TT#003 - 2x your close rates by opening sales calls better...Mar 19, 2022
It takes a lot of work to get qualified prospects on a sales call.
Which is why it’s so painful for me to hear about solopreneurs and executive freelancers wasting opportunities by winging their way through these calls.
Today I’m going to break down how to start these calls to set yourself up for the absolute best chance of closing clients you love at rates you deserve.
Real quick, this isn’t just me spouting opinions here.
Over the past 12 months, we’ve listened to over 2,500 diagnostic calls selling coaching, consulting, and fractional contracting services.
And as a fractional sales executive myself, I’ve managed more than 1,000 closed sales of professional services and driven more than $8 million in revenue with this process.
Trust me when I tell you, I know this process works.
Here’s how to set your sales calls up for success:
Step 1: Proper Preparation.
This seems like a no-brainer, right? Yet I see people skip this step all… the… time.
I often see people with a lot of sales experience start believing they don’t need to prepare. They’ve seen and heard it all, so why bother?
And I see a lot of people with less experience in sales simply not realize how important this step in the process is.
Sales is all about mindset. If you show up unprepared, you aren’t going to have the confidence that comes from being fully prepared. Prospects can smell that a million miles away.
Even worse, if you haven’t taken time to prepare, you may end up saying and asking things that affect your credibility. We all know (or should) how dumb it is for job seekers to go into an interview without researching the company or person they’re talking to, right?
Here are a few tips for preparing properly:
- Review the application, questionnaire, or forms they completed.
- Review their website, including any content they’ve created for context.
- Search for any press release, news, or other useful bits of information online.
- Take a few minutes to get in the right mindset, focus, and remove distractions.
- Create a standard process for preparation, document it, and review it before every call.
Step 2: Build Rapport the Right Way.
People buy from people they like, right?
Yes, when there is little to no difference between the products being purchased, like Girl Scout cookies. Or, when the impact of the decision isn't very significant, like being upsold on a hair product while you're getting your haircut.
But as an executive freelancer or solopreneur, you are providing solutions that are neither insignificant nor the exact same service as someone else.
That means building rapport isn't about being likable. It's about the prospect trusting that you can solve their problems.
Building rapport "the right way" requires demonstrating 3 things:
- Competency: Prospects want to know if you can actually do what you say you can. You'll build rapport here by referencing a client or case study early in the call that's relevant to their problems and pains.
- Confidence: How you show up matters. If your body language, demeanor, tonality, and words project a level of certainty and confidence, prospects are going to be more likely to follow you when you ask them to.
- Caring: If your prospects can infer that you actually give a flip about them and the results they'll get, they're more likely to trust you. And if they trust you, they'll follow your recommendations.
None of this is meant to imply that you should be unlikeable. Likability won't hurt, but be cautious about getting too "chummy." That can hurt your credibility later.
Step 3: Set the Agenda.
The third step in running a successful diagnostic call is setting the agenda. Here's a simple, way to do that:
"I have us down for ‘x’ minutes today. Is that what you have?
I have a process here to learn a little more about your business. It may seem like a lot of questions, but it’ll help me understand if I can actually help.
If I can help, I’ll let you know what that looks like. If not, I’ll let you know and maybe I know someone that can.
When you do this early in the call, you've done 3 things:
- You establish control of the call: It's essential to maintain control of the call for both your sake and your prospect's. The last thing you want to do is waste anyone's time by getting to the end of a call without clarity on whether you can help or not. This puts you in the driver's seat early.
- You check the clock. Are you up against a hard stop? Do you have all the time you think you do for the call? Setting the agenda this way helps ensure you don't have any surprises later, and that you have the time you think you do.
- You lower defenses. Even if you offer a "free consultation" of some kind, most prospects know there's a chance they're going to get pitched something. When you set the agenda the way we coach it, you address this head on and they aren't as defensive.
Start your sales calls like this and you're setting the stage for dramatically better results. We've seen some sales teams 2x their close rates with our proven process.
These are just 3 of the 10 steps in the sales playbook we install for our highest-paying clients.
Want the ENTIRE playbook for the sales call process we install for our highest-paying clients? You can get it here.
I’m on a mission to help 10,000 Solopreneurs & Executive Freelancers discover and enjoy a new lifestyle by creating income they deserve from wherever they choose doing work they love.
For a limited time, I'm offering a free audit of your client acquisition system and will personally help you clarify what’s working, what isn’t, and what to focus on right now to start winning your best clients - on demand.