When you consider buying a product or service, you probably weigh whether it’s worth your time, money, and energy. Well, your prospective clients are no different! If you’re in the business of providing services like I am, you’ll get plenty of questions about the value you deliver and what clients can expect from working with you. The questions come in many forms, and it’s helpful to have your responses ready. That way, you can answer with confidence and ease.
A prospective client recently asked, “what should I expect? What kind of time frame am I looking at for things to really get moving? What do your other clients say about their ROI?
These are important questions for every business owner to think about when she hires a service. But when I first read the question, my confidence plummeted. I immediately veered into imposter syndrome: what if I can’t prove my worth? What if she think I’m a pathetic entrepreneur? What if I disappoint her? This is a struggle that a lot of entrepreneurs and professionals face, especially women. We have a tendency to underestimate our value, and it can take practice to own our worth and explain it with gravitas.
When you get questions like these from a prospect or client, remember that they’re asking you because they don’t know (well, they might be asking to test you, but your answer can be the same). This is an opportunity to manage your client’s expectations by being very clear about what you offer… and don’t offer. It’s also an opportunity to make sure you AND your client understand your client’s goals.
This sounds all very fine and dandy, but I get flustered when I’m put on the spot. “A better Facebook page” is not a compelling answer to what should I expect? As for ROI, that depends on the client’s goals. ROI can be as concrete as a number of conversions or dollars, or more open-ended, like “less stress” or “more time.” What is a satisfying way to answer these questions that both helps the client AND conveys the benefit of your services? At the advice of my friend and mentor Heather, I respond by turning the conversation to results. For example:
The results I deliver:
- Full, branded social channels that will make it clear that your business is thriving (millennials often judge businesses by how “alive” they look on social)
- Consistent, branded content on social so your prospects can get to know, like, and trust you online
- Growth of followers on social channels
- Increased clicks from social media channels to your website
This helps the client understand what to expect from working with me. Notice that it doesn’t promise a percentage increase in sales or more speaking opportunities. I can’t control those outcomes with the type of services I offer. But I know I can deliver what is listed above, and it’s right for my clients to expect that.
When answering questions about ROI, it’s helpful to explain how your services fit in the greater context of your client’s business. For example, social media is not an end to end solution. No matter how good your social media is, sales and conversions still depend on other factors: your website design and language, your pricing, your sales funnel, your ability to close a deal, and your in-person networking skills.
For example, we can go gang-busters making your social media channels branded and beautiful. But all the clicks to your website in the world won’t help if your website is a leaky bucket – that is, if it’s not designed to convert visitors into email subscribers or clients.
Got numbers? Share ’em!
Part of your answer to these questions can include a #humblebrag or two. Do you have testimonials you are proud of? Share them! Do you have metrics that show what you can accomplish? Now is a great time to mention them. For example, over 10 months between 2016 and 2017, the average results I delivered to my clients include:
- Email list growth: 7000%
- Facebook audience growth: 74%
- Instagram follower growth: 3000%
- Twitter follower growth: 116%
If those numbers look outrageous, it’s because some of my clients started email lists and Instagram accounts from scratch! Average growth without those outliers is:
- Email list growth: 35%
- Instagram follower growth: 65%
Other metrics that I plan to measure include average email open and click-through rates, average number of website clicks from social media, and average engagement rates on social. All of these metrics correspond to the results I know I deliver. As my professional muse Jennifer Dziura has written, quantify everything: “if you can’t track clicks or sales or 67% improvement in widget speed, then at least count something.” When it comes to business and services, numbers speak louder than words.
Practice, practice, practice
The first time you do anything can feel awkward. The same is true when you talk about your value, whether you are an entrepreneur, an employee, a student, or something else. Like everything, it gets easier with time and definitely with experience. The more you learn and do, the more your value will be obvious to you. My therapist made a great point: everyone goes through the novice stage. It’s how you learn, whether it’s knitting or conveying your value to prospective clients. Thankfully, the novice stage doesn’t last forever! You’ll get comfortable answering these questions and talking about your value with confidence and ease.
How do you respond to prospects when they ask about expectations and ROI? Do you focus on results, or something else? Share in the comments!
(Image credit: CreateHers)