Why is it so hard to get a Yes?
It goes without saying, one of the key skills in running a Consulting business (or any business for that matter) is the art of getting a “Yes” from a prospect or client.
The more Marketing Consultants I talk to, the more I see a common intention and that is we want to help people. In our research we are finding that a large majority of people who start a consulting business do it with little or no sales training what so ever, yet sales is a big part of running any business. In this post I share what I’ve learned over the years about sales conversations and what I find works for a non-sales person such as myself.
If you’re having a hard time converting appointments or proposals perhaps consider some of these points from a self reflection point of view:
1. Are you coming from a place of truly helping your client or are you telling them how good you are at what you do?
Traditionally we’ve been conditioned to pitch ourselves to a client in order to win a job. Unfortunately this doesn’t work that well these days. It’s not about you, it’s about how well you can help your client solve a valuable problem. Clients are most interested in working with someone they like, trust and believe they can solve their problem for a fair value. Review your sales conversation and make sure from your prospect or clients perspective they feel you are listening, resolving their issue, giving exceptional value and lastly are credible.
2. Ask great questions and listen
We’ve all heard the saying “Great sales people ask a question and shut up”. The distinctions here are ask great questions that will give you the information you need. Secondly, actively listen, that is, clarify you have understood the prospect and don’t make any assumptions – as more questions if you need to.
3. Every conversation should include a little bit of gold
Stop thinking in chargeable hours and start thinking in terms of service moments. Service moments are those extra little pieces of advice that really help your client or prospect, at no extra charge – the gold. This is the best way to establish credibility and trust – let them experience your value. Once you have established credibility and trust, getting a yes comes down to how well you’ve established those two things in the mind of the prospect. I find that giving away the most valuable idea in a conversation leads to the prospect or client asking me to help them develop the concept and implement it for them. So don’t be afraid of giving your gold in fear of them going and doing it themselves.
4. When you think you’ve given enough… give a little bit more
This is one of our philosophies for both MarketSmartly and Consult Me Group. Value to the power of 2. Because we are programmed to think in terms of ‘value for money’, that naturally imposes a limit on the value we offer for free. Our brain says “Stop! You’re giving away too much, you could be charging for that.” If you really want to win a prospects business, stand out by giving them exceptional value before you start working with them. The simple psychology behind this premise is that if a prospect feels you are giving them exceptional value with out having charged them a dollar, imagine what they’ll get when you do start charging!
5. Don’t stop at delivering the proposal
We live in a competitive world, where prospects have limited dollars and generally get more than one proposal for a project. So don’t stop delivering gold once you’ve delivered the proposal. Most consultants will email or present a proposal and wait for the prospect to call them, or perhaps the consultant will diligently follow up with a phone call. I recommend going above and beyond the norm to make yourself stand out in the mind of the prospect. Something simple such as an email indicating you’ve been thinking about the project and offer a few great ideas about how to make it better. Or perhaps introduce them to someone who will be very valuable to their business. Send them a book or resource that will help them achieve their goals… you get the idea. Something little can have a huge impact, and most people don’t go that extra mile.
Share how you adjusted your sales conversations to get a yes and what results you got in the comments below.
To your success…!
In’s & Out’s of Introductory Meetings eClass: We share our complete intro meeting process and the mind map outlining our questions for you to download.