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NEVER PULL DOWN YOUR PANTS UNTIL YOUR QUESTENTATION IS CLEAR

The other morning I was sitting in the hot tub at 24 Hour Fitness with my friend Jim.  He is and has been a very successful business man for over 40 years.  Owning homes from Rancho Santa Fe to Laguna Beach he did well in the auto business, owning German branded dealerships.  My guess is Jim is in his mid to late seventies.  He reminds me of someone you might refer to as an old salt of the earth.  I was to meet with a new INTEGRITY business prospect that morning and told him what little I knew of the prospect and how she was proposing to do business.  As I was telling Jim, he stopped me in mid sentence and said, “You never pull down your pants until you have negotiated a price.”  Let me explain.

My prospect is new to running her own business.  Working for someone else for most of her adult life she has dabbled as an entrepreneur with minimal success.  Today, wanting to work as an entrepreneur in a consulting capacity, she is offering herself to small to mid size companies.  These companies are typically too small to provide her services with a full-time employee.  Thus to have a thriving business, she needs to have multiple consulting contracts with these small to mid size companies all the time.

After an exchange of emails and a conversation, my prospect asked me to review a proposal to provide consulting services for approximately six months for a substantial mid size company.  In an eight page proposal my prospect did an excellent job of outlining all that would be accomplished in six months.  It also included prices ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 depending on which options the company selected from the proposal.  The proposal was so well detailed that it could be the boiler plate for my prospect’s consulting business or anyone providing similar consulting services.  More importantly, it is so good that any small to mid size company could use it as a guide to perform the work without paying my prospect for her consulting services.  With that said, my prospect knowingly sent the proposal. Understand that this small company and was also considering hiring someone full-time to perform these services.  Showing a price tag for up to $60,000 might scare the company away.  Hence, Jim saying, “You never pull down your pants until you have negotiated a price.”

When meeting with my prospect I reviewed my thoughts, being a little more discrete explaining Jim’s point.  You see my prospect was more interested in telling the company executive how she could help them versus asking questions to discover the company’s points of pain.  You see telling is not selling.  Asking questions is selling.  We need to ask questions of the company executive to discover how we can help.  We then can use the information gathered to create a presentation that resolves the company’s pain.  The presentation to the company needs to be powerful, yet short and concise.  The skilled consultant has a presentation that has been given or rehearsed hundreds of times.  Consultants know their prospects pain points before they ask the questions which imply “What is causing you pain?”  The consultant has developed a script in advance because they have done their homework fully researching their prospect company. When the presentation (questentation) by the consultant is so powerful the company executive decision maker is sitting on the other side of the table and in their head they are pounding the desk saying, “Yes, I need this and I need it now!”  Then the only thing that is needed is the consultant to ask the two courage questions.

The first courage question you ask is, “Do you have any questions?”  The consultant then answer all the questions fully.  To fulfill the first question be sure to ask, “Do you have any other questions?” before moving onto the second courage question.  The second courage question is, “Do you want to work with us?”  When your five to seven minute questentation is powerful, well rehearsed, relieves the company’s pain, and you ask the two courage questions 99.9 percent of the time, the prospect executive from the company will say, “Yes,” and then will ask, “How much will this cost?”  Then and only then is it appropriate to discuss the cost of doing business.

Finally, never leave boiler plate material behind that a company could use to provide your services through someone else.  It is acceptable to leave an outline of your concepts when you have inked the deal and have earnest money in hand.  Verbal commitments are as good as the paper they are written on.  You want payment terms in hand that are clearly stated. These terms, in writing, should be confirmed through an email titled “confirmation.”  Some prefer a written paper contract.  Prior to sending terms and payment requirements the consultant needs to have a sizable portion of the contract value in hand.  These terms must be clearly defined as a part of the consultant’s business plan prior to meeting with the prospect.  Knowing your value as a consultant becomes crucial in such an exchange as your business offer is not a negotiation.  Your terms, your product, and your offer should be set such that you always know what you want and what you deliver to your clients.

 

Gerry Rose runs INTEGRITY Networking Solutions in Oceanside, CA.  He works with people in business who want to attract the right prospects and generate more referrals.  More than 10,000 businesses have been presented the INTEGRITY Networking Solutions system in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties.

Gerry’s stimulating presentation Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals is ideally suited for small business owners, home-based businesses, and independent professionals who want clearer direction and want to attract more prospects, develop dynamic systems, and strengthen their companies’ accountability.  Gerry does one on one consulting, conducts a range of keynote speeches from thirty minutes to full-day education workshops.  His book series, Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals, are available on the website, www.integritysd.com.

Gerry has more than 20 years’ experience directing business owners how to grow their businesses.  He is a networking dynamo.  Those who know him will assure you that he does a great job of bringing people together—which is why he started INTEGRITY.

Involved with networking organizations since 1984, Gerry is a Distinguished Toastmaster, a member of Toastmaster International, and has chaired numerous chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations.

Are you truly committed to attracting the right prospects and generate more referrals?  If so then contact INTEGRITY Networking Solutions for availability and information.  You can contact Gerry by mail at 1610 Quiet Hills Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056.  Direct dial (760) 439-4623; e-mail to gerry@integritysd.com.  For more information, go to www.integritysd.com

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