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3 Steps to start
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6 Steps To Turn A Prospect Into A Paying Customer
One of the most frequent comments I hear from my clients is: “If I could get a meeting with a qualified prospect (potential client) I know positively that I would know how to convert them into a paying client”.
Although many people believe that it is a simple task, I frankly do not think so and that is why I am going to share with you my six-step process to achieve it.
Because I think it is really important for independent professionals and entrepreneurs to be able to convert a high percentage of those potential clients into real clients, into clients who pay for our products and services and who, as far as possible, want to continue doing business with us. .
For example, if instead of 2 out of 5 interviewees becoming customers, you managed to convert 3 out of 5, it would mean a 50% increase in the number of new customers. Any business greatly benefits from such an increase!
I have refined these steps over my 30 year career and I can tell you that not only do they work, they also eliminate the need to use any form of pressure or manipulation to get results. It is a true sales process.
Again, this process takes place in a focused meeting (sometimes I call it a strategy session) consisting of several steps, ultimately leading to landing a new client who wants to work with you.
Convert a Potential Client into a Real Client
Here is a step by step guide on how this system works.
1. Exploratory Conversation
The heart of this stage of the conversation is exploring the situation and the challenges facing your prospect.
You want to ask a lot of questions to really understand their:
Situation - What is happening now, what is working, details about how your potential client's business works or how their life works if it is a personal service.
Challenges – What isn't working, why they're frustrated, what they've tried so far, and what they're still dealing with.
This is the longest part of the sales conversation – and, in my experience, takes about 75% of the time. Your goal is to really understand why this person or company needs your services. It's like a diagnosis. Without that, how can you recommend a course of action?
Another part of this exploration conversation is to share some examples and stories related to the answers to your questions. I could say at some point:
"Janet, I want you to know that struggling with your marketing is not unusual, pretty much every freelancer experiences similar struggles and the good news is that it's something you can do a lot better at."
I do not attempt to pitch my services at any point during this conversation. That's a turn off. But I give the potential client a lot of assurance that they can be successful in their marketing. I give you hope:
“Charles, that difficulty you're having with your marketing message is just what I experienced myself. It took some time, but instead of worrying about the perfect words, I set out to get there, met a lot of people, and practiced my message until I found one that got the attention I wanted, and you can do the same."
It sure helps if you've been through the same challenges as your prospect. But if you haven't, you can share some customer stories.
Here's one I use:
"Virtually every client I've worked with was a challenge to write with, I'm particularly proud of one client who had written virtually nothing for her business, but with a little support, direction and advice, she has become an excellent writer. . I think now she is better than me. Her writing is concise and agile. Her emails are answered immediately. The good news is that anyone can learn to do it.
By trying several examples and stories you will get better and better, until you have a repertoire always at hand.
Perhaps the most important aspects of the exploration conversation relate to your attitude, tone, interest, and enthusiasm. I always have fun in these conversations and am excited to see what customers can achieve if they improve their marketing.
You can build a lot of trust during this conversation if you do it right. You've listened carefully, dug deep enough to uncover the most pressing issues, and shown through various examples that you can help them succeed.
2. Explore the Possibility
Once you understand the situation and the challenges of your potential clients, you want to talk about the future. What goals do they want to achieve? You can keep this simple:
“Janet, if we work together, can you tell me what results you would like to see?”
"Charles, if we end up working on our Benefits Schedule, what specifically do you want to accomplish?"
You want to listen carefully and really understand what they want to get. And you need to be sure that it is something that you can really help them achieve. So you want to feed that hope into words that leave no doubt.
"OK, you want to see a 20% increase in your earnings (or more) in the first year, right?"
This part of the conversation may not take long, but it needs to go deep enough for them to see a new future for themselves. Ultimately, potential customers "buy the future." And if this future isn't compelling enough, they won't buy it.
3. Seek Clarity
Next, present your solution (service or program) that will help them achieve their goals. Keep in mind that if you have sent (and they have read) some detailed information about your services, you don't need to say much more.
This is what I usually say:
“OK, Janet, you have read all the detailed information about my services that are designed to obtain the results that we have been talking about. Do you have questions about those services?
What I have noticed is that most have read the information on my services very thoroughly. They mostly understand what I offer and may have some questions to help clarify how my services can help them.
Once I have answered your final questions, I usually say:
"Janet, if we were to work together, there are a few things you would need to do to increase your chances of success." Then I name several requirements to work with me. "OK, if you can do those things, I'd be happy to work with you."
I am not asking the client, at this point, if they want to work with me. I am telling them that I want to work with them. But at no point am I really persuading or pushing him to work with me.
Now you are ready to move on.
4. Achieve a Compromise
Now is the time to ask if they think your services are right for them.
Here are a couple of ways to say it:
"OK Charles, based on our conversation so far, do you think the benefits program is right for you?"
“Janet, do you feel that my business coaching services will give you the results you are looking for?
It's very simple. In a large percentage of cases, they will say yes. Closing doesn't have to be complicated or manipulative.
And then I'm going to say, “Do you have any other questions?
If they don't already know their rates, they will usually ask, "What are the charges for your services or program?" And I will reply in the next conversation.
Sometimes a person will not answer the above question about the service or program that is right for them until they know your fee. This is what I say:
"OK, we're going to talk about fees next, but I just want to know, other than fees, do you think this program is what you need?"
I want to know if there is a match. If there isn't, I won't talk about fees. We have already finished. But if they say they feel like I can provide the solution they're looking for, then they've committed to a certain level. And then it's easy to talk about fees.
If you're not sure, we can explore a bit more about what you want and answer any other questions you may have.
I will explain the fees in a very direct way: “The cost of this program is $XXXX in total, which is $XXX per month. Can you make it work for your budget right now?”
I have already received a yes that they want to work with me. Now I'm confirming that they can afford it. This works great.
Now that the client has agreed to work with me, I'm at third base on this game. I just need to get things done.
The final conversation brings them home and ready to go.
OK, Janet and Charles, if you're ready to get started, I'd like to schedule our first meeting. In that first meeting we are going to cover ABC and XYZ. And I'd like to send you some prep work before that meeting – some reading and some exercises and I'll also send you a link to the shopping cart so you can pay for your first month of the program. They can pay a day or two before that first meeting. Okay? »
The examples above are a sample of how to offer a business-to-business service, typically for a small business. It also works to offer individual or personal services such as life coaching or nutrition coaching, to give two disparate examples.
You can also use the same process when selling to a larger business, but because those businesses are more complex, the conversations tend to be longer and can span multiple meetings.
I hope that segmenting all these steps of the sales conversation into these six different conversations will help make the process easier. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.