I had the pleasure last month of spending two days with Nic Rixon running an internal Shirlaws Sales Conference. I’ve also just delivered two full days, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, working the KPI alumni group on this topic as well. Needless to say, there have been loads of great frameworks, tips, and scripting points raised by the presenters and participants in those events: here are 3 I found particularly valuable.
1. Close in the first sentence
It is possible to close a sale in the very first sentence. The key is combining process and benefit, and having a strong referral who has both positioned you and also shared with you the larger outcomes the potential client is searching for. When these align, try opening your sales meeting like this:
“So my understanding is that we are here today to discuss how X will help you Y. Is that correct?”
(Where X is your product or business, and Y is the outcomes the client is seeking – I might say, “So my understanding is that we are here today to discuss how Shirlaws coaching will help grow your revenue by 30% while giving you back your weekends. Is that correct?”)
When your potential client agrees with that agenda … they have just agreed that this meeting is now about HOW you will help, not WHETHER you will help. Spend the rest of the meeting creating the relationship, confirming the process, and not talking yourself out of the sale.
2. “I’m looking at other options”
Ever have this – a potential client that makes it clear they are shopping around? I don’t mind this myself – often the client is being open and polite with you, which is nice. (Of course, if they’re saying this to be a passive-aggressive jerk who screws you on price, you’ll be able to pick up that energy and walk away if need be.)
“Great. Are you clear about the criteria you are using to make your decision,
or can I help you with that as well?”
This has the effect of immediately disarming any confrontation – you’re looking to help! If they do have clear decision-making criteria (price, process, whether they like you) then this is the chance to find out what they are – how much easier is your sales meeting now?
And if they don’t have clear criteria, why you can certainly help them with that. After all, who knows more about what separates the good and bad players in your industry than you? And I’d be surprised if you don’t firmly meet all of the criteria you come up with!
On a related note, are you clear about the 4 Characteristics of a Great Business Coach?
3. “Let me think about it”
Ignoring my temptation to reply “No you don’t” (though that may be valid in some situations).
“Fantastic. And what would you like to do then?”
This simple question, often toward the end of your sales meeting, has the desired benefit of acknowledging the client’s need (to think about it) while simultaneously moving the conversation past that process. If you have successfully connected with the client’s ‘Knowing’ space during the sales meeting, they may have already made a decision – this question moves you straight into agreeing dates and signing paperwork.
Alternatively, it will reveal whether they really are considering it. (“Then we will meet again.” “Great, let’s put that next meeting into our diaries.” “Great, I can do Thursday.”) Or whether they are just not that into you. (“Then we will meet again.” “Great, let’s put that next meeting into our diaries.” “Actually, let me get back to you.”) Like Miranda in Sex and the City, I find it liberating to know as soon as possible if he’s just not that into me – it saves me a lot of follow-up time and energy.
Now as the heading suggests, these are 3 simple tips. I ran an entire day, and could easily (as Nic did) run two days of sales training! I hope these help – but be aware that the key to great sales is not great tips and scripts. It’s about creating relationships, following a process in a thinking, feeling, and intuitive space, and understanding or uncovering the clients need so you can deliver a solution that truly helps.
Practice makes perfect
I have to confess – I don’t practice my sales skills much, and the key to being great at sales is maintaining momentum. In my case, I won’t be accepting any more clients until at least July (let me know if you would like to be considered), which is why sales is not a priority in my calendar.
What I am looking for, however, is new coaches to join my team. Ever wanted to apply your business expertise, combined with what I credit as the world’s best business IP? Let me know – and who knows, maybe you’ll be joining me at Nic’s next conference in July?
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