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Helping Clients Feel Less Vulnerable

By Joey Havens

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It’s 8 a.m. and I’m sitting in a very cold medical exam room. The dermatologist will be in any minute to begin my annual full-body exam. Gosh, all I can think about is how humiliating this is. It’s hard to have the discipline to do this every year. 

There’s the soft knock… then after an eternity, the words I have been waiting on, “You can get dressed now.”

Driving to my office while trying to regain my self-esteem, I’m reminded of how hard it is for our clients to buy services from us. They feel vulnerable and unprepared just like I did this morning. Why?

First, in most cases, they are trying to buy a service, advice or outcome that they do not deal with very often, sometimes once in a lifetime (i.e., selling a business). Second, they are usually buying services that they have very little expertise or knowledge in. Just think about the last car you purchased and how vulnerable you felt to the actual price you agreed to. Third, there’s an embarrassment factor (just like I had sitting on that cold table in my underwear) and they are afraid of making a mistake or bad decision.

I recently heard one of our partners, Bruce, share in a session on business growth, “Buying professional services is HARD.”

So how will we change our client experience by considering these vulnerabilities and anxiety before we begin our conversations? Would less technical jargon and more personal connection and relevance help? Would more questions on their pain points and concerns elevate the experience? Would sharing how we have helped other similar clients be successful increase their confidence?

I believe having a generous mindset of helping first and foremost will take away lots of the barriers we face in serving clients and gaining new ones.

Consensus is Overrated