When we sit down with a potential client to find out what we can do to assist them, we are interested in two things primarily: (1) determining what we can do to help them to continue living in their present home safely and comfortably, and (2) designing a solution that will allow us to make a sale so we can do just that. Unless we make a practice of helping people for free, the way that we stay in business is by creating solutions and charging for those treatments. That doesn’t mean we don’t have the client’s welfare in mind, because we do. For many of us, creating solutions is as much a labor of love as it is a way to make a living.
Generally, a series of meetings are required to obtain the final agreement to get started, but along the way, intermediate agreements can be noted and achieved. We are interested in having our would-be client provide a series of “yes” answers to the questions we are asking that deserve an affirmative response, a possible solution to their needs, and the possibility of choosing us to provide the work for them and get started with the project.
The first, and easiest, way to secure agreement on a proposed project is to create a referral network with public adjusters, rehab managers, discharge planners, elder-law attorneys, and agency personnel (home health, governmental, or non-profit) and have them refer potential clients to us that already have had their needs determined. In many cases, the project has already be envisioned as well. Here it is simply a matter of meeting the client, reviewing our intentions with them, securing their approval, and getting started. In some of these instances, the projects are being funded, all or in part, by insurance, grant, or agency money.
Secondly, the client just might be ready to commit to the project once they like us and what we are recommending. For projects that we find on our own or when the potential client reaches out to us through our marketing efforts – where there is no agency or medical personnel referring the job or client to us – the client might come right out a give an affirmative response that they like what we are suggesting and are ready to get started. The solution seems more important than the budget. Likely the budget meets with their approval also but the work to be done and the timing to complete it are more important.
Thirdly, t with you or that they like what they are seeing or hearing by giving you one or more “yes” responses with verbal sounds (rather than exact words or responses), such as “hmm,” um-hmm”, “oo,” or an approving “oh.” Still, you understand that these are positive responses because of the way they are offered.
The fourth way to gain agreement or concurrence is more subtle. Without trying to read too much into this or becoming distracted in attempting to look for and interpret what our clients are saying or conveying to us through their non-verbal communication or body language, their actions can provide reassurance, confirmation, and agreement to what we are discussing with them or showing. It could be a generally open stance (is they are standing or walking with us as we tour their home with them), a smile, a nod of agreement, or a gesture indicating approval (such an “OK” sign, a thumbs up gesture, a high five, a pointed figure at us indicating that we are on the right track, or other similar positive sign).
The fifth, and last way for this discussion, for our clients to give us a positive response to what we are discussing with them or presenting to them is just that they are still engaged with us and showing interest in what you are showing them or otherwise indicating that they want us to continue. As long as they don’t tell us “no,” ask us to stop, or request that we wrap it up and leave, we can take this as a positive sign. In fact, their silence – with or without nonverbal signals – allows us to continue our presentation with them and is as good at this point as a hearing a “yes” response from them.
Getting a direct “yes” near the beginning of the conversation or having the job essentially presold through the person making the referral is great. This eliminates any ambiguity or interpretation of motives or what was meant by an answer we might provide, and we don’t have to sell ourselves as much – meaning we can get right into helping them. Hearing a “yes” is great, but it’s not the only way that our clients can convey their level of interest or agreement, confirmation, or approval in what we are showing them.