As an entrepreneur, have you ever noticed that when someone comes to you for help, advice, or possibly coaching, they often are resistant to implementing the changes you suggested?
What I Learned From Training My Dog
Almost two years ago, I "rescued" a stray dog in Progreso, Mexico and brought him home to Canada. I say rescued in quotes because the truth is he picked me up the very first day I arrived at my friend's home on the beach and I'm pretty sure that seeing the "x" marked on my forehead, he promptly decided to adopt me.To make a long story short, although he was sweet and gentle from the outset, he soon developed some serious territorial issues in and around our home. Eventually, his aggressive behaviour escalated to the point where we had to seek professional help.
Last week, after we had our in-home instruction, our canine trainer shared with us her frustration at a couple (human) who, although divorced, continued to share in the care and custody of their family dog. Her concern stemmed from the fact that the wife was totally on board about making the changes that the trainer was teaching the dog's owners. The ex-husband, on the other hand, was not willing to change anything that he was doing. Yet, the dog continued to have major aggression issues.
Your New Mantra
In her wisdom, our canine trainer knows that it isn't simply a question of rehabilitating the dog; it is also a matter of training the humans. In that these particular owners had sought her out in the first place and the husband did not want to change, I shared with her my long-time mantra of asking clients, "And how is that working for you?"
Be Sure To Wait for the Answer
When coaching entrepreneurs on how to grow their businesses and attract more ideal clients, every now and again I have encountered someone who argued with me and tried to tell me they knew better than I did. Rather than arguing, I always asked them to tell me exactly what they were doing currently. When they were finished telling me, I would ask them, "And how is that working for you?"
If I waited long enough, they would eventually admit that either it wasn't working at all or, it wasn't working consistently enough to provide the results they desired.
Have the Courage of Your Convictions
Think about it. If what your clients are doing is working for them, why would they have sought you out in the first place? They wouldn't, right? Assuming that you are among the very best at what you do, I urge you to have the courage and the confidence to stick to your guns when prospective or current clients challenge you about your product, advice or knowledge. Because here's the deal: either they are going to buy your story or you are going to buy their's. Don't let it be the latter!
Your Mission If You Choose to Accept It:
Occasionally I have had an individual who challenged me say something like, "So Karen, what you're saying is that it's your way or the highway."
No one likes to be accused of that but what would you say if someone said that to you?
You really only have two choices:
1. If they are already a client and continue to challenge you, you have to "fire" them. You have to! I know that sounds harsh but if you don't, one or two clients like that will become like a cancer to your business. Do whatever you have to, refund any unused portion of their coaching or anything else that can help make your parting of the ways a win/win situation. Trust me; it will be cheaper in the long run.
2. If they are simply a prospective client, you need to have the courage to walk away. You must. By taking someone on who is questioning your methods before they even start working with you, is doomed to failure. Please hear me clearly: it doesn't matter how much that prospect could be worth to you or your business, ignoring that red-flag now is like hoping a bull that is about to charge at you is vegetarian!
Even if you are not currently working with an individual, there are plenty of opportunities to practice and get comfortable with your new mantra. For example, the next time you are at a networking event and the person you are speaking to is telling you everything they know about what you do – and then some – just smile sweetly and ask, "Really? And how is that working for you?"
Be sure to check back for my next article, "How Much Do You Charge? How to Answer the Question Without Killing Your Business!"