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Prospecting and the Bad Date Syndrome

Imagine, for a moment, you’re on a date. (If your last one was several decades ago, try and think back). The restaurant is perfect, the food exquisite and your date has, at a minimum, got some real potential.

You sit down, engage in some small talk and order your food. Now you’re moving into that critical phase – the real conversation – and your date spends the next hour telling you about his or her education, skills, physical prowess and overall intelligence.

I’m guessing a second date wouldn’t be in the cards and the rest of the evening would be spent trying to make a graceful exit. While you might have been impressed by what you heard, you wouldn’t walk away feeling any real connection.

Contrast that with the moment you fell in love. It was less about your partner’s resume. I’m guessing there was a point at which you felt seen, heard and completely understood.

I’m not suggesting you try and get your clients to fall in love with you (exactly). That said, we’d be wise to heed the lesson of the bad date when we’re trying to connect with prospective clients.

“How Do You Like Me So Far?”

My guess is that you connect easily and effectively when you are face to face with a prospect, deftly swerving the bad date syndrome. The bigger challenge (and opportunity) is with your website. In fairness, you didn’t have a personal website when you were dating (that would be creepy) but the lesson still applies.

Stop telling people why you’re the best advisor. Spend more time demonstrating that you understand their issues and how you can help, and they might fall just a little bit in love with you.

Stop telling prospects why you’re the best advisor.

A few simple tweaks to your website should do the trick.

A Better First Impression

Start by taking a moment and going to your website. Making every effort to look at it as if it was the first time, what is the first thing you see and what are the first words you read? If those words are about your clients, their challenges and how you can help them, congratulations, you’ve passed.

If, however, those first words are about you, the work you do, your credentials or your tenure in the industry, then you may want to consider some updates. If this is the case, you’re falling into the bad date trap and focusing too much on yourself and your work. Just like dating, prospects will be more attracted to working with you if they feel you understand their unique needs.

Getting it right doesn’t require a full re-design of your site. It’s more likely to require some updates to the copy on your landing page or, perhaps, a re-ordering of the copy that already exists.

The goal is simple. When I (as a prospective client) arrive at your website, I want to feel understood. I don’t need to know that you are different from everyone else, but simply that you are exactly right for me. Don’t make me work too hard to figure out if that’s the case by burying that information several pages deep on your site.

Here’s a quick exercise to upgrade your landing page and make sure it reaches out and grabs the people you are trying to attract.

Step 1: Identify ideal client

Part of the reason some firms aren’t clear about how they can help is because they are trying to work with everyone. If that’s the case, communicating that you understand the needs of your clients will be a nearly impossible task.

If you work with a niche, this process will be much easier. At a minimum, you’ll need a definition of your ideal client.

Related: Are Your Goals Limiting Your Growth?

Step 2: Identify the challenges

Take a piece of paper and draw a ‘hub and spoke’ diagram with your ideal client at the center. Around that hub brainstorm the challenges those clients face. Start with their big financial challenges but move beyond money to capture the related challenges. For example, saving for retirement is an obvious challenge but preparing yourself psychologically for retirement is a related (and equally important) challenge.

Hint: If the challenges you identified apply equally to everyone on the planet you may need to narrow your definition of the ideal client.

Step 3: Update your landing page

Incorporate the challenges that you identified into the copy of your website, ensuring they’re front and center. While I’m sure a marketing specialist could make this far better, it doesn’t need to be complicated.

“At <your firm name> we help <target or ideal client> to <promise or transformation>.

We understand the challenges you face, including <list top challenges> and we can help you move through them.”

One Simple Change

Sometimes small tweaks are all that are required to make a significant impact on our ability to attract the right clients. It’s easy to lose the perspective of the prospect when so much time and energy is invested in becoming the best you can be. They do need to know that you’re the best, that you have the credentials and that you have the experience. They just don’t need to know that until they know that you understand who they are and what they need.