In today’s episode, I’m going to help you identify the number one sales call mistake and how to fix it.
If you have been avoiding sales calls because you can’t get them to work, or you’re running a lot of sales calls and people seem to be interested but you’re not getting the sale, then this is going to be a really helpful episode for you.
Here for the links referenced in the show notes?
Core Message freebie: tashcorbin.com/coremessage
Let’s dive in!
First and foremost, I need to be 100% honest with you… I LOVE sales calls. They are so good!
It is so amazing being able to speak to potential clients one-on-one, deeply understand what they need, what they’re looking for, what they get excited about, and what challenges they’re facing, and then working together to decide what the right fit is for them moving forward.
I get super excited when I get to do sales conversations. I don’t do as many of them these days simply because most people either join through a quick email back and forth, or they just go and purchase straight from the sales page.
But it is still something that I do here and there – maybe three or four a month.
Whenever I get to do sales conversations, I absolutely love it.
I need to tell you that first and foremost because I know a lot of people don’t love them. I know that a lot of people do not think that sales calls are fun to do.
It is one of the most confronting ways for you to make sales in your business.
You are face-to-face with that person. You make your pitch for your product or service to that person, you get to see their reaction in real time, and you have to deal with the rejection face-to-face if they decide that it’s not the right fit for them.
I can understand why that might feel a little uncomfortable, and why we might avoid doing that. But sales conversations (when done well) are actually the highest-converting part of a sales process that you can use.
When we avoid this number one sales call mistake, it also means that we are far less likely to have someone say no.
The reason why we are far less likely to have someone say no is not because we push them into things. It’s not because we use psychological tricks, manipulation and trickery to get them to buy something that they don’t actually need.
It’s because the number one sales call mistake that I see people make is something that actually prevents you from having to pitch to people who don’t want it in the first place.
This applies if you have people saying throughout your sales conversations that it sounds great, but then when it comes to making the purchase, they say no. Whether it be that they give you a blanket no, they so it’s not in their budget right now, or something else.
Have you had people say that?
It might also be where you see people that totally get what you’re saying. They see the value in what you offer, but then they say it’s not a priority for them.
Maybe you even have people say yes but then they don’t follow through and book in with you.
If that’s the case and conversion is not happening for you with your sales conversations – especially if people seem keen yet it’s still not happening – then it’s likely you are making the number one sales call mistake that I see most people making.
We have detailed sales call training inside the Take Off program, and when people really understand this mistake and start avoiding it, they see a significant increase in conversion on their sales conversations. But it also means they don’t hate doing sales conversations as much as they did prior!
What is this number one sales call mistake?
The number one sales call mistake is not qualifying before you pitch.
It’s either that you’re not doing it at all, or you’re not doing it well.
What do I mean by qualifying?
Qualifying is the process of working out whether someone is a good fit for your product or service, and whether they are on board with what it is that you’re going to be achieving together.
It’s asking really powerful questions so that you only ever pitch a product or service that is the right fit, once you KNOW that it’s the right fit, and once you’ve confirmed with the person that they are not only excited about the outcome that that product or service could help them achieve, but they are actually ready to take that leap.
Qualifying is a really powerful way to avoid pushing something on someone that they don’t want.
Qualifying is how we can have so much confidence in our product or service we talk about it because we’re able to talk about it in a way that directly correlates with exactly what that person wants, what they’ve struggled with, and what their resistance points might be.
We understand enough about their situation, their desire and their goal, and we can confirm that before we pitch the product or service.
For most people, a big mistake that they make on a sales call is that they ask some questions, but they are mentally preparing for the pitch.
They are in their heads putting together how they’re going to make their pitch sound really valuable so that they can make sure the person wants to purchase.
People will often discount or add bonuses on the fly because, during the sales conversation, they’re not listening to what the other person is telling them. They are listening to the voice in their head that is trying to help them construct a really sexy sales pitch.
But the reason I love sales conversations so much is because 90% of my sales conversations are actually letting the other person do the talking. It’s asking great questions, understanding their situation, and then using good quality questions to confirm we are on the same page about what they want, when they want it, why they want it, and how I can deliver on that outcome.
How do we qualify effectively? And where does qualifying begin and end?
You may be surprised to know that qualifying actually begins well before the sales conversation even starts!
Here are my four steps to qualify effectively and avoid the number one sales call mistake…
1. Create resonant messaging
The way that you talk about your products and services online actually helps people to determine whether it might be a good fit for them or not.
The more that you try to write your offers in a way that works for everybody and magically does everything, the less resonant it will be and the less clarity people will have when they jump on a sales conversation to talk with you about what it is that you do, whether you’re a specialist that can support them, and what it is that they’re buying from you. This is because it just sounds like you’re selling magic things that give them magic results, and it doesn’t necessarily connect with what they’re facing and what they need.
The less niched and clear your messaging is when you post on social media, write blogs, promote your services, etc., the less qualified people are when they jump on a sales call with you.
You will often find that when you improve and niche down your messaging and your offers, you will get far higher conversion rates on your sales conversations because the people who are actually signing up to have a chat with you, know with confidence that you are going to be able to help them.
They have far more clarity on what they’re expecting out of the process of working with you.
Yet so many people still get themselves caught up in niche resistance. They get caught up in trying to be all things to all people, trying to say yes to every single thing, and trying to talk about every particular facet and possible benefit of working with them.
It becomes so vague and so distant from what their ideal client is experiencing, so they have no idea whether it’s the right fit or not.
Qualifying actually begins with messaging and knowing your niche.
It begins with knowing who you’re writing your offers for, and knowing what the value proposition is of that offer for that specific person within your niche. (Remember that your niche is a person, NOT your modality.)
You need to express that more tangibly in your messaging – not just when you’re posting about your offers, but also in the way that you help people, the examples that you give, the stories that you tell, the blogs that you write, and the podcasts that you record.
When everything is done through the lens of niche and really deeply resonant messaging, you will attract far more qualified leads.
It is so fascinating to me how many people to this day still write on their offers that ‘you must be willing to do the work’. It’s as though telling people that they need to be willing to do the work in order to be allowed to work with you is somehow magically going to make people more willing to do the work or eliminate those people who aren’t.
Guess who is the least likely to do the work when I have clients…
It is the people who over and over again reassure me that they are so ready to do this and they are so willing to do the work.
Most of the time, the ones who are actually willing to do the work are doing the work. The ones who are saying they’re willing to do the work are the ones who aren’t actually doing the work.
A lot of people try and qualify leads online by including this list of checkboxes that you must subscribe to in order to be worthy of purchasing this package.
But the very people who are least likely to check those boxes are the most likely to want to be someone who checks those boxes. And so they’re the ones who say that they’re coachable, willing to do the work, ready for phenomenal success, etc.
They’re not the ones!
Instead of trying to shortcut or bypass your way to better-qualified leads by creating these random requirements that aren’t really effective at qualifying at all, what we need to do is:
- Become far more effective at speaking tangibly and resonantly
- Give far more tangible lived experiences as examples
- Give specific insights into the blog posts that you write, the examples that you use in your podcast episodes, and the situations and circumstances that you give people advice on
The more specific you are, the more it feels like you’re peeking in my windows, you know exactly what I’m going through, and therefore you are best equipped to support me.
You running around the internet telling everyone that you only work with coachable people, does not tell me that you’re the most likely person that’s going to be able to help me the most.
In most cases, that random criteria that you make people aware of before they sign up to work with you, just tends to attract the wrong kind of person.
Everyone wants to believe they’re an action taker. Everyone wants to believe that they’re coachable or that they will do the work that you prescribe. We want to believe that about ourselves.
That is not a valid qualifying process.
A valid qualifying process is creating really resonant and effective messaging. In particular, your bridge messaging (and I’ve got a juicy template for this!).
If someone knows exactly what’s going on and how to fix it, yet they haven’t fixed it, then chances are they’re not an action taker.
Unless you are a productivity or accountability person, then more information and more knowledge is not really going to solve that person’s problem.
In most cases, the ideal client for your VIP packages and offers has misdiagnosed the problem. That’s why they’re still struggling.
My ideal client for the Take Off program has misdiagnosed what’s going on in their business. They think that they need a bigger audience – they need more followers on Facebook, they need more reach on Instagram, and they just need to grow the eyeballs that are seeing their products and services.
I know that’s actually not what’s going on.
For most of my ideal clients for the Take Off program, what’s going on is that they are reaching a small audience, but even that audience doesn’t get it. This is because they haven’t got the clarity of what their niche is, they don’t know how to write resonant messaging, and therefore it doesn’t matter how many people see their offers. It doesn’t matter how many people they get in front of. They are not going to have a sustainable business because they don’t know how to attract and convert clients with their niching, messaging and offers. That’s their biggest issue.
But if I ran around the internet telling them that they don’t need more followers, they just need better business foundations, then the very people who are the perfect students for the Take Off program would completely disregard me.
There’s a gap between what my ideal client thinks is their problem and thinks is the solution, and what I can see is the deeper problem or solution.
For your business, it might be that they’ve misdiagnosed completely.
It might be that they’re dabbling at the surface and they’re not addressing what’s actually going on underneath. Or it might be that they’re particularly focused on one component, but really, in order to achieve their goals, they need to bring a number of different components together.
They might be completely fixated on their marketing, but you know that they need a good marketing strategy, strong messaging, and to work on their business mindset.
They are just marketing, marketing, marketing, and following marketing advice… and they’re getting nowhere. They’re trying all these different strategies, but they’re not really getting any results. And they’re still thinking there must be a marketing solution.
You know that the marketing strategies that they’re using are pretty good, but if they were to combine that with better messaging and deal with a lot of the mindset wobbles that are coming up, then they would be far more likely to get the clients that they want to get and grow their business the way that they want.
A non-business example could be if you’re a parenting coach.
You’re a parenting expert and mentor, and your ideal client has a child who’s really struggling at school and isn’t communicating with them. The parent is really focused on wanting their child to talk to them.
You know that in order to get the child to talk to them and achieve the bigger goal of feeling really connected to their child and feeling like their child is really set up to succeed, they don’t just need to get their child to talk to them, they actually need to learn how to listen better when their child does.
They need to learn how to read what’s going on for their child when they aren’t talking to them. They need to create safety for their child to be able to talk about anything. (I’m totally making this up – I’m not a parent or a parenting expert.)
But you can see that to have the thing that they want, it’s not about just fixating on one thing. It’s not this one narrow thing that they need to work on.
It’s a range of things that need to come together at once.
That’s often the case. It’s that bridge between what they think they need, versus what you can see is the real problem going on and what they really need.
Instead of running around the internet telling everyone that they’re wrong, your messaging needs to actually bridge that gap.
Instead of telling them not to focus on that thing, you can acknowledge where they’re focused and what they want to achieve, you can help them do that, and you can present them with the deeper thing that they need to focus on and achieve in order to get where they want to go.
It’s taking what they are fixated on and meeting them where they are, and also using that as an opportunity to bridge into what you can see is the underlying issue or the combination that they need to be working on.
Bridge messaging is really powerful and is an important part of understanding business.
For a lot of people, they’re yelling at the internet and telling everyone they’re focused on the wrong thing, and the internet is just ignoring them.
Instead of arguing with your audience, you can bridge the gap.
Don’t argue it. Don’t ignore it. Bridge it!
(I always think of my beautiful friend Brigit Esselmont when I write that… don’t argue, Brigit! Don’t argue with Brigit!)
That is step number one for avoiding the top sales call mistake and qualifying leads.
Make sure you’ve got resonant and effective messaging!
As a bonus with this episode, I’ve got an entire messaging document and training for you to access for free. Grab it at: tashcorbin.com/coremessage
We’ll take care of that messaging part before heading on to the next way to avoid this sales call mistake…
2. Both parties need to have an understanding of the basics
We need to ensure this is the case BEFORE that person books in their sales conversation.
It goes two ways.
You need to have an understanding of what they want, what they’re looking for, and what their questions might be so that you can assess if this sales conversation is actually the right decision for them. And they need to have an understanding of the basics of what you’re going to be doing as well.
If your VIP packages start at $2,500, that’s important information that someone needs to know before they sign up to do a sales conversation with you.
As a consent-based marketer, I am 100% a fan of complete transparency in pricing.
The price of all of my programs is on the sales page. The price of my VIP packages is very clearly stated. The hourly rate of working with me on which my packages are built is very open and transparent.
I do not hide my pricing, and I do not force people to get on a call before I reveal my pricing. I don’t want to waste my time, I don’t want to waste their time, and quite frankly, I’ve had enough sales conversations as a customer where that has happened to me. It makes me really cranky and feel like I’m being manipulated. I don’t want to do that to anyone else.
You will always be encouraged by me to have complete transparency of pricing.
I understand that that can sometimes be tricky if you’re not sure what the product or service is that you would be recommending to this person, or if you need to build a bespoke proposal for them.
But you always know a range. You always know a way to give them some form of indication.
You might be able to say to them that you have a range of different ways that you could work together. They include self-study options that begin at $250, all the way up to a VIP one-to-one package which generally starts at about $6,500.
You would absolutely be able to give that information to people before they booked a sales conversation with you.
For most people, the reason why you don’t is because:
1. You’ve been told not to (eye roll). Or,
2. You’re afraid that if you do tell them the price, they won’t book the call.
If the price range is enough for that person to decide not to book the call at all, then I would argue that they were going to say no regardless.
A lot of fear-based and manipulative marketing uses NLP and hypnosis on the person in the sales call and gets them to make big commitments before they’re ever told the price.
I would argue that all that does is lead to buyer’s remorse. All that does is lead to the person feeling pressured. And ultimately, it’s just wasting everyone’s time and it just doesn’t feel nice to do it as a provider.
I will leave it in your capable hands. You’re an adult, you get to decide whether you want to use consent-based marketing or not, and whether you want to be transparent in your pricing or not.
But I would argue that you’ll have far more fabulous sales conversations and far more fabulous experiences of sales conversations if you embrace transparency of pricing.
I know most people who read this podcast do it anyway, but that is definitely one piece of the puzzle that I think makes a big difference to conversion rates in sales calls.
As I said, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a detailed price – you can give a price range.
But the more clarity you can give around the pricing in particular, the more likely the person is going to have made some considerations about what they would need to be able to feel confident in achieving by the end of the package in order for that to feel like it’s a good value fit for them.
What happens when you give transparency of pricing, even if it’s a little higher than the potential client was expecting, is in between finding out and getting on a call with you, that person starts to think about what they would need to achieve from working with you in order for it to be worth it for them.
They’re going to be far more informed.
They would have thought things through far more when you ask them your qualifying questions on the sales call.
Not only that, the more they think about those outcomes, the more they get attached to those outcomes actually being their reality, and so the more excited about achieving those outcomes they become.
One of the things that you may actually find if you embrace transparency of pricing is that the people who do come to the sales conversations are far more likely to give you deeper insights into what they’re looking for. They’ll be far more specific around what goals they want to achieve and what challenges they are facing that they need you to help them overcome, and so they’re a far better quality client as well because they’re bringing information, responsibility, determination and motivation to the table before you’ve even signed them up as a client.
It can have some really great flow-on effects in relation to the quality of the client, the enjoyment that you get, and the quality of information that you get inside that sales conversation.
It’s so beneficial to both understand the basics before walking in.
For example, if your offer is DIY websites and you don’t do done-for-you websites, that would be important for someone to know before they book a sales conversation with you.
If you do not have the capacity to get started with a client until three months from now, that would be important information for someone to know before they book a sales conversation with you.
If there are some prerequisites before people are able to work with you in some way, that’s good information for them to have. And if there’s some basic structure to what it is that you generally offer, that’s good information for them to have.
Even just getting some of those things clarified through the sales conversation booking process, or the qualifying process that you do before you give them the link to book the sales conversation, is going to make so much difference.
I don’t book sales conversations with people until we’ve emailed or messaged each other.
I just ask a couple of questions.
A lot of people will email me asking to book a call to discuss the Take Off program. It’s taken me a while to find my words on how to tell them to slow down and ask me their questions via email, and if we need to jump on a call after that, we can.
I don’t say it like that. I say, “Oh absolutely! We can jump on a call if we need to. In the meantime though, why don’t you let me know a little bit about your business? What goals are you hoping to achieve? Are there any specific questions you have about the program in case I’m able to answer them by email and we don’t even need to jump on the call in the first place?”
95% of people send me super easy questions that I can answer via email. We don’t even need to have a call.
Sometimes I wish it was a little more complex so I would get a chance to do more sales calls!
Often, people are concerned about whether it’s a fit for their business or not, because their business is XYZ. And to be honest with you, half of those aren’t actually a fit for my services.
Why wouldn’t I want to know that information upfront?
I’ve just saved them time as well. Often, they will have a product-based business and I’ll tell them it won’t be a fit.
The Take Off program is really focused on signature VIP one-to-one packages. They can join if they want, but there’s not a lot that applies to understanding inventory, understanding markups and margins and selling things at a mass scale.
In the Take Off program, we’re aiming to sell four or five packages at $2,000 each.
If you want to sell something at a $99 price point, I might be able to help you get five or six sales but I don’t think that that’s the kind of volume you’re looking for.
There are just so many differences when it comes to product-based businesses.
When people let me know about their business model or what they’re looking for help with, often it’s not something that the Take Off program will help with.
It’s such a good qualifying process to be able to get that clear on email and tell them it’s not the right fit, or I recommend someone else, or I recommend they do certain things before joining.
A lot of the time people ask me about the Take Off program and I end up sending them a free resource first instead, because they’re not quite there yet, or they’ve become fixated on a certain strategy that I don’t teach inside the Take Off program.
I say, “Just so you’re aware, I don’t actually teach that strategy. Here is some content and information on why I don’t teach that strategy and what I would recommend to get started first. But if that is the strategy that you want to embrace, then no, the Take Off program is not going to be fit.”
Half of those people come back to me really excited to try the strategy I recommend instead.
The other half of them will stick with the strategy they want to do instead so they won’t jump on a sales call with me.
Both of us having a bit of an understanding of the basics – me having an understanding of them, and them having an understanding of me and the offer that they’re considering – just takes so much pressure off. It’s so much easier!
It means that when I do have sales conversations, it’s something juicy that we need to really unpack in order to understand whether it’s going to be the right fit or not.
To avoid the top sales call mistake, you both need to understand some of the basics.
Remember that your time is important as well. A lot of people just take all the sales conversations that they can get because they’re so desperate and they want it to be a good fit.
I totally understand that. But you could have used that time to go out, work on your messaging and create some content that actually generates high-quality leads for a really good feed.
There’s always an opportunity cost.
Your time is valuable. Doing a little bit of that pre-qualifying on email and having some of the basics available for people to understand upfront, makes a huge difference to the quality of sales conversation you’ll have… and your conversion rates!
3. Ask the right questions
When you get people on a sales call, don’t just ask them what package they were looking at and what questions they have.
If you’re relying on them to do all of the heavy lifting, then they’re going to have to have read something pretty generic, applied it and then specified how it works for them themselves. That’s not going to convert very well because you’re just asking them what questions they have.
It’s not actually a sales call. It’s just a Q&A.
When it comes to crafting your sales conversations, really understand what the key pieces of information are that you need in order to provide a recommendation.
Be really confident in that recommendation. Be confident that you can deliver for that person.
It takes practice to know what your questions are and what information you need. But it is worth putting that time and energy into creating that refinement and really understanding what you need to know.
These days, if someone reaches out to me in my DMs or via email asking if I’m able to help them with their business, I can usually uncover what the real problem is in 3-4 questions. From there, I can provide a recommendation.
It doesn’t take me long these days to get to the crux of what’s going on with someone’s business. I’m very good at what I do, let’s just say that… I’m unafraid to say that.
I am very good at business mentorship, understanding what’s going on in someone’s business model, and making recommendations.
But that has come through lots of questions.
When I first started my business, I did a few sales conversations and a lot of the time I would finish a sales conversation, get a no to my offer, and I would completely understand why I had received a no… it was because I didn’t know enough about the person’s business!
I would do my pitch to work together for a month on A, B and C, and the person would tell me that doesn’t feel like a good fit for them because they’re already doing A and B. In many instances, they already were covering the things that I was suggesting we work on.
By that point, I knew that I could help them with what they actually wanted, but it was too late. It was already a no.
I made the pitch too early.
If you pitch before you’ve qualified effectively, you will significantly reduce your conversion rate. You will significantly reduce the excitement and the clarity that people have when they hear that you can help them with exactly what they need.
I needed to better qualify.
I then started doing sales conversations with 35 questions in front of me.
It was like a little choose-your-own-adventure. I mapped out all the questions of all of the things that I’d probably need to try and work out and understand. But I didn’t have to ask all 35 questions.
Based on the answers I got, I could eliminate certain questions and assume certain answers.
I could skip my way through to the point where I had all the key pieces of information I needed.
I would ask questions about how long they’d been in business, how many people were on their mailing list, how many followers they had, etc.
Nowadays, I’ll instead ask them how many new people they get on their mailing list each month. I don’t care about the baseline number. I want to know what their list growth looks like at the moment.
This is because I know that that is a far bigger identifier of where they are in their business journey than the total number.
I’ve worked with people who have teeny numbers on their mailing list, but it’s growing pretty quickly. And I’ve worked with people who’ve got super large mailing lists, but it hasn’t grown in a year.
They are two very different situations.
But if I only asked how many people they have on their mailing list, I would have assumed that the larger mailing list was in a bigger space at that point in time.
It’s just a matter of refinement and getting down to the crux of what questions you need to ask and what information you need.
In most cases, you’re going to need to ask a lot more questions specific to your area of expertise. I can’t guess what that is for 10,000 people all in one go, but what I can do is give you some key categories of questions to think about asking…
Question 1: What is your goal? What is it that you’re after?
You’ll find different ways to ask that question where you can get into something a little more specific.
I always ask people what their current income is, and what their income goal is.
I’m getting a good assessment of what kind of growth they’re looking for.
In terms of goals, I will also ask people what their vision of what they want their business model to look like is, or what clarity they have around how to structure their business and their strategy moving forward.
I’m just understanding what it is that they are looking for, and where they want to go.
If the questions don’t elicit thorough enough answers, I’ve got some little follow-up questions to make sure I’m getting the insights that I need.
Goals are a nice loose area of qualifying that I would expect everyone to ask people before they ever pitch them something.
Can you imagine (you’ve probably done it) trying to pitch your product or service to someone without knowing whether their goal is the thing that you help people achieve?
You just assume, or you just hope that it’s aligned. But you can just ask!
In a lot of cases, people are quite specific about their goals.
It gives you insight into what the best solution might be, or where you focus your energy and attention when you’re talking about your offer.
If someone says to me that they’re not really bothered about their list size but they want to get more followers and engagement on social media, then when I pitch my offer, I’m not going to focus on list growth because that’s not their priority.
I might do a throwaway line of “… and all of that audience growth we will connect into list growth just as a little backup for you because your audience on social media is a little more treacherous, and it’s on borrowed ground so we want to make sure that we are also building assets for your business. But the core focal point for you will be on getting that engagement up and getting your follower numbers up.”
This shows them that:
1. I’ve been listening to them
2. I’m focusing on what they want to achieve (which is how they’re going to measure their success).
Why would I just tell them that follower numbers don’t really count, so instead we’re going to grow their list to 10,000 people?
That’s not what they want! They want an audience. They want follower numbers.
When people work with me, they get both. But I’m going to focus on the one that’s more important to them because it’s their package, it’s their priority.
Make sure to also check in on why they want to achieve that goal…
Why do you want this?
What’s your driver?
What’s going on for you?
What would you get if you got that?
Once you’ve got that information, you can tie that all together in the final step to avoid the number one sales call mistake.
That’s the first question to ask.
Question 2: What have you tried?
I find this really helpful to ask people. What have you done so far to get to your goal of $10K months?
What that helps me to understand is where they might be falling down, where they may have run off in the wrong direction, and how they’re feeling about that goal.
There are some people who are at the end of their tether. They’ve done everything. And there are some people who have done a few posts on social media, but they’re just not really sure what they’re doing so they haven’t done much.
The way that I pitch and the value proposition that I focus on for one versus the other is going to be very different when I do eventually pitch.
This is why questions and qualifying are so important. What they’ve done so far is definitely a big one.
Question 3: What barriers are you facing?
Different to what they’ve already tried, is also understanding what’s getting in the way.
Why do you feel like it hasn’t achieved the goals that you wanted so far?
Why do you feel like you haven’t got your child talking to you so far?
What do you think is in the way?
What’s the barrier between you and that goal?
These questions help you see what it looks like from their perspective.
If someone’s looking at a statue from one end and someone’s looking from the other end, they are two very different interpretations of what the statue is.
You’re looking at the same statue. But you’re looking at it from different angles.
That’s exactly the same when it comes to looking at the problem and the barriers that are in your ideal client’s way.
You can see from your beautiful helicopter view and your experience that this is a tiny little blip in their journey. You can see exactly what they need in order to jump over it.
But they can’t see that yet because they’re stuck.
They think that they’ve tried everything, and so it’s very important that you validate and connect with them on that barrier.
You need to reassure them that you’re able to help them overcome that barrier.
You don’t just dismiss it, because it’s exactly what’s in their face right now. That’s the thing that they’re butting up against.
Instead, you acknowledge it, you understand it, and you validate it.
You reassure them that in the process of working with you, that is absolutely something that you’ll be able to work through together, and that it’s typically something you can get sorted really quickly (if it is something you can get sorted quickly).
Ask them about the barriers… What’s in between them and the goal that they have? What’s getting in the way right now? What are they butting up against?
This will really help you to pitch something and focus your pitch on the things that they are seeing right now.
And then the final batch of questions that I asked people is…
Question 4: What are you looking for in terms of the process?
I will often ask: Is this urgent and we need to do a bunch of sessions really quickly to get this sorted? Or are you more looking to work on this over an extended period of time because you’ve got other stuff that you need to take care of?
What I’m doing is assessing how much time they have to work on this, how urgent the deadline is, and confirming that they’re aware that if it’s urgent then we need to do a lot of work in the short term.
By asking it that way, I get a really practical read on what they’re expecting.
If I just asked how quickly they need to get their list to 10,000, everyone would say this week. (I used to ask it that way!)
Nowadays, I’ll ask: “Is this something that’s urgent and there’s a short-term deadline that means we’re going to need to do a bunch of work really quickly to get this nailed? Or is this something where, because you’ve got other things on and you need to work it in with all of the other stuff that’s going on, we’re going to take our time, and we’ll maybe come together once every two weeks or so? What are you thinking?”
In terms of process, I will also ask people if there’s anyone they’ve worked with in the past who did something that they really loved or didn’t love. This helps me understand if there’s a specific thing they’re looking for that I can incorporate into the pitch if it’s something I could do.
I actually had someone say to me earlier this year that they would love it if I set up an automated email that nudges them every few weeks to remind them to keep going. I could totally do that for them!
It took me about 13 minutes. I set them up on a little email sequence automation in my system. It would say “It’s TashBot here! I just wanted to make sure you’re still making progress.”
A lot of my VIP clients these days only work with me once a quarter.
We do a strategic planning session each quarter, and that’s it. Their year is four big sessions with me. But this person knew they were going to forget all the things that we talked about, and wouldn’t remember to check back in on what they said they were going to do. They still wanted to work with me once a quarter, but they just needed an extra little nudge between sessions.
It was so easy to do. It was no issue for me to be able to set that up for them. They literally said automated was fine, they just wanted to be reminded because they knew they’d ignore anything in their calendar.
Even just understanding some of those things really does help me to make sure that that’s included in the package.
It just shows how much you’ve listened and how much you’ve paid attention.
It also allows you to build the offer exactly how they need. You get to build it so you’re confident in delivering the result, and you’re confident in your ability to do it.
Asking the right questions in a sales conversation is so important.
Imagine having the answer to those questions and now doing your sales pitch.
For those of you who jump onto sales calls and just start pitching, or you ask the person questions but gloss over stuff and then start pitching because you’ve already pre-written your pitch and they just need to sit and listen to it, wouldn’t it be far more powerful, far more potent and far more effective if you just asked some really good questions and listened first? And then designed something specific to that person’s needs.
When I say ‘design it to that person’s needs’, it might be that the package is exactly the same for everyone in terms of the number of sessions or how long you’re working together. But the focal point in terms of what you focus on when you pitch it, the messaging, or the highlighted thing of what you’re going to overcome together is different. That is really important.
One thing that I also do in my sales conversations to really maximise the qualifying process before I do the pitch is…
The confirmation is making sure that I bring together everything they’ve told me, and I confirm that I understand everything that that person is looking for.
I need to understand their priorities.
The confirmation will look like this:
“It sounds to me like your core concern is that you need to get far more social proof because you’re seeing that social proof is a really big driver of your results. Is that right?
And if we can get those results, then you feel like you would have the confidence to be able to invest in some of the other things that would scale and really skyrocket from there (like ads, building your team, and taking time off). Have I got that right?
And we were just talking about your signature package being the thing that’s going to create the biggest cash flow injection for you right now. But we need to make sure that it’s structured in a way that you’re not having 40 client sessions every single week and really burning yourself out. We want to have a signature program that’s easy and straightforward for you to deliver and you don’t need to sell a lot of them in order to hit that minimum income of $10K months. Does that sound like we’re in the right ballpark?”
Once I receive confirmation of all of that, I’ll start jumping into what I recommend we do.
And that’s when I do my pitch!
All of what I have done up until that point is qualifying. I’m listening, I’m asking, I’m understanding, and I’m digging in.
For most people, the qualifying part of their sales process is the bit they skip, gloss over, or don’t really know how to do it very well.
I understand this podcast is a very long podcast. But I wanted to share all of this with you and the full confirmation process as well as qualifying because I know what a difference it makes.
It makes a phenomenal difference to:
1. How you do sales conversations
2. How well they work
3. Your conversion rates
4. Understanding the importance all the way back to the messaging and niching
Without that foundation of epic niching, messaging, and being able to bridge your ideal client’s understanding of what’s really going on for them, you will continue to flail about getting very low-quality leads, very unqualified inquiries, and you will continue to feel frustrated that even though you clearly said on your sales page that people must be willing to do the work, the only people who seem to be coming onto sales calls with you are real tire kickers.
They’re not motivated, even though you said you would only work with motivated people. Why did unmotivated people sign up?
It’s because your messaging is not doing its job!
If I can leave you with any takeaway from this (other than of course to qualify before you pitch and do a really good job of it), it is that the first step of qualifying is actually really nailing that messaging. The more specific, resonant and tangible that messaging is, the better the qualifying is.
A little bit of time invested in really understanding and nailing your messaging will save you so much time in wasted sales conversations, wasted inquiries, talking to a bunch of tire kickers, and DM inquiries from people who just want stuff from you for free.
You will save yourself so much more time by getting the messaging part right than you will ever save yourself by simply just telling people that you only work with motivated people, or you only work with people willing to do the work.
Honestly, if people were super motivated and they were self-starters, they would have started by now. They would have sorted it by now.
Ultimately, that is not a measure of whether someone’s an ideal client for you or not.
I would not identify myself in a lot of areas of my life as a self-starter at all.
That’s why I hire people. That’s why I work with coaches. That is why I work with mentors.
When I see people say that I need to be a self-starter to work with them, I assume that means I’m going to be left to my own devices and they’re never going to catch up with me. I’m never going to get any accountability with them.
If that’s the case, I’m not getting what I’m paying for so I’m not doing it.
You’re often turning away self-aware people who realise that they need a coach, because you’re saying you only work with self-starters. When the very people who want to pay you handsomely and are willing to actually admit that they need help are the ones who don’t identify as self-starters! See where that doesn’t quite add up?
That brings me to the end of this big episode!
Make sure you grab the Core Message freebie here: tashcorbin.com/coremessage
It’s really going to help you understand the difference between messaging that tries to tell people who they are and what they need to be in order to pay you, versus messaging that attracts and converts your ideal clients, gets them excited to work with you, and bridges that gap between what they think is the problem and what they think is the solution, versus what you know is the problem and what you know is the solution that will really help them to achieve their goals.
I’d love to hear from you as well! Send me a DM on Instagram or Facebook and let me know if sales calls are something that you’re willing to give another go, whether you’ve been avoiding them in the past, or if this whole concept of qualifying has just been mindblowing and you’ve never even heard of it before. You’re also welcome to email me at any time at email@example.com.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.