Updated: Apr 21
This text is from our consulting firm's latest 321 Biz Development episode found on fifteen podcast platforms.
I know, I know. The title of this blog sounds like a broad generalization in an attempt to lower white-collar business professionals' educational accomplishments. This is not the intent.
As a consulting firm, I need to tell attorneys, CPAs, dentists, plastic surgeons, insurance brokers, real estate brokers and other certified and credential professionals how consumers feel and what consumers are saying about their experiences at appointments.
Consumers looking at hiring white-collar small business owners assume providers have credentials because providers have Attorney-at-Law, CPA, DDS, MD, or MBA in their business names.
A personal injury lawyer probably has a law degree. A dentist with a practice on the boulevard probably graduated from a dental school. A plastic surgeon with a business name, Metro Plastic Surgery Center, probably has at least one person with a medical degree. A business with the name, Big City CPAs, probably has at least one person at the company with a CPA certification.
Consumers are telling 321 Biz Dev that credentialed providers are leading conversations with their education and experience at appointments instead of, first, getting to know consumers.
Just imagine how the consumer feels. Brad makes an appointment to see a CPA and the CPA starts the conversation with talking about his credentials and the university he attended. And, to add more to the scenario, the CPA has his degrees and certifications on the walls in the office.
Let me tell white-collar business owners what consumers have told my company about the scenario I just mentioned.
First, consumers feel intimidated and they feel vulnerable that their situation will be exploited. Janet did not graduate from Harvard Law School like Michael. Janet has an Associate of Arts degree and works at the food processing plant. Janet is on unfamiliar ground in this office.
Michael, the white-collar small business owner, is sending the immediate message that he is smarter than Janet.
Second, Janet sees the Harvard Law School certification and comes to the conclusion that Michael's legal services are going to very expensive. Michael went to a very expensive university in the eyes of Janet. Whether Michael is paying back his student loans or has no college debt is irrelevant to Janet.
Lastly, depending on how successful Michael's law practice is, Michael may send nonverbal messages that he really needs Janet's money for his services...like last week!
So maybe readers can see how Janet may not select Michael to work on her case. As the saying goes, "perception is everything".
If I were a Michael, I would replace the Harvard Law Degree with warm, friendly pictures to make people like Janet feel comfortable.
In general, I also would not put pictures of exotic vacations in my office or on my social media posts. Doing so tells potential customers the service provider has expensive tastes and probably has high fees to fund these lavish vacations.
White-collar small business owners should communicate in the following order:
Welcome the potential client with a warm greeting.
The office receptionist should offer water, tea or coffee at the appointment.
The service provider should thank the person for coming to see him or her.
Then, ask the person to explain their situation and don't needlessly interrupt the person from talking.
After the person has finished talking, ask for clarification on unclear items.
If the solution is available, then the service provider can explain how to remedy the situation.
If the person is comfortable with the solution, the service provider can discuss the fee.
Our company's research shows that consumers are more likely to pay the fee if they feel the service provider listened to their concerns.
At the end of the appointment, if the person becomes a client, the service provider can then talk about his experience and education...and perhaps mentioned where he or she attended college.
I do the same thing at my company. Initially, 321 Biz Dev potential clients do not want to know my educational background covers math, science and engineering, then changed to business and economics at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
They are not interested in knowing that I had the greatest success as a young account executive who landed the largest business account in Los Angeles, $3M per year, with least amount of time at the company, and in the sales industry.
Initially, 321 Biz Dev potential clients could care less that I spent 10,000 hours developing our consulting services. What 321 Biz Dev potential clients care about is how I can help them improve sales productivity and sales performance.
Do you see how I put this information about me at the end? If I would have started the article with this information, many readers would have not finished the article.
If this episode provoked some deep thought about improving your sales performance, please do not hesitate to contact me, Rick Nappier, at 726-999-0999. Or, if you are Spanish language business owner, please contact Yeilyn Rodriguez, VP, Business Development specialist at 786-697-3400. Ms. Rodriguez is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Interested parties can click here to visit our website. Then, click the Questionnaire tab to complete the 5-minute questionnaire so 321 Biz Dev can learn more about your current sales situation or learn about your current or past experiences with trying to improve sales performance. A 321 Biz Dev specialist will contact you within two business days to review your responses.
We hope your enjoyed today’s post and linked podcast episode.