A question that I am often asked is, “How to use psychology to build rapport with prospective clients?”
The wrong approach would be to tell you about the different tricks, techniques, tactics and strategies that you could use in your meetings with prospects.
How to Build Rapport with Prospective Clients
When we are meeting with potential new prospects…what is essential is for us to be sincere, genuine, kind, honest, empathetic, and create resonance and a rapport with them.
We Are All Business Owners
We need to remember that we are meeting with the owner of a business entity just like ours. As a business owner, they want their business to give them the lifestyle they desire, just as we do. They will face the same challenges we do. Perhaps at times they wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, just like we do. Maybe they have cash flow problems, just like we do. This is the life of a business owner. You share this.
Today's accounting firms are in the relationship building business, so there are no techniques to understand or implement. Using psychology to build rapport with prospective clients is very simple. The prospect has agreed to meet you, possibly because your marketing campaign has been successful or they have been referred by someone they trust.
In this scenario, the prospective client already has an accountant in place and they are close with their accountant. Despite this, they know their accountant is no longer the best fit for them, but equally, there is loyalty that exists between them. Consequently, the loyalty they feel will be emotional rather than a logical.
Remember: We will not win an emotional argument with a logical argument.
We must understand that whilst the prospective client has agreed to see us, they will be somewhat hesitant or apprehensive about opening up to us about the real position that they face in their business. It’s imperative for us to be there to serve them first and not just to sell services.
At the meeting, we should:-
- Relax and be yourself
- Have a few questions prepared in your mind to ask
- Have some way to capture the replies discreetly
- Create an informal agenda
- Understand that the prospective client is coming out of his / her comfort zone to talk to you and you must treat that with respect
It’s important to understand that we are there to try and help the prospective client. We want them to move on to the next stage of what they are trying to achieve. Ultimately, our aim is to be helpful, and as a result, remove any blockages they have so that they can move forward.
We are there to serve. As the Japanese say : “To Serve is Glorious”
In my opinion, I believe this is what the accounting profession has at its heart.
Be confident and use a psychological approach to build a rapport with prospective clients; take the approach of wanting to serve.
Similarly, when we build resonance with our prospect it becomes transparent in our approach. Consequently, it will be interpreted by the prospect and then reciprocated to you. Over time, as they increasingly open up to you, they will come to trust you as a human being and as a professional.
Ultimately, you are two people trying to solve the same problem!
Remember there's no need to use fancy tricks, techniques or scripts. Always aim to be yourself. Being yourself is the best possible reason that a prospective client would want to meet with you.
For more guidance on how you can manage your prospect pipeline, consider the Addviser+ course Emotion is at the Heart of Winning New Clients. Together we explore how developing an emotional connection with prospects will help you win more clients without the need to use price or any other logical rationale.