The Client-centred Blog

Sell the experience, not the concept

Several years ago I learned from master coach Steve Chandler his ‘Eighteen fearless disciplines’ for creating clients. He calls them disciplines because you actually have to practice them rather than just know the idea.

The first of these disciplines is ‘Sell the experience, not the concept’ and it can transform the way you conduct the process of engaging with new potential clients.

At the core of this discipline is that when you have a conversation with a new potential client you want their decision to be whether to continue working with you or not, rather than whether to start working with you. The more substance that the conversation has, the more value it delivers, then the more it will make sense to the potential client to continue and want more.

Understanding how to create value is underpinned by understanding what people are really buying, so let’s use some examples to illustrate this:

* People do not buy a drill because they want a drill. They want a hole that then leads to something else they want to accomplish.

* People do not go to the dentist because they enjoy having someone poke around inside their mouth. They go because they want to be pain free, have nice teeth and good health.

* People do not buy financial planning because they want a financial plan. They want peace of mind, security, freedom and so on (each client will have their own version of this).

A drill, dental treatment and financial planning are all a means to the end. They are not the end in itself. Powerful, value creating client conversations do not focus upon the means. Why would they?

Find out what the end is – what do they really want to achieve? What makes it important? Ultimately, what people buy are feelings. Imagine you wanted to purchase a new car. Would you want the dealer describing to you what it is like to drive the one you are interested in or would you want him or her to give you the key and let you actually drive it?

There is no feeling in the concept of something. Describing what it is like to drive a car has no feeling for the customer. But actually driving it does. The same applies to selling financial planning.

Powerful financial planners understand the value of creating an experience. They focus their attention upon finding out what someone really wants and they go deep into the clients world. They connect. They ask lots of questions and they listen.

You do not have to wait until someone is paying you before you serve them. You can begin from the very first moment. Just as motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

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