Winning at Client Consultations | Part III | Closing Time

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Today we close out our series on how to create a stellar client consultation experience with our final thoughts on how to close your consultations strong. Sometimes it all comes down to asking the right question.

ASSUME THEY WANT TO WORK WITH YOU

In his 2008 TED talk, Dan Ariely talked about the psychology of making decisions. He used the example of a study about organ donation in European countries. Like the US, Europeans are given the option to become an organ donor when they fill out their licence renewal form at the MVD. In some countries the organ donor sign up rate was 98%, in others, it was only 15%. Why the difference? Are some countries just more giving than others?  The study revealed that it all came down to how each country asked the question:

  • Check here if you WANT to be an organ donor. (This question resulted in a 15% sign up rate.)
  • Check here  if you DON'T want to be an organ donor. (This question resulted in a 98% sign up rate.)    

Psychologically speaking, people would rather NOT have to make a decision. When the form assumed the person wanted to be a donor, it rarely got a no. When the person had to make the decision to become one, they took that step 83% less often.

Organ donation and choosing a photographer may not have much in common, but the thought process is still the same.  When a client comes to meet with you, it's safe to assume they're already interested in working with you. They wouldn't be there if they weren't.  The consultation is the last step in confirming that fact and it makes them feel more confident in you when you proceed with confidence.  As you talk about their day, talk about the role you will play and how you will make it better. Statements like, “On your wedding day, I'll will …” rather than saying, “If you book me …”  As you talk about it, they'll begin to imagine you as a part of it too, making their “yes” that much easier.  Assume their answer will be yes unless they lead you to believe otherwise.

CLOSING QUESTION

The hardest moment in any consultation is the end. What do you say? How do you know if they're going to book you? The answer is simple. Wrap things up with a strong closing question. A few years back, we heard a talk by Zach & Jody Gray and they shared their favorite closing question, “Does this sounds like what you're looking for?”  The  simple beauty of this question is that it's straight forward without being pushy and there are only a couple of possible outcomes:

  • Yes! Right on. Pull out the contract and book them!
  • Maybe. This gives you the opportunity to ask a follow up question, “What are your objections?”
  • No. Same follow up question.

Based on their response to the follow up question, you'll know exactly what is needed to close the deal. Knowing why they're not ready to sign on the dotted line gives you the chance to address their concerns, and no matter what the response, you won't be left wondering.  They'll tell you exactly what you need to know.

That wraps things up for our consultation series! If you're just tuning in, feel free to catch up on past posts here:

Winning at Client Consultations

Part I: Standing Out from the Crowd – How to Overcome the “Job Interview”

Part II: Establishing Trust – Laying the Ground Work

Part III: Closing Time – Helping Clients Choose You

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