E XCERP T
greater the pool of prospective clients who could solicit
your help on their pressing problems.
Like is your prospect’s impression of how pleasant
working with you will be. Consulting is a human endeavor and when clients are considering a few consultants who are sufficiently skilled, they will choose the
consultant with whom they experience the best rapport
over a consultant who is objectively more qualified.
Trust is your prospect’s belief, on a number of fronts,
that you can be relied upon. We’ll delve further into this
pillar in a few minutes.
Need is your prospect’s perception that a specific
problem or aspiration must be addressed. It’s the yawning gap between your prospect’s views of how the world
is and how the world should be.
Want is your prospect’s desire to address specific
problems or aspirations. It’s the hunger that compels
a client to take action. When proposals don’t close for
months on end, the problem is a lack of Want. Prospects
frequently acknowledge there’s a problem and agree the
consultant can help resolve it, but then fail to take action. Action is scary. Change is scary. Therefore, for a
project to close, the prospects’ desire and urgency must
outweigh their fears.
Value is your prospect’s perception that engaging
you will yield greater benefits than pursuing any other
course with the same time and money. Some consultants
mistakenly think Value is about ROI. It’s usually not.
Clients aren’t comparing the return from your project
to the cost. They’re comparing the benefit of your project, financially and personally, to the benefit of doing
something else. High Value makes for large, lucrative
Know, Need and Value are the rational pillars. They’re
why a project exists and you’re in the running to win it.
Like, Trust, Want, and Value are the emotional pillars.
They’re why the project actually closes and you win it.
As you can see, Value has both a rational and emotional
component: “hard” benefits like profit and “soft” benefits like status or work-life balance.
While all six pillars are required to support a consulting sale, some carry more weight than others. The number one driver of choice is… (drumroll please)… Trust.
This is true no matter what type of project you’re working on, or what stripe of consultant you are.
Clients choose the consultant they trust most.
The Trust Triangle—It’s All About Me!
Entire books have been written to show you how to
build trust. From a consultant’s standpoint, though, trust
is absolutely indispensable. It’s also straightforward,
and I’m going to shortcut the concept for you.
Trust is a triangle, and all three points of the triangle
are about me! Except “me” in this case is from the prospect’s perspective: you’re considering me and have my
best interests in mind, not just your own; you’re going
to help me by solving my problem; you’re not going to
hurt me by screwing up or making me look bad. The
more a client believes you rock on all three points, the
more he’ll trust you.
So, if the prospect’s perspective is that trust is all about
him, that means the more you listen and attend to your
prospect, the more opportunity you have to build trust.
You should always strive to be trustworthy, of course.
Then layer on your solid relationship, a dose of good
listening, and provide the credibility boosters, risk reducers, project approaches, terms and structures that
knock it out of the park on all three points of trust for
that specific prospect.