How to win skeptical clients

Thanks to our long recession, once wary clients are now borderline paranoid when it comes to engaging sales consultants or other service providers. Our job of convincing them they need our services has become increasingly difficult over the past few months.

Here are a few ideas to win over more skeptics.

First, acknowledge your clients’ fears. If your pricing is high, then it’s OK to admit it. But you better be able to back it up with lots of data, and make an “apples-to-oranges” comparison with your competition. So instead of quoting a fee, quote in terms your clients understand — number of new customers, number of new inbound leads, etc.

Second, you’ve got to ask your questions without the conversation sounding like a cross-examination. Rookie sales consultants think they can go right to the pitch, but successful veterans do the business interview first. Asking questions around revenues, number of customers, earnings per customer, lifecycles of customer, etc. will set you apart from other sellers. Don’t forget, clients rarely believe anything you say, but they always believe what they say. So getting your business questions answered early on builds a foundation of trust.

Third, you can no longer pass off new business to your implementers or installers and move on. When you discuss the implementation schedule, find out how your client would like to stay in touch — by phone, email or face-to-face meetings. Promise to stay involved and make sure you keep that commitment.

Finally, give up the idea that you need to “win”. You can’t be successful in sales until you make your clients successful. So emphasize the value of working together, but don’t be so up front about it (especially since every other vendor on the planet is selling “value”). Build trust to stand out – be honest and don’t oversell your services.

Remember, if you show genuine interest, solve their problems, and most importantly, help them achieve their goals, you’ll not only please your clients, you’ll astonish them!


Brian Farrell is a coach, helping clients achieve their personal and professional goals. He's also the creator of the "QA2 Method". For more about Brian, visit