In this blog series, we discussed how you, as a business advisor, are the guide in your owner client’s journey. You have the task of understanding their challenges, formulating a plan, and now you must call your owner to take action to execute said plan.
In most great stories that inspire us, the protagonist won’t act on their own to solve their problems. They must be presented with a challenge by an outside force, and they need a little push from their guide to commit to making a change in their lives. Olympians, for example, don’t win gold medals overnight. It takes years of training, dedication, and an overwhelming amount of encouragement from their coaches to reach their goals. Their coaches provide them with a strict plan to keep them on track. As a coach, it is your responsibility is to make sure your hero is hitting their marks, dedicated to the process, and preparing to take action to reach their own business goals. Remind them every day why they hired you to take them to the finish line.
A good guide, or coach, will remind the client that they understand their challenges and aspirations. When you meet with a client and get an understanding of where they are today and where they want to be, you’ll want to find a connection with that owner. Whether you have been in the owner’s shoes before or have worked with other business owners in similar positions previously, show your clients empathy and remind them of your many years of experience. Give them data or testimonials from other business owners that you have helped get across the finish line. Prove that you are qualified to help your client achieve their goals and live the life they have always wanted.
Help Customers Avoid Failure
Humans feel the pain of a loss twice as intensely as the comparable pleasure of a gain. Because of this, owners work incredibly hard to avoid losses in whatever way possible. Help your clients understand what is at stake by not engaging you in your planning process to help them exit their businesses successfully. What do they have to lose if they decide not to work with you? Highlight what your clients are going to risk if they do not act today! Share stories of clients that waited too long to act and the resulting hardships they faced. Show your client the cost of not doing business with you. Without preparation, it won't matter if they don’t make it to the finish line – they may not even make it into the race!
Happily, Ever After
Highlighting what is at risk is important. However, you must keep the balance between positive and negative messages. An effective way to do this is to paint a picture of a successful outcome with a client. Highlight what they can achieve with your assistance. You are the guide to help transform your clients and achieve their goals. No longer are they a mediocre athlete. With your plan, motivation, and experience, they are now an Olympian standing on the podium receiving their gold medal. Help them envision what being the hero for their families, their businesses, their employees, and even their communities would mean. Never assume that your prospects and clients understand the value of the solutions you are offering them and how it can change their lives forever. You have to tell them explicitly.
Give them an example of an experience you had in the past with a business owner “just like them”. This owner had a similar business and goals for the exit of their business. Explain to them in detail what the plan was and the ultimate outcome. What was that owner able to gain from taking action and working towards their goals with you as their guide? Ask your current client how they would feel if they were to address some of their own challenges to reach their goals.
As a bonus, you have the satisfaction of knowing your part in helping them get there. There is nothing like seeing your clients achieve the life they have worked so hard to have. And the cherry on top for you? Ensuring your clients achieve success also enhances your referral rate.
You are assisting in the transformation of the main character in this story. The hero in your story would never have been able to get through this frustrating journey without your guidance and expertise. Don’t underplay that. Depending on their exit path, your business owner clients are transforming from an overworked business owner that is too busy working in the business to think too much about the future, to enjoying the fruits of their labor by positively impacting the lives of those around them and exiting towards the lifestyle of their dreams.
- Share data, testimonials, and statistics of other planning work you have done with clients.
- Call your clients to action by telling stories of clients that waited too long and of clients that worked with you to reach their goals.
- Be sure to highlight what negative outcomes business owners can expect if they don’t act and choose not to work with you.
- Balance this statement though with the positive effects a business owner can expect to experience when they decide to work with you.
- Don’t assume that your prospects or clients understand the value you are going to provide them – tell them!