you again if I decide I need your services further.” And you both hang up.
You’re stunned. You feel as if everything went so well… you were able to answer her questions, you referred her to some good resources… yet – she didn’t hire you. Where did you go wrong? What should you have done differently?
The answer is: why should she buy the cow when she got the milk for free?
OK – no – I’m not trying to insult you by using a cow metaphor – but seriously – why would she hire you if she’s already got the information she needs?
There is an art to successful selling on the phone – and that’s exactly what this is. That art has everything to do with showcasing your capabilities while, at the same time, withholding the vital information that the potential client still needs to get what she wants.
There’s another major reason why you won’t move forward with this client relationship, too. That is – you didn’t ask her for the business. You never said, “Please hire me.”
I’m going to guess that at the moment, many of you are just appalled. You don’t picture yourself ever saying those words, begging for the business. That’s OK – I don’t picture that either!
So I’ve put together some advice for how you can have a conversation with a potential client, help them understand when you are the right person for them to work with, then ask them to become your client… without ever sounding heavy handed or pushy, or even so – ahem – direct. No salesy stuff. Just good, honest, engagement.
APHA members can log in to find this information … including simple scripts to see how it works. Just log in to your membership dashboard, find the Marketing Center or Client Service Center (It’s linked from both) and then “Conversation Strategies for Engaging a New Client.” In addition, our sister site, PracticeUP! Online, offers a quick course you can take to walk you through the best ways to handle these calls.
And if you’re not a member? Then join us! Then you can learn how to handle new client phone calls, too.