You’ve worked hard for your skills, streamlined your packages and services, hustled your hiney off to get your name out there. Now you’re preparing for a discovery call with a new lead. YAY! Here it comes, the critical moment: How do you convince a potential client that your service is worthwhile?
Unfortunately, this is where a lot of us choke, lose focus, and have trouble sealing the deal. (Ask me how I know this… ) But talking to potential customers doesn’t have to be so hard.
Here's my super simple strategy for converting leads into paying clients:
1. Be relatable
It’s way too easy to get caught up in the allure of a well-known entrepreneur’s personality. They’re bigger than life and it seems like everyone wants to do business with them. “Can I ever be that popular?” you wonder. Remember: You can only do you.
Last year, I launched a course. NBD, but here’s the important part for you to know: I didn’t just launch according to Amy Porterfield, I launched like I WAS Amy Porterfield! Big mistake—as much as I would like to imagine myself sipping lattes in Carlsbad, CA with my BFFs Jeff Walker and Marie Forleo, that’s never going to be me.
There, I said it, I’m never going to be Amy Porterfield. (#allthetears) I spent tons on Facebook ads and did a big launch promo for the six (yes, SIX) webinars I hosted.
All in all, it wasn’t a total flop financially but emotionally it really, really sucked. And, I had no where near the results of one of Amy’s launches.
Most importantly, launching like Amy Porterfield, instead of launching like Christina Scalera, busted my sales because I wasn’t relatable to my audience. I wasn’t being me. Amy Porterfield doesn’t post a photo of the Stranger Things intro and write “I love this documentary,” on it, nor does she take a heaping bite of cookie dough while crying that she will never look like Jennifer Love Hewitt. She doesn’t dance around eating chips to the guacamole song or produce videos making fun of ridiculous claims of online success (“I was homeless yesterday but now I’m running a six-figure Ponzi scheme!).
During your discovery call, be yourself, let your personality shine through—whether you’re silly, adventurous, serious or organized, and take a little time to show how you’ve had similar experiences to what your client is dealing with. Ideally, you’ll be working with this person for a while, and it’s better to make sure your personalities mesh well from the start. And regardless of personality type, it’s much better to be friendly and engaging than it is to hide behind a stiff professional persona. Who wants to do business with a machine? Definitely not your clients!
2. Listen, then talk
Rather than jumping right in and talking about all the great services you have to offer, ask your client about what they need and where they’re struggling in their business. Using this strategy offers multiple benefits. First, you establish that you’re interested in actually solving your lead’s problems instead of offering a one-size-fits-all solution.
The power of just listening is SO underrated—no one listens to each other anymore! Refrain from doing all the talking and just let your lead rant at the beginning of the call. They’ll feel better and you’ll have a heaping pile of sales copy straight from the client’s mouth! When I sell high-end consulting services, my clients think I’m reading their mind. I’m just paying close attention to previous conversations and listening! Still working on my Jedi mind reading technique but the force is pretty lame in me.
When it’s your turn to talk, you’ll now be able to more easily highlight which of your services will be appropriate for them. Last, but not least, you’ll be able to assess whether you’ll have the skills, time, and passion needed for their problem. If you don’t, you’ll be able to maintain control of the conversation and address the issue upfront, instead of blathering on about how skilled you are, and then realizing after the fact that their problem will be too time consuming or is outside of your skill set.
3. Show, don’t tell
Once you’ve established what your client’s needs are, don’t just list off your services and rates and cross your fingers. Take the time to show your lead how your service or product is a solution for their problem. Talk about how your other clients have achieved results. Take the time to brainstorm a little with them. Explain how you would handle a particular situation they’re dealing with, or how your product could benefit them in multiple ways. Show your excitement about their project, their mission, and the work you’d be doing. Paint a picture of what life will look like after they start working with you.
Don’t be afraid to “give away” free knowledge. They’ll appreciate that you’re genuinely interested in helping them, and they likely need someone else (you!) to implement it. Plus, most importantly, how much can you really give away in a 15-20 minute consult call? Especially when you’re listening (see #2, above) for at least half of it?
4. Make it easy to work with you
Streamline your on-boarding process so that it feels easy and natural to take the next step with you. There are lots of client relationship management systems out there (my favorite system is HoneyBook, but there are plenty of others!), but they all boil down to this: Make it simple for your client to read your proposal, pay their deposit, sign a contract, and to get in touch with you. If taking the next step is simple and straightforward, they’re much less likely to procrastinate. And that means you’re one step closer to showing them just how awesome working with you can be.
Do you know how many service providers I’ve never gotten back to because they sent me a contract to print and sign? A LOT. I don’t even have a working printer y’all (totally about to got all Office Space on it, don’t even get me started). Score: Printer 1; Service I would have booked: 0.
5. Schedule a reminder to follow up
You made it through the call, listened hard, showed your client just how awesome things could be if they hired you, and now you sit back and wait, right? Right?
Wrong. Now is when you give them a few days or a week to mull it over—then follow up to answer any questions they might still have and to ease their fears about investing in you. Set a deadline on any proposal you send them: Let them know you can’t hold their spot forever, you have other clients waiting with baited breath! Schedule a reminder for yourself to email or call them before the proposal expires, reminding them you (politely) need an answer soon.
At the end of the day we’re all human, we all want to be understood, and we all want a helpful solution for our problems. Keep that at the forefront of your mind when you talk to your lead, and you’ll do great!
Do you find yourself booking lots of dead-end discovery calls? Join the free Client Mindset Workshop and learn how to convert those clients.