Posted by: Kristen Beireis, Trust Marketing Expert

hobbesSo, I have a cat named Hobbes (left).  She’s adorably cute and I’m smitten with her.  So smitten that all I want to do is hold and cuddle with her.  Unfortunately, this is NOT what she wants.  She is actually very much against being held.  In fact, she’s very much against being “made” to do anything.   She’s actually very affectionate and LOVES attention though.  She just has to CHOOSE it.  She’ll sit on my lap, if I put a blanket on it and sit still long enough.  She’ll cuddle up next to me on the bed in the mornings.  She’ll even meow at me for attention.

The hardest part for her is that she has asthma and I have to give her inhaler treatments (using a spacer…like for babies).  This means I have to hold her on my lap, put a muzzle on her mouth and then wait for her to breathe a few times.  Then I have to give her a minute and do it all over again.  Amazingly, she sits for this.  Why? Because I’ve given her space to CHOOSE it. From the very beginning I had a treat in one hand and the inhaler in the other.  I let her come up to me, sniff and see that there was a reward.  Eventually she would just lay down next to me, giving me permission to give her the inhaler.  It may take her 20 minutes to come around for it, but she does give me permission.  If I don’t give her space to choose, she doesn’t trust me…it’s as simple as that.

It’s the same for our clients.  They want to make a change (just as Hobbes wants attention).  They’re afraid, not sure what it entails and know that if they let you “get them” they will have to sit through some unpleasantness in order to get better.  Hobbes knows the inhaler makes her feel better.  That doesn’t mean she likes letting me do it…but she does LET me do it.  Because I’ve earned her trust.

You have to do the same with potential clients.  You have to earn their trust and show them that, even though change is uncomfortable, you are going to be there for them. You can’t do that if you are threatening them and demanding that they take action or else…worse.  My challenge to you is to empower your potential clients.  Empower them to make a choice.  Show them what the next step is and empower them to make it.  How do you do that?

1)  Provide your potential clients with a consistent presence of being a coach. No judgement, no advice, just compassionate, truthful information that invites them to take a step forward.

2)  Get their attention, up front, with what’s possible in a “short” time of working with you (not the end result…that can be too scary…reveal that later on in the process).  Hold what’s possible for them in everything you put together.  Share with them what it looks like.

3)  Be patient with them. Know that they aren’t going to buy the first time they meet you.  They are going to study you a bit, but the ones who really want to work with you will say “yes”.  All you need to do is empower them to make the decision.  It’s up to them to choose to make the change.  Empower them with the tools they need to do so…in your marketing.

It’s not necessary to beat people over the head with the worst case scenario of what could happen if they don’t do what you’re suggesting.  However, it is necessary to give them every opportunity to choose to change and educate them on the steps it takes to get there.

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