Growing up my mother taught me that “no means no,” but in the world of strategic communications, “no” really means “maybe” and sometimes it just takes a little persuading to get that client to utter the “yes” you were looking for.
I have already learned that a client’s first no, or even the hesitancy to say yes, is code for “ask me more questions and see what makes me nervous so you can wow me with your knowledge and get me to say yes.” Maybe that’s just my ego getting in the way, but that’s what I envision running through a client’s mind as they look back at me.
This is the point where you should be asking the questions that will get your client to say yes. “What is holding you back from saying yes?”
Sometimes, the answer is as simple as the client needs to understand why the cost of the package is what it is, which just means that they need a break down of where their hard-earned money is going. This question can lead to harder conversations about tweaking the package and perhaps even lowering the cost of the package as a whole.
For a girl from a small town where nobody talked about money and what they could or could not afford, these conversations can be difficult for me to have. But thanks to my professors, my friends, and Taylor Swift, I’ve learned that having those tough conversations makes you stronger and a better communicator, and in Taylor Swift’s case, a millionaire.
While some conversations can be easy to have in order to get the client to say yes, other conversations can be rather difficult. You have to eloquently ask the client how long they can continue to do what they are doing without needing the services that you provide. You are forcing them to look into the future and realize how much they need help.
At the end of these conversations, you have to remember that there becomes a time when you can’t ask any more questions. When you have explained everything that made the client hesitant while also listening to their concerns and perhaps tweaked the original plan, you have to let the new knowledge sink in.
If you realize that the client is still not going to use your services, you shouldn’t sever that bond. Be cordial and make sure that they think highly of you and the company you work for. And always ask if they know of anyone who could use your services. Sometimes referrals become the best business ventures.
While it may be hard, sometimes you have to walk away without a new client and an exciting new project to start working on. In this case, it’s time to head back to the drawing board and find a new client, because everyone can use a strategic communicator.
In the words of T. Swift, “When we go crashing down we come back every time, ‘cause we never go out of style.”
By: Kimberly Abromaitis