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1 Simple Strategy to Convert Prospects into Clients

by Bill Cates

One of the biggest obstacles to turning a prospect into a client is inertia – the inertia of the prospect. Sometimes, making a change can be hard for them. They may keep their head in the sand (or snow), avoiding important decisions. Or they may be working with someone with whom they are not completely happy, but making the change feels hard to them.

Unless we “disrupt” their inertia, they may never take new action.

One way to disrupt their inertia is by helping them see the problems they don’t know they have – by asking great questions.  Sometimes they know their problems, but still don’t move. So, what’s next?

The Impact of the Problem

Once you learn about a problem or concern, your next question should be designed to discover what impact that problem or concern might be having on their current situation, or something in the future.

For instance, when I’m on the phone with a corporate prospect and discover they don’t have any kind of organized training for referrals or a referral culture, I’ll say something like, “Have you ever stopped to figure out the economic impact of not having a strong referral methodology in place with your sales team?”

For most situations, there is usually some sort of economic impact to their problem. It could be something that is directly losing them money, or an opportunity not taken that also represents a loss.

Whenever you are able to quantify the impact in dollars, or productivity, or something highly tangible – your prospect will usually be interested in learning more about you and what you can do for them.

How do you do this?   You use the three magic words “Tell me more.”  Sometimes that’s all it takes.  Sometimes you can say, “How do you think that is impacting your situation?”  OR  “If you had to guess, what do you think that’s costing you?”   OR  “What happens if we do nothing about this?”

The impact of their problem need not be economic. Just don’t stop at the surface level of the problem and think you’re going to get them to want to fix it. You often need to go much deeper.

Here’s a blog post that helps you get better at this:

Remember This!

With both your prospects and clients, their emotional reaction to loss (actual loss or fear of loss) is twice that of their emotional reaction to a gain.

Meaning… Their emotional reaction to losing $100 will be twice that of gaining $100.

Keep this powerful dynamic in mind when speaking with prospects and clients. Yes – you can appeal to their desire for gain. But appealing to the flip side of that might be more effective. Forward this article to a friend or colleague. And don’t forget ALL our resources – many of them free – are waiting for you at

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