In professional services, it’s not uncommon that months will pass before you have built the knowledge, understanding and trust of a prospect to secure them as a new client.

In my ‘Just a thought’ blog, we’ve spent a few months building our knowledge and understanding too.  We’ve been exploring how thought leadership can be used to generate leads and support you to convert prospects into clients.  We are now at the final stage of that process.

The process

Stage 5.  Close

Your target market is buyer ready and just needs to know how to engage your services.

Using the word ‘just’, makes this step seem easy – it’s not.  It takes courage.

In the lead up to ‘close’, you have already made your prospect feel comfortable in seeking a working relationship with you and built the case around you as their right choice.  You have invested a lot of time, resources and, likely, emotion in getting to this stage and you don’t want your efforts to go to waste.  Equally, you understand your prospect deeply and know that, together, you comprise the right team to support the solution that they are seeking.

Your discussions will move towards becoming a client of your firm.  You will agree on what to deliver and the benefits they will derive.  You may present a proposal and discuss pricing.  Lawyers, for example, particularly in NSW and SA, are legally bound to provide costing arrangements.

But discussing your engagement should be far more than providing a quotation.

Change you mindset and understand this… closing a sale is not an end; it is a continuation of your relationship under a new structure.  Your new relationship is one where your prospect will become your client, to whom you will deliver a specified outcome.

To be productive, you need to define the outcome, the process and how your relationship will change.  Take away the unknowns, set an expectation and create an understanding.  As well as explaining your professional approach, you will need to discuss how to work together, your availability and the best way to:

Lead your prospect through your engagement process and explain how to become a client of your firm.  Make them feel comfortable in working with you and reinforce that they are making the right decision.

My friend, Margie Warrell, says “courage comes before confidence”.  These conversations can be uncomfortable, but having them is an important part of building trust.

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