In this series, I’ve been prompting you to rehearse some stuff that makes you uncomfortable. I’ve been urging you to get some reps and giving you some scenarios to practice.
This is one of the toughest. And I’m really grateful to Chris Voss, author of “Never Split the Difference,” for the template. Voss will be the headliner at the 2020 Two-Brain Summit in Chicago on June 6.
This time, I’m going to have you practice a rate-increase conversation with your clients.
You must practice this conversation at least five times.
Pop the Balloon
Here’s the scenario:
Imagine you’re raising rates and a client asks to speak with you about it in person. His or her tone says, “I’m going to cancel and blast you on the way out!”
Now you’re sitting across from the client.
You have to remove the emotion from the conversation before you can work on a solution.
Imagine the client’s emotion to be a big, red balloon floating in the air between you. You can barely see through it.
You have to pop the balloon. So start with a pointed, emotional question. And then just listen: Let the client get it all out.
“So, you’re worried about the rate increase?”
Get right to the point. You might have to sit there for 10 minutes while the person vents. Slowly watch the balloon drop toward the ground.
But you’ll probably have to poke it more than once to get all the emotion out. So ask another pointed question: “Are you worried you can’t afford the new rates?”
Let the client vent again. The purpose is to have him or her get it all out.
You might have to go back with the pin a third time. That’s OK.
When all the emotion has finally been removed, you can have a logical conversation. Remember: Your job isn’t really to convince the client to stay. Your job is to leave the door open for return someday.
So say this: “I certainly appreciate where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice.” That’s really important. Most clients think you’re just rich and greedy.
The client might not stay. But he or she won’t burn a hole on the way out because you removed emotion from the conversation.
Pick five people (or dress up your dog five different ways) and have the conversation. Practice before you go live.
The template for rate increases (including this hard conversation) is available in our Growth Stage of mentorship.