How do you respond when someone asks you: “How do I do …” and you know it is for their business, but they do not offer to pay you?
Is your response, “I could help but I need you to sign up for my course first ….” or something like that?
The problem with that response is that it does not reflect your commitment to do the work. Even though they may not offer to pay, you need to let them know that your time and expertise is worth something.
In my work with clients, I have observed a lack of understanding of this value. They only see “Computers” as something they mostly do for entertainment. This is transferred in their attitude to my work.
What they find difficult to do is realising they should be asking for a product (service) that they need. It is as if the thinking is, “You have this hobby. Now tell me how to do it – as a friend.”
In this circumstance it is easy to do. You can show them but it is difficult to sell.
Take SEO, for instance.
Online sales and search engine marketing are now well established. People may know that search engines generate the primary value of their website. Businesses wish to make a sale, but do not yet understand it is an ongoing process. They think it is only a “Click this and get that” operation.
A quick “Secret” that you can explain in a few words.
A “Secret” you know because, of course, this is your hobby.
How do we make that into a sale?
The easy answer is going to be: “If you are interested in that, sign up for my e-letter. I have many very clear articles on exactly that.”
They either think you are “Too pushy” or “Money grabbing.”
The world has changed. It is not that people are ignoring your business value, but they believe they know more. The value of your skill is now measured in the way it brings THEM more income.
Maybe the best way is to partially answer.
Show them a little bit of the system?
Have a discussion about what their aims are.
Find out what they really expect to be achieving if it “All works out.”
Bring the subject to life as a proper business discussion.
It is easy to then introduce a real value because you are now talking about what they will gain.
What does this mean for the small business owner?
They are likely to be the most wary when it comes to paying – unless the value for THEM is clear.
So, use that.
Offer to bring in more potential business for them so that they can see what you are really worth.
Don’t hesitate to ask the BIG questions.
- What is each new customer worth to YOU?
- How many new introductions do you convert into a sale?
- Are they all just one off sales or do you expect repeat business?
Only once you have the answers to these you can offer them the value of your services.
“OK, so say I can bring you 10 new customers a month? It looks like they will be worth, about $3,000 to you. How does a 10% introduction fee sound? If I bring those extra 10 in to you, you pay me $300.”
Straight away there’s no downside for them – they don’t pay until you have delivered new customers.
What does this mean for your business?
Starting from scratch, with a new potential client, you will have established a proper business discussion.
This is still true even if they are a friend who wanted it all for free.
You turned that “How do I …?” into:
“Oh, is this what you do for other people? I did not realise that this was possible. I would have asked sooner.” Etc. The value of your skills and expertise are clear. From now it is measured by the improvements you bring to their business.
Then, after that first month and there are more customers on their books. You can re-visit the conversation and suggest that they put the $300 on as a monthly retainer. No limits on the number of new clients. If done right, they will continue to get more customers every month. After all, you have already done all the hard work. It is now almost automatic for you. They don’t need to know that part of course!
The value of your service is seen as an investment for the future of their business.
In the beginning, they thought you have little value – to them. Then, as their customer list grows, it goes up, up and away. They can see you have tremendous value for their future. Your two businesses are linked. There is no future for your business if you do not start and continue making improvements in their theirs.
That is then a clear, defined, value and the basis for an ongoing relationship.
You actually helped by turning that original undervalued “How do I …” into a mutually beneficial business.