One of the biggest challenges we face as entrepreneurs is getting people to say, “Yes!”
I’ve said it before, converting leads into clients is a lot like dating. You can’t propose on the first date, you have to get to know each other first! That’s where your nurture sequence comes in. And when it comes down to it, everything hinges on that three letter word when you finally pop the question.
Will they say yes and become a new client, or will they say no and leave you hanging?
One of the most powerful tools in the entrepreneurial arsenal is the sales call. It’s the point at which you get your potential new client on the phone. You chat, you laugh, you finally take the plunge and ask them to commit, and then you wait with baited breath to see what they say.
Sales calls can easily be a terribly stressful experience, and a lot of people avoid them. But if you’re a service provider, there’s really no getting around it - people will want to speak to you before they make a decision.
Sales calls are an incredibly good way of giving leads the final nudge they need, no matter what kind of entrepreneur you are. If you have a service - any kind of service - or a high-end product that requires a substantial investment, sales calls are valuable..
To help you nail them, I’ve created a FREE set of sales call scripts, so make sure you download those. But for now, let’s dig into a few vital areas you need to be aware of in order to figure out exactly how you can rock your calls for maximum conversions...
The Purpose of Initial Calls
The call is the start of your journey with a potential new client, and you want to start on the right foot.
By the time people signup for a free call, they’ve probably been loitering on your site for a while. They’ve devoured your free content, followed you on social media, and possibly signed up for your newsletter.
This call isn’t about demonstrating you’re capable of delivering what they need.
There’s an unspoken assumption that comes with a sales call, which tells you they are already interested, and already believe you’re good enough to merit a look.
They need to speak to you in order to check out your process, make certain you’re the right choice for them, and take the first vital step towards becoming a client.
Just getting on the call is a little leap of faith on their part. They’re giving you their time, and you should reward them for their faith in you.
It’s also important to make it clear there are no obligations. They aren’t agreeing to buy before they get on the call. That’s not what discovery calls are about.
It’s up to you to help them get enough clarity to make a decision about whether they want to invest their money with you. If they decide your service isn’t the right fit (for whatever reason!) they shouldn’t be left worse-off for the experience.
Ideally your discovery calls will be no-obligation and free.
And don’t be worried about not charging money for the call. If nothing else, you will get their details and email address when they sign up, which means that even if they say ‘no’, you have a chance to connect with them and serve them through your mailing list!
(Sidenote: make sure that they give you permission to add them to your list - you need to include an option for them to opt out of your mailing list on the consult call intake.)
Short But Sweet
Another easy mistake to make is to think sales calls should be long. It’s natural to want to give people great value and offer a free hour of your time. But surprisingly this isn’t the best tactic. Keep your sales calls short and sweet, around 15 minutes.
That’s plenty of time for you both to get a sense of who each other are, but not long enough for it to turn into a “pick your brain” session.
Pleasure And Pain
The key to a great call is to focus on their pleasure and pain.
First, you have to tackle their pain:
They're unhappy about something going on in their life, which is motivating them to change.
Their pain is the reason they signed up for the call to begin with, because they believe you have the cure.
Pain is a greater motivator than pleasure, and you really need to motivate them!
So start by asking them directly, what’s not working for them? The most common reason people say no (aside from insufficient funds!) is that their level of discomfort is not high enough.
You need them to be in a fair amount of pain, or they won’t be motivated enough to take action.
Once you’re clear on their pain, you will be able to see how best you can help them. Getting them to verbalize their pain points will also ensure it’s fresh in their minds, which will help with the next part.
What is it about the solution you are offering that they will love? What’s different and unique to you? Why should they choose you over everyone else?
Having a signature service, offering, or program, is a great way to play up the pleasure factor. A signature offer is a distinct process you take your client through, which helps them move from pain to pleasure.
It’s vital that you paint a really vivid picture of that journey and the transformation they will experience as a result. Paying a high fee for a service with you is taking committed action towards what they want most. They need to very clearly see that you are what they want most (because you have the perfect solution to their pain). If they can’t see that, they won’t commit, and they won’t act.
The Three Cs Of Discovery Calls
Clarity + Conviction + Confidence
These are the three Cs of effective discovery calls, and you will need all of them to make sure that image you’re painting is as bright and vibrant as possible.
Start by asking yourself these two questions:
What is the solution they're seeking?
Is what I have to offer going to solve their problem?
As you formulate answers, consider the three Cs:
Your ideal client is in pain in relation to the problem your coaching (or other offering) solves. Make sure you can describe and understand their situation in immaculate detail, so they feel you totally ‘get’ their problem, even better than they do.
And, make sure the offer you have is genuinely a great solution to their pain.
Only propose one program or solution on your call. A confused mind says "No."
Prospects want to know you have clarity about their situation, and see a clear path towards the solution.
Conviction And Confidence
You need to speak with absolute conviction so they trust that you have the solution. To do that you also need to exude confidence that you’re the best person for the job.
You’ve totally got this!
Your conviction will convince them that you’re going to usher them from where they are to where they want to be.
If you’re stuck, here are a few easy tricks to use:
Try the ‘leaky boat’ approach: ask them about their current challenges, and point out all the leaks in their life. Then, explain how your program or offering will fill all those holes.
Roadmap for them of where they're going. Right at the start, tell them what’s going to happen next by saying, "It's my intention today to get a clear understanding of where you are." Throughout the call consistently seek permission from them, and tell them where you're going with the conversation. (Hint: the direction you’re taking should be “I’m going to take care of you!”)
You should already be really clear on exactly what your ideal client’s biggest pain point is, as it will be the core of your marketing message. Focus on their Biggest Challenge (or as I like to call it, the BC!). This is gold!
Dig into that pain - what's the cost of them staying stuck? Really make them think about it, and accentuate their pain. Many people don't want to get into their pain. This is quite natural, but you have to push them into it (gently!), and keep them there so they don’t simply return to the status quo. When a potential client says “no”, it’s because she's thinking, "Where I am is ok. It’s livable." She's lost the pain and therefore the motivation to make a change. To get her to say “yes”, you need to show her that it’s not livable, she shouldn’t have to live with it, she deserves more, and there is a way for her to have better if she’s brave enough to claim it.
Understanding Their Obstacles
When you’re on a call there’s often something standing in the way of your prospective new client moving forward. Sometimes there’s more than one obstacle, and it’s important to identify them and demonstrate your understanding.
If you can do this, they will recognize that you’re offering something they need, and that without you they won’t be able to do this thing alone. That’s suuuuper important, because if it’s merely something they want, they’re not going to be driven to say yes. They might say yes anyway, but they might not, because we don’t always get things even when we really want them.
But when we need them, we find a way to make it happen.
That’s human nature.
The other reason to understand and explore the obstacles they face is that it will help you figure out if you really are the right person to help them. If it turns out you have no solution to the obstacles they face, they’re not your ideal client.
And if they’re not your ideal client, it doesn’t matter whether they want to say yes or not, you shouldn’t be asking.
It won’t serve them, or you, if they are simply not right for you.
Are They A Good Fit?
Discovery calls aren’t just about convincing people to buy from you. They’re also your opportunity to determine if you want to sell to them!
It’s not just about them saying yes; you have to say yes, too!
If you’ve never worked with a client who was a really bad fit, you probably won’t understand why it’s so hugely important to make sure they’re right for you.
When you’re struggling to find clients it’s sooooo easy to say yes to people because they’re willing to work with you. There’s an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach, trying to tell you it’s going to end badly, but you ignore it.
It’s very easy to say yes!
The fact that people are saying yes to you, are willing to work with you, value you, and believe you can help them is a very seductive feeling.
And sometimes there’s no warning, they may even be the perfect client at the start, but somewhere along the way, things start going badly. They fail to show up for their calls, they’re late paying their invoices, it seems everything you do annoys or frustrates them, while they have you tearing your hair out.
Or perhaps you simply have a clash of personalities, one that wasn’t evident from your initial emails.
It doesn’t matter the cause, once you’ve had a few clients like this you’ll understand why your discovery calls are so vital for you, as well as for your prospects.
They’re For Discovery, Not Coaching
It’s seriously easy to fall into the habit of giving people free coaching calls. Like a free trial run before they buy.
This is not what a discovery call is for, and it’s not a good idea. When you’re on a discovery call your mission is discovering whether you’re right for each other.
Over the call, you’ll discuss their lives, and may even touch on subjects that are similar to what you’d talk about in a coaching call. But if you go into full coaching mode, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
People often feel loads better after one coaching call and feel like maybe they don’t need more. At least, not right now. If you give them an hour of free coaching, they have no immediate incentive to signup for more.
If you offer any kind of service it’s really important to give people a taste of what you can do, but not a three-course meal, complete with wine and a few mai tais.
You want them to end the call hungry for more!
Walk Them Through Your Process
Instead of coaching, give prospects a ‘lite’ version of your offer, which walks them through it. You want them to come away with a really clear understanding of how you work.
Talk strategies for addressing their problems, and give them a really quick win.
That may seem contradictory when I’ve said not to coach, but there really aren’t any ‘quick fixes’ to most of life’s problems. You’re not going to solve your prospects big pain point in 20 minutes. But if you can give them a small victory it will not only make them feel good (and naturally want more of that!), it will also prove that you can genuinely help.
Explain what you’ll work on with them, and run through everything they can expect to ensure there’s no confusion. Highlight the benefits of every step of the journey, and use the opportunity to inspire them with confidence in you and your process.
One thing loads of people forget to do is talk prices.
It can feel really ‘salesy’ and a bit crass, but you can’t presume they know what you charge, and it needs to be clear. When you have your prices on your website you often assume prospects have already looked at them. Even if they have, that doesn’t mean they remember, or that they don’t have questions.
Get really specific.
Tell them exactly how much your offer will cost, and how often. Explain payment plans. Ask if they have any questions and concerns.
It can feel scary doing this, as you’re worried of frightening them off, but remember this:
If they’re your ideal client, they will pay what you ask without complaint.
They may need to take a beat to figure out how they’re going to pay for it, but that’s not the same as thinking you’re asking too much.
All that being said, leave the price talk to the end. Make sure they know exactly what they’re getting before you tell them how much it’s going to cost!
If you want even more help nailing your calls, check out my free discovery call scripts - just download them and use the scripted questions to tease out everything you need to totally rock your sales.