"It isn’t just the words you say out loud that matter. It’s the words you say to yourself."
“I don’t want to pressure them into anything”
That was her answer. She looked almost embarrassed by the idea the question had suggested.
And she was adamant in her response.
It was like she’d considered all aspects of it already and gave me an intentional answer.
In truth, she was fuelled by fear.
By what it would say about her.
What judgements people would make.
That she’d lose respect for herself.
Have you asked your clients for a referral?
Even though her business had grown primarily through word-of-mouth.
Even though she was struggling to find either new or consistent clients.
Even though she hated creating ads.
She still wouldn’t consider asking existing and past clients for a referral.
She didn’t want to pressure them into anything.
We (meaning people like me) talk a lot about the psychology of your customers in sales.
What about your psychology?
What’s your gut reaction when you think about referrals?
Do you see them as a fair transaction with a client that was happy with your service?
Does the word transaction send shivers down your back (and not the kind you get when you think of someone running their hands down it – your back that is)?
Or does the very thought of asking for a referral make you feel queasy? Like you’re unintentionally pressuring the client?
Do you feel like you’re pushing the relationship too far? That you’re overstepping the boundaries of decency and asking for too much?
Are you afraid the client will say no?
And won’t hire you again?
That they’ll judge you and think you’re just one of those people that wants money?
Are you already judging yourself?
Because that’s what my client was doing.
Judging herself before her clients could.
When we dug a little deeper, it became obvious that her reluctance to asking for referrals came from a childhood of messages about how business owners are greedy and making money isn’t honourable.
She’d never given any thought to why asking for a referral made her feel like this.
She’d just accepted it. Without question. Closed the door on the possibility.
Good thing she hired me for business consulting, wasn’t it?
With a massage business that was struggling to make money, and two children to feed, we started working together to see what she could do to change that. From her website, to her marketing and sales technique.
She loved her work and adored her clients. But the business side of business? Not so much.
She figured I’d bust into the room, flash some client-attraction tactics and bust back out again.
I could have done that. The idea of wearing a cape while doing so did cross my mind. But it would’ve been short term.
Tactics benefit your business for the next ten days. But mastering your psychology? Serve you for decades.
This is what happens when you hire a writer that’s also a qualified coach.
It isn’t just your words that get flipped and whipped into shape.
Once we’d reached a conclusion about her fears around referrals, I asked her to listen to me asking her for a referral.
And to notice how she feels.
Diana, I said (I used her real name while talking to her, obviously). We’ve been working together for a while now and I’m really impressed with the results you’re getting. I especially love how you’ve grown the monthly membership programme.
I’m ready for new consulting clients and was wondering if you knew anyone who could use my help? For each person you refer to me who then becomes a client, I’m happy to write an ad for you that you can use in your next marketing cycle.
And how she felt?
She was already thinking of people that she could refer to me. There were no feelings of pressure, animosity, or negativity.
But Razwana, she questioned. How can I say the same as you to my clients? When you say it like that, it sounds really fair. But when I speak, the words I use are just too blunt.
Ah, your words. My forte. Welcome.
We then talked through the words she would use to ask for a referral.
We refined them, and practiced them, until she became comfortable with her speech.
We pinpointed which words made her sound pushy. Why they did so. And what she could replace them with.
Your words matter, folks.
It isn’t just the words you say out loud that matter. It’s the words you say to yourself
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