Here's the catch: Most people don't like being told what to do. Well, actually they do--but we'll get to that in a minute. What people don't like is feeling like they're being told what to do. Those are two completely different things.
It means that your job is to tell them what they should do without making them feel like you're telling them what to do.
It turns out that it's not that hard. The key is to create the right set of expectations. In fact, expectations are everything. The good news is that you can do that with one simple phrase. Here's how:
Whenever you're having a conversation with a customer and you want to help him or her make a decision, or manage this person's expectations, use four magic words:
Most of my clients [or customers]...
Then follow this phrase with whatever it is you want the customer to do.
For example, "Most of my clients find that the premiere service plan is the right combination of value and features, and saves them the most time."
"Most of my customers are looking for a way to better manage their employee benefits, which is why they really like our managed services option."
By the way, whatever your customers has to be true. You can't use this to just make stuff up and get people to do something. Well, actually you probably can, but you won't end up with happy customers, since what you sold them is a lie.
The reason this phrase is so powerful is that your customers are looking to you to guide them in the direction that people in their situation should take. These four words help you do that with credibility.
Here's why: When you use those four words, you tell your customers that you understand their needs, and have helped solve similar problems before for other customers. It takes something unknown and scary and normalizes it by putting it in the context of "this is what people like you chose--you should do the same." Using those four words gives them confidence that they're making the right decision.
They are reassured that they are not the first to feel this way, and they can see that they aren't the first that you've offered this solution to. You're connecting their needs and your expertise by demonstrating that you understand what it's like to be in their situation. You've done this before and, just as you did for other customers, you can meet their needs.
Which leads to something else you might not expect.
Despite the fact that we all like to think of ourselves as unique, most of your customers want to be like most of your customers. That's why they walked into your store or came to your office and are having a conversation with you.
Your customers aren't just buying your products. They're also buying into your brand. By the way, your brand isn't your logo or your marketing. Your brand is the way people feel about your business.
It's your brand that causes them to trust that the product they buy will solve whatever problem they have. And it's your brand that they are associating themselves with when they purchase your product.
Your brand also represents the "club" that your customers join when they hire you, or buy from you, or sign the contract.
Most of your customers want to be like most of your customers. The reason they're talking to you is that they're waiting for you to tell them how. The trick is that they don't actually know that that's what they want. Your job is to tell them without making them feel like you're telling them.
These four words work every time.