In the past, my mindset going into prospective client meetings was:
1. I have to prove that I’m smart.
2. I’ll avoid uncomfortable confrontation and be polite.
3. I need to educate the client so they know the value of my services.
The problem was that all of the pressure was on me. I avoided the dreadful “what is your budget” discussion. And I looked desperate cause I was always needing to validate my skills and prices.
Most of the time I didn’t get what I wanted out of these meetings. I beat myself up for it, and rarely got the client’s business.
So what have I learned after many years of pitching and closing clients? I learned that you and your clients want to know the same things:
1. Me: Can they afford me? Them: Can I afford them?
2. Me: Can I do this (scope/timeline/expertise)? Them: Can they do this?
3. Me: What objections do they have working with me? Them: I’m unsure if they…
It all boils down to one thing. Is it a good mutual fit?
So how do you run a better sales call– where everyone gets what they want, you increase your chances of closing, and you have clarity moving forward?
Last week I did a live stream with Chris Do to share our five rules for running successful sales calls. Here’s what we discussed:
1. Talk about money early.
“You have to say a price before you show a price.” As our good friend, Blair Enns would say. Don’t beat around the bush. By not talking about money, you are failing to answer the #1 question on both of your minds.
Don’t delay the budget conversation by kicking it down the road. It’s important to have this conversation up front. (And no, it’s not rude or impolite to talk about money in the first meeting.)
Here are some examples of how you can use price anchoring and price bracketing to have the money conversation early on with clients:
2. Style is more important than substance.
It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. People will remember how you made them feel long after they forget your words. People like others who are like themselves. So if you modulate your energy level to match the other person, you can easily build rapport.
Tony Robbins calls this “Match & Mirror.” If the other person speaks loudly and quickly, you should speak loudly and quickly. In this short video, Tony describes how you can build rapport with any kind of person:
3. Show. Don’t tell.
Most people incorrectly “educate” the client by describing and selling. They talk clients’ ears off about their services, and why they’re the right person for the job. Stop trying to “educate” your prospects. “Educe” is the root word of “educate,” and it means to draw out, not put in.
Rather than describing your services, you need to demonstrate your value. You do that by asking good questions, listening intently, and surfacing insights that weren’t apparent to them, prior to meeting you.
So how might you do this? In this video Chris demonstrates how to show not tell:
4. Ask more questions.
Whoever asks more questions is in control of the conversation. The quality of the questions you ask, determine your value. As we saw in the video above, by asking more questions, you help the prospect realize their own challenges and solutions. It’s a Socratic approach– allowing the other person to come to their own conclusion.
You aren’t selling anymore. Rather, in this process, you are able to demonstrate your value as an expert consultant to them.
So in your next meeting, ask directed but open-ended questions that allow the other person to reveal insights on what would be helpful to them. These are much better than simple yes or no questions.
5. Build trust.
In sales, the objective is to provide the client with information to help them make the best decision for them. You must remain neutral and unbiased. A fiduciary with their best interests in mind. Your goal is just to be helpful to them.
This might mean that you aren’t the right person for the job. So you must be willing to walk away from the opportunity. I know this might be odd to hear, but by doing this, you accomplish 2 very important things:
1. The prospect now knows that you aren’t trying to force them to buy your product or service. You earn their trust.
2. You are now in the position to say “no.” This gives you a lot of power in this client-vendor dynamic. You will not look desperate, because you don’t need this job. Pressure is taken off of the situation because neither of you has to make potentially regretful choices on the spot.
Next time you enter a sales meeting, just focus on being helpful to them. What do they need? How can you be of service to them even if it is against your best interest?
Those are our five rules to run a successful sales call. If you liked this, and want to learn more about closing more clients at higher rates, consider checking out the Futur Business Bootcamp. It’s a 7 week intensive to grow your double your business.
Originally published at www.thefutur.com on December 19, 2018.