Street Talk Not Technical Talk - speak your clients language.

If you want to turn off a potential client, talk about HTML, CSS, Javascript and technology features.  Fraser McCulloch shares his thoughts on plain talking and owning the deal:
Unlike other BC Partners, I am not technical but I know enough to get by. I'd call myself a business person that's worked on both client side and agency side and I've found the more you can talk in plain "street" talk and talk about money, leads, online sales, the better chance you have of landing bigger clients and more revenue.
For example, BC have a module called Web Forms; in my street talk I call that the ability to "generate sales leads"

I'm totally inspired by Seth Godin. I bought Permission Marketing in 1999 whilst running the marketing department for a telecoms company and i've literally being implementing what he preaches ever since. Seth is the master of talking common sense.

It all started back in 2003 when my marketing position was made redundant and I took business advice from Rob Frankel; www.robfrankel.com
You can read the extracts of the advice Rob gave me here in a blog post called Control of the Deal.
http://www.platonik.co.uk/_blog/Platonik_Ecommerce_blog/post/Control_of_the_deal/

I had always wanted to run my own businesss but no one was taking me seriously. I was essentially pitching people ideas but nothing much came to fruition.
Then I had the opportunity to rebuild an entire business that was antiquated. And I chose Business Catalyst ie: Adobe BC as the platform.

And that's when I realised Adobe BC gave me control of the deal with clients; but not in a hold you over the barrel of a gun way but in a productive and profitable way.

I then bought into the partnership deal with Adobe BC and suddenly people started taking me seriously. I gained respect. I started getting business referrals; which was a totally new experience to me.

When I say control of the deal, let me give you a before and after scenario.

I previously was contracted to an ecommerce company to find them business, project manage the build and launch of a site.

I found a new London based client and won a £35,000 deal to redesign and rebuild the site.
I got my little commission cut; but I never got a share of ongoing email marketing campaign work, additional photography required, running monthly promotional offer, quarterly home page changes, seo work.

As a hired gun, I got cut out of any future and referral work.

Now that i am an Adobe BC partner, all ongoing work flows through me.

SEO work, landing page and ppc work, new photography, you name it. It doesn't matter that i don't actually do the photography or landing page design, it flows through me.

And because i now have control of the deal, the client refers people to me.

I follow lots of web designers and developers online. They complain about how their work is under valued and how they get offered miserly rates for design and coding work.

Let's face it, we live in a globally connected world and if someone wants coding and design cheaply, they will go to the lowest bidder. And we all know that isn't in their best interests.

Now Adobe BC isn't perceived as the cheapest solution out there but because I have all the tools under one roof, I can negotiate and haggle with prospects to get myself a deal.

I've thrown in a full year's hosting and licensing to land a deal.

I've done clients a favour "on the house" by adding a blog to their site connected to twitter and facebook and they have come back and paid me to add content on a monthly basis for a fee.

I ran a competition with a client to see who could generate more website traffic in a month, them or me; which won me seo and content work when they realised they didn't have the time to create all the blog posts or seo work i'd done to my site.

I just won a new client. He gave me access to his google analytics account which i interpreted and told him this :

you've got lots of traffic but you're not generating enough enquiries. You have to decide if you want to have an informational website which is ineffective or a website which generates you enquiries which you can close and follow up for repeat business again and again.

He was using Joomla, Typepad, Aweber for email, separate hosting and paying someone to run Joomla and he wasn't tapping into his facebook and twitter networks.

So not only could i make him more profitable but I could also cut his monthly running costs. That's how I presented his proposal and won the deal.

My best piece of advice is this;

go speak to someone you know who runs a business, a coffee shop, a pub owner, your doctor, local florist. Someone you know well enough to talk thoroughly with.

Ask them 2 simple questions

What's important to your business in the next 12 months

&

Where are you in relation to that goal

(mentally picture a big gap between the two)

Let them do all the talking. Don't offer any solutions or advice; just keep your mouth shut (and you will be tempted to offer solutions, resist) and let them talk.

At the very end of the conversation, say "I've listened to what you've said. Would you be open to me presenting some ideas so you can get to where you want to be?"

Mark my words, you won't hear a thing about design or coding or web apps or html 5 or accessibility.

You'll hear real people with real problems "street" talking.

Do this, add Adobe BC to add control of the deal to your armoury and you'll get the higher value deals from people who value your expertise.


Click here for the mp3 interview with Fraser McCulloch.

Fraser owns and runs Platonik.co.uk .  Drop him a line.


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