Keeping a client is much easier than finding a new client. Teaching team members in direct contact with clients how to constantly be selling can be a huge leg up. On Susan’s guest spot on Michael Oberther’s Hard Lessons podcast, listen to how to help your team listen for selling opportunities and how “selling” can be framed differently.
Please find the full video transcript below…
Michael: I’m here with Susan Fennema. Susan, what is the hardest lesson you’ve learned in business?
Susan: The hardest lesson I’ve learned in business is that everyone is always selling. My team takes over implementing the work after I’ve sold it into a small business. And that makes them owners of the client relationship, but they aren’t salespeople. It’s not that they can’t sell; it’s that they feel like they shouldn’t, or that talking about spending money isn’t kosher. Really, all they need is to be trained to listen for opportunities to provide additional value. It’s just a mindset change. That value can make such a huge difference to the client. But if it isn’t offered, it is an opportunity missed by everyone. Keeping a client is so much easier than finding one, so teaching a team member how to constantly be selling can be a huge leg up.
Michael is Teaching His Team to Sell Too
Michael: Susan, I love that hard lesson. I think it’s tremendous. Thank you for sharing. If you are watching and you have a hard lesson, share it in the comments below. We’d love to have you be our next guest. I love that lesson, Susan. Because we don’t struggle with it, right? It’s not like they’re doing it and failing or doing it and losing clients. They’re only comfortable with a couple of specific topics, our bookkeepers. They’re very comfortable with accounting-related things. Someone needs a banker, someone needs a CPA, and someone needs a new payroll company. But we’re seeing all the bills, we’re seeing all the credit card processing. We see literally everything. And if there was more awareness of what something should cost or how it works in practical terms, I can’t tell, we probably have $40 million in potential referrals out to our network. Something absurd.
Susan: With my team, they’re project managers; they’re ops managers; they’re writing process. They’re doing all this and it’s amazing. When they’re talking about whether or not the client’s client is within the budget, they’re good there. They can totally talk about that. But once they start trying to figure out, “Oh yeah, we could also help them with this.” It’s like they don’t want to ask for money. They’re afraid to ask a client for money. And I’m like, “You understand that they hired us because they want our services. They want help.”
And I have one that I finally broke through to her today. I’m dealing with this right now, that’s why it came top of my mind. But she said, “Yeah, I just feel so bad asking them.” And I’m like, “Do you love your client?” And she’s a very Christian woman. I said, “Do you love them? Do you want them to succeed?” And she said, “Absolutely.” And I said, “Well, you’re not acting out of brotherly love if you’re not offering them a solution.” And she went, “Ah, that’s it.” So I have a feeling her whole approach to it is going to change.
Michael: Yeah, that’s a strong message to a Christian. I mean, that’s great. But it also, I mean, listening to you talk, I’m listening to you talk about them being afraid to ask people for money. If that’s where their head is at, they really got to rethink that whole feeling. Because you’re not saying, “Hey, if you pay me, I’ll do a thing.” It’s more, “Hey, I noticed a thing. Here’s how if that thing were not a thing anymore, this is how it would benefit you potentially. Let’s talk about how this thing affects you. Would you like help with it?”
Susan: It’s a value proposition.
Michael: It’s a value prop. And as a salesperson, you’re not telling them like, “Hey, you got to get this fixed.” It’s more like, “I noticed this thing. Do you notice it too? How does it affect you?”
Susan: Sometimes we do have to say that. Sometimes we do.
Michael: Sometimes you do. But, yeah.
Susan: Yeah. But it’s such a soft sell. It’s not a hard sell. It’s just offering a way you can help.
Michael: Absolutely. It’s one of the most valuable things you can do. It’s the thing that gets me the most positive feedback. When our team points out an opportunity to improve things and they notice it, they bring it up. They confirm with the client that that is an issue they’re feeling. They’re like, “Wow, thank you for caring.” Thank you for caring.
Susan: They’re noticing it or pointing it out or helping me solve it. Whatever it is, they’re grateful when you bring it up. They’re not like, “Oh, you just want me to spend more money.” That’s not who we have as clients.