Sometimes you need to give your dream client proof that you’re the right partner. They challenges you with a concern, and you want to make your case. You want to resolve all of their concerns, offering proof point after proof point in an attempt to convince them that their doubts are unfounded.
But being defensive can cause your client to defend his concerns. You cause them to continue to find reasons to object to what you’re saying and to defend their assertions. When you’re defensive, you cause your prospective client to entrench in their own defense when you really want to open them up to possibilities and new ideas.
There are lots of occasions when you need to offer proof. But that isn’t always the right approach. Sometimes when your client is incredulous, the right response is to ask questions.
Your dream client might say something like, “We’re not sure if you’re big enough to handle our business. ”You’re gut reaction might be rattle off the number of locations your company has, the size of the organization, and all the capabilities you have to serve that client. But another approach, a different approach, my be to ask a question. You might ask, “What would you need to see to be hundred percent confident in choosing a company our size?” You’re not defensive about your the size of your company, you’re not desperate, and your dream client is forced to consider the question.
Or a prospective client might say something like, “I’m not exactly sure your solution would work.” Instead of defending your solution, blasting the client with all of the reasons that you believe your solution will work, you might say something that sounds like this, ” What would we need to change in order for you to be certain our solution would work? This doesn’t suggest that you’re not confident, it doesn’t suggest that your client’s belief is wrong, and it opens a dialogue about their beliefs and what might change them.
One of the real benefits of not being defensive when challenged is that it can help to get the real issue out on the table. Instead guessing at what evidence or proof might be necessary to win your prospective client over, you let them tell you what they need to see. If you can provide it to them you have an excellent chance of winning their business. Being defensive and arguing your point can make winning much less likely.
Subscribe to my weekly podcast In the Arena.