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What you need to know to close the deal

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The luxury of owning a home comes with some downsides. 

One of them is maintenance. 

I recently had to have the trees near my house trimmed. 

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Not having any idea how much this would cost, I contacted a few professionals to give me a bid. 

My neighbors recently did the same with not great results. They ended up hacking so much off the tree that it’s taken a few years for the trees to come back. 

Maybe that’s what they wanted but we wanted to avoid that look while still getting rid of the danger overhanging branches posed to our home. 

That was the result we were looking for.  

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Why is this important? 

Because the difference between quoting on a deliverable, and trying to understand the result the customer wants is often the difference between a sale and no sale. 

The vendor I went with—let’s call him Joe—asked questions to understand what I wanted. Joe understood I didn’t want a hack job. 

The other vendor never met me in person—which is fine, but he also didn’t follow up with any questions. None. 

All he did was give me an estimate to remove the entire tree in the front of the house. 

You see the disconnect? Hard to miss, right?

He gave me a quote without knowing what I was looking for. 

Interestingly, the quote was also three times as much as the winning bid.

Why would I ever go back to that vendor again?

How asking questions gets you the job

So how does this relate to your business? Well, it always comes back to understanding the result your client or prospect is trying to achieve and overcoming their objections. 

Does your client want a new website? Why does she want that? What is she trying to achieve?

Does your prospect want a logo design? What business objective is he trying to accomplish by designing a new logo design? 

These are questions you need to ask. Not just to make sure what they are asking for is going to help get them that result, but also, because it makes the client feel heard and puts their fears to rest. 

Every sale you make comes with a ton of risk and fear. Those are huge barriers to making the sale. Your job is to help the client overcome those fears. 

The vendor who quoted to remove the tree gave me an estimate on the biggest objection I could possibly have. 

Here’s what I’m thinking going in: “I hope the vendor I pick doesn’t hack up my tree.”

And here’s what I get from vendor #2:

“Here’s an estimate to remove the entire tree.”

Epic fail.

You’ve got to figure out your prospect’s biggest fear and overcome it. You do that by asking questions. 

Building a client base and creating loyalty

Your goal should be to become their go-to guy. You want them thinking in their mind that “they’ve got a guy.”

Now that I know Joe will listen to me and do a good job, why would I look elsewhere? He’s my tree guy. When it comes to trimming trees around my house, I’ve got a guy who does a great job.

Even more important than the direct value of being my tree guy, is the referral value that loyalty is worth to Joe. I would happily refer Joe to my neighbors and give him a great testimonial, and that creates additional work for him. 

If he continues doing great work and delivering results his clients are looking for, that cycle will continue on and on.

All of it can be traced back to asking good questions and understanding the result your client is looking to achieve. 

Concentrate on objections

When you start talking results around designers, they start to get fidgety. 

You might be saying, “Design is different. Results mean return on investment so how do I quantify the value my design brings the client?”

I agree, quantifying results down to a dollar amount can be very hard to do. 

So here’s an alternative. 

Concentrate on what they are looking to avoid. Doing this can be even more powerful. 

What’s the big thing they are worried about? You can even ask them:

“What’s the biggest thing you are worried will go wrong with this project?”

It might not be what you are thinking so understanding your prospect’s fears is worth investigating. 

In my case, I didn’t want my trees to look like they had been decapitated. 

For another homeowner, it might be that they want to make sure they don’t have to deal with the tree for as long as possible. 

If that were the case, removing the entire tree might be the right solution. 

Two different outcomes, two different objections, two different people. 

And the only way to find out is to ask. 

What questions do you currently ask your prospects? Let me know in the comments.

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About Ian Vadas

Ian Vadas is a designer and the author of Work With Clients You Love. Get the eBook to learn how to select clients that pay well, treat you with respect and allow you to do your best work.

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