Blake, an attorney from Michigan, wrote me recently regarding his problem getting prospective clients to engage his services. "I find out what their situations are," he said, "and then I explain very carefully what I'll be doing for them. Then they ask about price. I tell them my hourly rate — which is competitive — but they say they want to think about it. And then I don't hear from them again."

Often, Blake and other professionals don't spend enough time developing a relationship with prospects before they make their proposals. They know how to diagnose problems and what the best solutions are, but they don't realize that what their prospects really need is someone to hear them out, someone to care — sympathy, empathy and validation.

Here are some tips to help you get to "yes":

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