The other evening, I was coaching a student of The Influence Academy around his content strategy on LinkedIn.
This individual happens to work in the tech field, and we were talking about how to break down his content in a way that is relatable and engaging with his prospects. We were sharing a laugh about how much of a challenge that can be, since reading content about IT systems is essentially the equivalent of taking a narcotic. I mean, making “networks” sound sexy (especially when one of your clients is the federal government) is no easy task.
After we stopped laughing, I paused, then said, “So just acknowledge it then.”
“That your industry can be really intimidating and sometimes boring and confusing AF.”
He then shared the following, “That’s actually a problem when trying to close deals. One time we were talking to a prospect about how many gigabytes of storage he had. He was answering the question semi-reluctantly and when we asked whether it was actually a terabyte and he said, ‘yeah, that sounds right.’ Well there’s a HUGE difference between the two. So, we laughed and said, ‘It’s ok, no one really understands the differences between all of them, we can help you find out.’ The guy immediately felt more comfortable and the conversation really opened up.”
Much to his credit (he’s a good sport and is VERY coachable) he accepted the challenge and decided to start a weekly show breaking down the meaning of overly used tech terms that no one actually understands.
Here’s why this works:
Humans HATE being embarrassed. It’s our primary motivation in life to be accepted by others. We are social creatures after all. Being judged, even by someone who is trying to sell US, is something we avoid at all costs. This creates a barrier to closing a deal when a prospect is not being entirely truthful because they’re embarrassed or intimidated to say they don’t know what they’re talking about or have botched up before.
The more you can give them space and permission to be ok with not being ok though, the better odds you have of actually closing the sale.
For instance, sometimes an unspoken objective of students signing up for my program is that they KNOW they aren’t always the best at consistently creating content on social media and they are too overwhelmed by their business to focus on anything but client work
I often say, “If you’re anything like me, you have blips where you’re really active on social media and sometimes when you’re not. It can be hard juggling that with client work too. After all, you’re a business of one. That’s ok, that’s EVERY solopreneur. But there are tools to help you, so you don’t feel like it’s one more “to-do” you’re not actually ‘doing.’”
It’s amazing how quickly I hear an exhale as the prospect acknowledges that yes, they are in fact hesitant to sign up for another program because they’re embarrassed and ashamed they haven’t stuck with others in the past.
Humor is a great way to give your prospect this space. It’s often a great pattern interrupt and a really relatable way to meet unspoken objectives:
For coaches: “I know, everyone and their brother seems to be a life coach these days, don’t they? It’s probably hard to determine who is actually qualified. I know a lot of my clients felt this way too.”
For marketers: “I know, CPC, and CPI, and PPC, and SEO, is like death by acronyms, isn’t it? Here’s what it actually means for your business…”
For lawyers, “I know, my clients are afraid to even answer my question of ‘How’s your day going?’ for fear of being on the clock with me….”
See how poking fun at your own industry by acknowledging hesitations works? Of course, this only works if after acknowledging the hesitation you actually overcome it with facts, figures, credibility, etc.
However, it’s a great way to start meeting the prospect where they’re at. It subconsciously says to them, “Oh, they get me. They understand where I’m coming from,” and at the end of the day, it’s not the one who has the best solution, it’s the one who understands the prospect’s problem the best that actually closes the deal.