Have you ever owned a supermarket?
But I am willing to bet that one headache of such ownership is the never-ending challenge of finding and retrieving shopping carts from the parking lot.
Even if you manage to keep track of them all (doubtful), you still have to pay people to constantly roam the lot. Not to mention dealing with unhappy customers whose cars are occasionally dinged by runaway carts.
Well, one innovative market near me (Aldi) has come up with a clever solution: the carts are locked together at the front of the store.
The only way to release one is to insert a quarter into a slot on the handle. When you’re done shopping, you return the cart and out pops your quarter.
So, am I annoyed that Aldi makes me do the leg work? Not at all.
In fact, the feeling is exactly the opposite: When I get my quarter back, and even though I put the damn thing there myself just a few minutes earlier, it feels like I just won a “free” quarter.
I know. It doesn’t make much sense. But I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way.
And it’s a pretty good example of why, if the majority of your clients and prospects are human, it’s worth paying attention to how what you do, write, and say makes people feel in addition to how it makes them think.
Three suggestions in that regard…
#1. Be More Likeable
Is your doctor highly skilled in doctoring? Don’t bother answering; we both know you have no idea. Same goes for your accountant, your attorney, and your auto mechanic.
The fact is, half of all professionals, by definition, are below average. There’s a pretty good chance that some of yours are among them.
If you like these people, it’s not because of how technically skilled they are; it’s because of all the soft stuff: clear answers, quick response time, hugs when you arrive (that may just be my mechanic).
It’s easy to do. And yet, so many professionals ignore this part, instead assuming that credentials, experience, and that PowerPoint slide describing your approach that you love to trot out is going to separate you from the pack.
#2. Remove the Fear
Hiring a professional feels risky. We are hard to sample and moving forward requires the prospective client to jump in with both feet.
The more fear-based obstacles you can remove, the easier the decision to hire you becomes:
If you … price flat fee, your clients don’t worry about what the final cost may be.
If you … give them your cell number, your clients don’t worry about not being able to get in touch.
If you … have no long term contracts, your clients don’t worry about becoming trapped in an arrangement they might one day prefer to leave.
Your fear-removal specifics may be different, but the concept holds.
Take a look at how you price, package, and talk about your services and remove things that may cause people to hesitate.
#3. Share Who You Are
At first, most of my newsletter clients hesitate when I encourage them to share nonbusiness stories from their personal experience.
“Nobody cares … people are busy … it feels unprofessional.”
It seems logical – but it’s totally wrong.
I had coffee this morning with a very busy, very successful professional. We spent half the time taking about our kids … travel … life.
Isn’t that a waste of time? No. In the world of professional services, people hire people.
And sharing personal experiences – which, by the way, may be the only thing AI will never be able to do – helps us get comfortable with each other.
Here’s the Bottom Line
Back when I worked in a big company, we lived by an unwritten rule: if you can’t put it in a spreadsheet, it doesn’t exist.
Likeability, trust, fear … too hard to measure. So we’ll just ignore it.
The thing is, what I have found in 20+ years as a solo is that when it comes to getting hired, those kinds of things may be all that really matters.
- Have you ever worked in a supermarket?
- Does your mechanic hug you?
- What have you done to take the fear out of hiring you?
Share your answers below…