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September 2011
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November 2011

What NOT To Do When Meeting A Prospect For The First Time

I was flipping through the Money Mailer coupons one day when I came across a great deal on a chiropractic visit and massage. Since I moved to a new city, I'd been looking for a chiropractor and massage therapist, so I decided to take them up on their offer.

My first red flag was when the chiropractor answered the phone and made the appointment for me. I thought to myself; hmmm... maybe he's new and can't afford a receptionist. Turns out I was right.

When I arrived for the appointment the chiropractor was sitting at the receptionist desk working on the computer. I was a few minutes early because I knew I'd have to fill out paperwork. Instead of handing me the clipboard and giving me a brief overview of what I needed to fill out, the chiropractor came out from behind the desk and sat down with me to review every single highlighted area he had on every single sheet of paper. I'm sorry, but I've been filling out forms my whole life, and all he really had to say was; "fill out the yellow highlighted areas". I actually felt embarrassed having him lead me through all this paperwork as if I was a first grader.

After filling out the paperwork, he handed me three brochures that were laminated, and told me to read all three, front and back. Some of the content was so detailed and technical that I quickly lost interest and started skimming the brochures.

Next we went into his office where he mentioned that he's only been out of school for one year. I kind of figured that, but I wasn't going to hold it against him -- at least not yet. One thing that puzzled me was that nowhere on all the paperwork I filled out did it ask if I'd ever been to a chiropractor before. And when he started the conversation, he still didn't ask that question. Instead, he approached it as if I'd never even heard of a chiropractor before.

The first thing that came out of his mouth was, "tell me what you know about chiropractic care." Excuse me?? That's when I told him that I've had a chiropractor for years, I just moved and needed to find a new one. "Yes, but I need to know your knowledge of chiropractic care". This is when the whole thing started going downhill in a hurry. He explained that he was going to spend a good half hour talking to me about chiropractic care. He told me that this is the only way I could make informed choices about my health. But in my opinion, it was a way for him to show me how knowledgeable he is about his profession. Now if you're like me, you really don't care how knowledgeable he is, as long as you can come in periodically and have him fix your back.

In my opinion, this recent graduate and new business owner was so eager to gain new clients and to differentiate himself from all the other chiropractors out there, that he took an approach that he thought was in the patient's best interest. However, it came across to me much differently. I had no idea what to say and it made me very uncomfortable. I expected to have a conversation about my problems and concerns, and how he could help solve those problems and concerns. He did none of that -- instead he put me on the spot by giving me a test of my knowledge of chiropractic care.

So why am I going on about my experience at the chiropractor? It's to get you thinking about how you treat your prospects when marketing your cleaning business. In your eagerness to be different, do you ask the wrong questions of your prospects? Remember, the initial meeting with a prospect is to learn all about their problems and concerns. It's not to hit them over the head with all your knowledge about cleaning.

Now some of you may be thinking, "but how do I show the value of my service unless I let them know how knowledgeable I am?" My response is that you first ask the right questions of your prospect to find out what their concerns are, and then you explain how you can solve each of their concerns. Addressing the only their specific issues will not only speed up the process, but it will not overwhelm them with your long, drawn out sales pitch.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you ever been rubbed the wrong way by another service provider? How did you handle it and what would you have done differently? Post your comments below.