There’s something in the air…

(And no, it’s not my allergies that came back. Again.)

This is what I’ve heard from prospects over the past week…

“We’ll never be able to compete with that company online. I hear what you’re saying about opportunities. But, it’s not worth it to try.”

“The stock market is down. We were going to invest in content, but now we want to wait.”

“I know the copy isn’t the greatest, but people are buying. What if we change it and sales go down?”

Notice the common theme? These folks are all sabotaging their success by letting assumptions and limiting beliefs get in the way.

(Sound familiar? It can make you want to hit your head against the wall over and over and over.)

Chances are, you’ve faced a similar issue with a client (or, your boss if you work in-house.) You may have pitched a brilliant idea that could move the SEO needle — for instance, re-optimizing old pages or running a content audit.

Instead of the response you expect (excitement, interest, slapping you on the back for a job well done,) you hear something like…

“We’ve tried something like that before. It didn’t work. Why would it work now?”

“Our competitors don’t do that. Why should we?”

“Nice idea. But it won’t work.”

AHHHHH!

Instead of trying a new idea, these folks are setting themselves up for failure. They’re so trapped in their “this won’t work” mindset, they can’t see the possibilities you see.

Plus, your boss (or prospect) may have had a bad experience in the past. If they’ve hired a bad writer before, it’s easy to think ALL writers are bad.

If they tried something new and it “didn’t work,” they may freak out at doing something new — even if they know something needs to change.

There will be trust issues. 🙂

How do you help folks see the same opportunities you see?

Instead of arguing your point (which is so easy to do,) take a big step back and start asking questions.

Things like:

“Let’s pretend for a moment that optimizing old pages does work, and you’re able to see a modest 5% traffic jump. What could that mean for your business?”

“It’s true our competitor doesn’t leverage this marketing tactic. How could reaching a new audience impact our business?”

“Yeah, that last freelancer was a flake. You said you wanted to write everything yourself, but that doesn’t seem to be working out like you’ve hoped. How would it feel to find the right freelancer who can take that pressure off you?”

See how this works? You’re asking exploratory questions that help your client explore the possibilities. You’re not telling them that they’re wrong or forcing them to see your side…

…you’re just helping them see a different perspective. 

Does it work 100% of the time? No. Some folks are so tied to their definition of success, failure and possibilities, nothing you say will make a difference.

You could wave money in their face, and they’d look at you blankly and say, “But, what if that’s not real money?”

You know the type.

At the same time, it’s amazing to watch people open up and to consider the opportunities. By asking a question, you’ve short-circuited their, “nope, won’t work” response and helped shift their perspective.

That perspective shift can mean more traffic, more money — and a very happy client (or boss.)  

And you’ll look like a rockstar when things do work.

Pretty cool, eh?

What do YOU think?

Have you worked with a client who said “no” to every good idea you had? How did you handle it? What do you think you’ll do in the future? Leave a comment and let me know!