From a recent client conversation:
You didn’t say that, but you very well could have.
Let’s talk about why.
You have clients who are thrilled with your service.
Referrals close quickly (sometimes that very week).
But the sales cycle for new prospects (even qualified inbound ones) is far longer than it seems like it should be.
One reason this might be happening?
There’s “hidden value” within the service you provide that you don’t outwardly discuss with new prospects.
In fact, you might not even be fully aware of it yourself.
Which leads us to a principle…
Principle: Meet them where the value lies
Let’s say that you’re providing tax preparation services to yoga studios.
You feel good about your market position (you’re way more specialized than any of the other CPA’s you know), and your clients send you lavish thank-you gifts each year, showering you with praise for taking a huge burden off their plate.
But for some reason, when a new studio finds your website and reaches out, they’re a bit, well… flaky.
The conversation starts out with a bang:
But when it comes time to describe the scope of your service and reveal the price tag, you can physically feel the energy leave their body as they go to check their email, refresh their Instagram feed… ANYTHING to get them out of this conversation.
And this behavior is confusing because your offer is so “compelling.”
What if you could save $20,000 in taxes this year?
Plus, think of all of the time and stress you’ll save. You can’t afford to hire someone in-house to do it, so why not use us?
Yes, that will work… in some cases.
But here are the challenges that you’re up against.
Problem #1: No one sits around thinking about taxes.
Maybe they think about it once a month when they’re looking over the budget… maybe. Once a quarter is more like it. And then a very intense spike of attention in April and October.
So you want to be around for those moments, but the problem is they’re fleeting. Here and gone out of that person’s consciousness within 24 hours. You need to be in their head when this happens, but it’s too hard to time and there’s too much competing for their attention to be there right at that moment.
Yes, you could retarget the crap out of them with that offer. And yes you could hire the #1 ace super-conversion copywriter to take advantage of every “psychological trigger in the book. But still, you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Problem #2: Pain points like taxes are… painful! And no one wants to think about pain.
Yes, I know. “Press the pain button,” as the typical copywriting trope goes. But c’mon, who wants to start off a new relationship like that, even if your promise is the resolution of that pain.
So let me get this straight, hypothetical yoga studio CPA… you’re going to take the most annoying and painful thing in the book (taxes), and then continue to highlight how painful that thing is in your marketing?
This messaging is starting to feel like an annoying insect that needs to be swatted away, regardless of whether or not you’re going to get stung by the problem sometime in the future.
Problem #3: The details create a feeling of uncertainty and confusion, no matter how well you explain yourself.
And honestly, what are the chances that someone is going to switch up what they’re doing right at the last second when there’s uncertainty in the air? Status quo bias is powerful in and of itself, but far more so when there’s the potential for hidden risks you don’t have visibility into.
So what do we do?
Where’s the disconnect?
In effect, we’re asking ourselves:
What aspects of your service do your clients actually find value in?
Hint: It’s probably not what you, the service provider, think it is. And it’s probably not what your clients tell you it is either.
So in the yoga studio owner’s case, taxes are a necessary business function. You’re filling that functional role. But that’s not why you’ve retained almost 100% of the clients you’ve acquired.
Instead, is it the throwaway advice you gave them on improving their payment process so that it’s not a hassle trying to get everyone to pay up at the end of each class?
Or the peace of mind knowing their books are organized and it’s easy to pull an income statement at the end of the month?
Or what about the examples you share of how other successful studio owners have grown and managed their cash flow?
“But this isn’t related our service,” says our collective misguided inner monologue.
This IS your service… you just aren’t calling it that.
And this is where the value lies.
Our job then is to uncover and present that to our prospects as they progress through our marketing and sales process.
Meet them there, and you might be surprised at what happens next.
P.S. Here are a few other principles we’ve covered.