Improve your acquisition rateFeb 20, 2023
When I talk to clients of mine who are looking to improve or build their business, there is typically a lot of resistance around the concept of “sales.” For whatever reason, things change when money gets involved! I want to start to change that resistance and start helping you see the opportunity.
One of the most common issues I see when working through an existing sales process for a client is either the lack of distinct phases in the journey or no intentional process around sales. This makes it more difficult to determine where the issues are arising and what changes you can make to improve your close rate.
To address this, let’s look at the sales process in 3 distinct phases of conversation types: awareness, discovery, and sales.
Awareness strategies and the conversations surrounding them are where you’re creating opportunities for clients to meet you and understand what you’re about. If we are looking at an analogy here, this is a process of planting a seed. One of the most common sales issues I see is using every strategy as an opportunity to close, which isn't the case.
To understand an awareness campaign or strategy, let’s use a common example: Movement screens. I highly recommend that you have a tool like this in your tool belt to start creating some opportunities and quick wins for clients. The typical scenario I see here is this: a coach or physical therapist is offering complimentary movement screens to a gym or gym members. They approach this with an “if I find a limitation, that client should work with me to resolve it.” Here’s the reality, that finding is only important to YOU right now, not them (which is the important part!). So what happens next is you make the pitch that they should invest and work with you… and they say no… let’s examine a few things that are going on here. First, they thought this was a give, not an ask… second, they might not have even known who you were up until this point in time. Remember, this is an AWARENESS strategy to get them to Know you. They still need to like and trust you. This phase is all about planting seeds and allowing them to mature. If you ask too early, you’ve tried to harvest fruit from a seed that hasn’t even begun to sprout! Over time, you’ll need to nurture this opportunity and form a relationship with the client until a problem worth fixing pops up for them.
Discovery strategies are next in the journey. At this point, your client has either engaged in an awareness action from a direct interaction with you as we outlined above, by consuming your content or being referred to by a friend, for example. These clients have essentially self-identified as having a problem you can potentially solve. Your job during the discovery phase is to either confirm or deny that reality. In this phase, we are working through some basic qualification criteria such as what’s the problem, what have they tried, and what’s the emotional attachment to achieving the outcome? This could be things like confidence or reassurance, but this is a key component to figure out in the discovery process. Once you clarify their problem, the emotional need that is to be met and determine that you are the person to help them, you would qualify this client as a potential for a sales opportunity/conversation.
A common discovery strategy is to offer a zoom or phone call to work through these criteria and create the next level of support. Essentially, a client that has booked a discovery call has already worked through a process of awareness and has taken action!
This next part is important, so pay attention!
Depending on where you feel the client is at during the discovery phase will determine what you do next! You will need to figure out if you move them to a presentation/pitch for the sales process or keep the conversation moving forward to another call/chat. The reason this is so important is you do not want to ask for the sale before the prospect is ready! If you are going to move them to a longer sales call, pull up your calendar and get it on the books! Do not send them your link, and make them take action again!
Sales strategies are opportunities for those who now “know, like, and trust” you! It’s important to make sure you’ve achieved this before you move to the closing portion of the sale, as doing this too early, such as in the phases of awareness or discovery, will result in hitting automatic resistance! The sales conversation should take place only once you’ve determined the client to be a good fit, and you’re now working to uncover more of the emotional component that ties to the outcome for the client!
So what’s the big takeaway here? You have to allow some conversations to mature, nurture the prospect, allow them to figure out who you are, what you do, and how you can help BEFORE you ask for anything!
I want you to go and review your sales process and see if you’re asking during the correct phase or if you’re simply attempting to execute sales all the time! Want help with this, all you need to do is ask!
Interested in learning how to apply this to your clients?