Why service professionals struggle when they start a business

There are so many things to learn when you hang out your shingle. Start first by speaking so that your prospects understand why you

Over the years, I’ve encountered many people who want to start a service business.  Rather than working any longer for “The Man”, they opt to hang up their own shingle.  No more office politics.  No unfair promotions.  Just the projects that they are enjoy.  And checks that they don’t have to share!  Yessssssssssss!!!

Most working professionals do their research.  So they start out like this:

  • Legal registration
  • Print business cards
  • Get a website
  • Start social media accounts
  • Locate office space
  • Wait for clients to show up

And for many, the client “wait” isn’t long.  Friends and family are happy to oblige during the first few months.  They are celebrating and happy to get quality services at a rock bottom rate.

But after a few months, the love of friends and family is gone.  The list is tapped out.  And there are no new recommendations.  So the marketing marathon begins:

  • Networking events
  • Conferences
  • Online groups
  • Social Media
  • Paid ads

But the results are ……crickets.  Alot of proposals.  Alot of “that’s too expensive”.  Alot of “If I had money”.

Why?

Because the biggest thing that many service professionals miss is:

You have to speak so your prospects hear themselves 

Huh?

You have to become a master at speaking the same language that your prospects listen to.  They aren’t listening to the same things that make employers giddy in an interview.  They want to know two key things:

  1. How is this going to save me time?
  2. How is this going to save me money?

You have to go deeper than just offering a service.  Even if you are good at your craft.  Even if you have a ton of LinkedIn testimonials from former colleagues and bosses

You need to convince people who don’t want to spend money why your service is a MUST.

Not a “nice thing to have”.

Not a “maybe next month”.

But a must.

How do you do that?

Speak like your clients.  

Tell them what problem you solve.  

And why you  – and only you – are the one to solve it.

Let me give you an example.  I was coaching a small group of up and coming entrepreneurs.  And we were talking about the services that they provided.  Things like:

  • Graphic design
  • Home design
  • Accounting
  • Public Relations
  • Catering

They were all former employees who had high levels of expertise.  Solid samples.  Praise from their former employers.  Graduated from top schools.  Worked for name brand companies.

But they were missing the link that perks the ears of a future client.  The hook that gets someone to see why you.

So we started exploring their stories.  The experiences that they had in the past that demonstrated what made them different.  The examples where they were honored for their work and achievements.  The recommendations that showed that they were at the top of their game.

And here is how their pitches shifted.

  • From “I am an interior designer” to “My last client was featured in a top ranked home decor magazine”
  • From ” I offer accounting services” to”I help businesses earn more profit”.
  • From “I am a WordPress person ” to “My last client gained 5 new signups on her event within 24 hours”

The group switched and focused on the problems of their clients.  They focused less on their experience – which is a hard thing to do when you have 10+ years  in your industry.

It requires that you are

  • Listening closely to what people need and why they buy
  • Sharing why they would benefit working with you
  • Creating processes to make it easier to sell

That’s the key to getting their initial attention.

These are not skills that most services professionals possess.    And I’d like to tell you in my best informercial voice that “In 5 Easy Steps, You Can Go From Zero to 6 Figures”. But it’s not that simple.

But take the steps.  Keep taking small steps consistently.  Reach out and get a coach, mentor, or other advisor to work with you.

There will be a learning curve. But it’s one that can be conquered.  You didn’t know everything on your first day of work and look how well you navigated that terrain.  So challenge yourself to find the best resources that can support you along the journey.

I believe in you.  And I believe in your ideas.  Keep doing the work and you’ll reach the next level!