Tell a story. Ask for business

I used to go over the top with introducing myself, not knowing how much to say, and usually babbling until what I said sounded good to me. In this case, there were usually a lot of questions my listener had about qualifications and marketing strategy or simply blank stares. Quite often the conversation shifted pretty fast.

At that point I could tell I had lots of work to do in introducing myself, let alone in attracting and asking for business.

If your goal is to provide services for others, then develop the ability to ask questions. In time, I learned this poignant lesson.

For instance, if we can turn to our prospects with two ears and the patience and concern to hear their needs, we need to initiate conversation with a list of carefully created questions for opening their dialogue.

Ultimately we wish to ask, “When would you like me to help you get started with this?”

When’s the last time you asked this question? It addresses immediacy, partnering and concern for creating a solution. Extroverts see the need for asking it, for they want to know where the situation sits. Is the prospect ready? Is this  a good fit?

Introverts, on the other hand, think that when a prospect is ready they will say so. Interestingly, both introverts and extroverts behave based on our comfort zones. Since introverts would rather not be put on the spot, we introverts tend to await being told instead of initiating next steps.

And quite often introverts hurt for business.

But before getting to this point, we need to understand our prospect’s circumstances, priorities and expectations. But are prospects willing to share about themselves if we haven’t first shared what it is we do for folks? Usually not.

So let’s back up another step.

Until we have created a warm conversation with a prospect, we won’t engage them enough to create interest in how we can partner. So before we even qualify ourselves, we need to engage them.

Tell a story.

This isn’t a story about yourself, how you got to be in the position you are in – though you may be asked this by curious minds or those wishing to create rapport before talking shop.

Stories you tell should be discreet sharing of client who recently engaged you and why. Focus on their needs, their concerns, their interests. Then share what it is you did to solve their problem.

This telling allows listeners to compare themselves to the main character – your client. Notice the questions they ask as you do the telling. This means they are interested.

The point is, unless we tell stories, we don’t know how people feel about certain problems or solutions.

Seems easy, doesn’t it? Easier than motivating through facts.

Now ask a few questions.

 

After telling your story and fielding some questions from the prospect it is time for your first question – sounding something like, “what’s your interest in this?”

If they have circumstances relevant to what you have shared, this opens the dam. Obviously, then it’s time to check in. Ask a question – see if there is a fit. The question above will get you there.

And unless we follow up with questions, we can’t know for sure whether they relate or are ready to begin the solution.

You can stay stuck in the unknown and contribute to the unknown of others, or you can tell a story and then ask for business. It’s your call. If you want to provide services for others, then develop the ability to tell stories and ask questions.

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