In most industries growth is key. Onboarding a new client can be a high-stakes business. Especially when your client has a strong connection to their current product or service. Too quickly many people jump straight into the “sell” of what they have to offer.
Especially with high-value products and services sometimes a relationship needs to be developed. Coaching your client through to their decision and understanding their psychology is important. So how do you start to build this and what are the key coaching questions you can ask to start to build rapport and learn more about each other?
Firstly, understanding the client’s demographics and stage of life will give you an indication if there might be an interest in what you have to offer. Will they need your product right now? Is there a cultural nuance you need to think about? How do you need to adjust your conversation to what this person may need now or is this really a longer relationship you are looking at. A study in 2020 discovered that the best Thai salespeople displayed mindfulness characteristics and high levels of cultural intelligence.
What is also important is building trust. This might be by showing a track record, gaining a referral or simply demonstrating your product/ company reach on social media or via validated platforms reviews.
Using the right language patterns, and mirroring them can also help to create that rapport. Here is an article looking at how you can do this for maximum effect.
Here are also 3 key questions you can use to learn more, build rapport and potentially onboard that new client.
What is important to you?
Asking this question and keeping it completely open can really open doors to a great conversation. The client may ask you about context. Ideally just keeping this very broad and saying to them “anything you like” can really take them to an emotionally charged passion around what they hold dear to them. Letting them speak, even if this is not related to your product or service area can start to open up other areas to build rapport.
Once you have heard what is important to them, then you can gauge how well they may respond to your product/ service and which area may be more relevant for them to hear about. Identifying their emotional values is key!
Is there an area (of our products/ services) which interests you more?
Asking about importance may give you an indicator of areas which are more relevant to the client. Having a deep understanding of the areas of interest may sound obvious, but too quickly, especially if you are excited about a particular area you may jump into what you are excited about as opposed to what the client needs or finds interesting.
What is stopping you from moving forward/ using our service/ buying our product?
This is a great question when you are getting to that last stage of the conversation and you can just see, hear or feel a reluctance. When you ask this question, be quiet, pause, and let the client think and construct their answer. Do not lead them (make suggestions). Just let them think and answer candidly. Before you counter their response with a resolution, really hear and think about what they are saying carefully.
If the product or service on offer is definitely going to help them, and there is still reluctance, what might they be fearful of? Remember buying/ making change is an emotional decision, especially when there are high-value stakes. You may want to take your time in constructing the right response to reduce their fears and increase their confidence. You could also ask them what they would want to see/ hear to help them move forward.
Ensuring you know the answers to all 3 of the questions above can help you move forward with your prospect/ client with a successful outcome for all!
Caroline Langston is the Co-Founder of Successful Consultants Ltd, an Executive, Personal and Career Development Coaching company in Hong Kong and New York. Caroline is dedicated to coaching people for performance success, wellness and happiness in their careers and lives. She is degree qualified with a Certificate in Professional Coaching Mastery. She is also a Professional Certified Accredited Coach (International Coaching Federation), has a Certificate in Team Coaching from the EMCC and further certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming at Master Practitioner and Coach level. www.successCL.com