One of the biggest challenges I hear from my clients right now is, “I’m not closing enough sales calls with clients to have a full and predictable pipeline of revenue flowing into my business.” Sound familiar? Sadly, you can be really good at what you do, a highly trained and talented coach, consultant, or speaker, but if you don’t learn how to drive the sales conversation, you’ll never have enough high-paying clients.
I have observed my clients in sales conversations and I’ve seen that they can sometimes be their own worst enemy. It’s like they’ve forgotten that they’re the ones driving the conversation. You’re not the passenger, you’re the driver so it’s your responsibility to navigate the conversation to your destination – converting this prospect into your new client.
I make sure to speak with multiple leads a week and I have a very high conversation rate. Why is my rate so high? It didn’t come naturally in the beginning, that’s for sure! But over time, like an experienced driver, I got better. I’ve been practicing this process and perfecting it to move people into working with me at a much higher rate than the average consultant.
Here are my 10 mastery tips to help you drive your sales conversations and drastically improve your conversion rate:
- Map your route ahead of time. Never go into a session unprepared. You especially want to be prepared for any objections that are thrown your way from the prospect. Practice what you would say so that when the time comes, you can easily switch routes. Remember, it’s not an argument, it’s an exploration of why they have that particular objection.
- Build trust early. You should only be speaking about 10% of the time during the entire conversation. You want to get them talking 90% of the time – sharing their goals, aspirations, and fears or blocks around achieving them. This will help you understand what’s driving their desires and aspirations. (See the next few suggestions for what you should be focusing on during your 10% of the conversation.)
- Ask better questions. If you want better answers you need to ask better questions. Ask enlightening questions that will get the prospect to articulate the results and outcomes they are looking for in working with you.
- Become as curious as a 3-year-old. Act like a three-year-old filled with curiosity when you are in discussions with a prospect. When they are answering your big overarching big picture questions as them why questions. Why is that important right now? Why do you want to achieve X?
- Focus on the destination. When talking about your services, talk about the results your clients have achieved in working with you, not your processes or methodology that will get them there. What clients want are results so start focusing your language around their desired destination.
- Know when it’s time to get in the fast lane. With individual clients who are interested in hiring you, the call should only last 30 minutes. It’s up to you to drive the conversation and keep it on track by knowing where your road markers are. You need to know when to transition from asking your key questions, to talking about how you help your clients, to closing. (Tip: With corporate clients, this process should be complete within one hour, with them asking you to send along a proposal.)
- Instill confidence in your skills. No one wants to get into a car as a passenger just to be told by the driver, “I’m nervous and unsure.” During your conversation, don’t be wishy-washy. Use confident and influential language to gain their buy-in so they choose you over your competition.
- Paint a picture with a story. If you feel as though the prospect is hesitant, it’s time to make a right-hand turn! One of the best strategies is to share a similar client experience to paint the picture of how you’ve helped someone else achieve results.
- Know the signals when to close. If the prospect has indicated that would like to work with you, stop talking. Don’t try to keep selling them, your work is done. Close the sale right then and there.
- End with what’s next. In the final process at the end of the call, be prepared to close the sale, get the client’s payment, and schedule the first call. If they need to think about it, get a call scheduled on the calendar right then and there to set up a time to review their questions. (With corporate clients, the next step is always to set up a call to review the proposal within 24 hours.)
Just like you can’t blame the passenger for sloppy driving by the driver, you can’t blame the prospect for derailing the sales conversation. You have to take ownership of the conversation and practice, practice, practice. In my Illustra Business School Mastermind, we’ve recently practiced in role-plays to perfect our language so the group now feels like more confident, influential, and skillful drivers of the sales conversation.
Sarah’s Predictable Results Insights
- What’s your closing rate for sales calls? You can’t track what you can’t measure!
- Which of the 10 strategies will you implement in your next sales call?
- Who can you practice your sales call with for helpful insight on how to improve?
If you need more hands-on help on perfecting your sales call techniques, reach out to me at 800-267-3245 for a complimentary strategy session.