It all starts with your services and yourself. You want to help your Ideal Client and when you work with someone who is just right, everything is easier!
I am sure you thought about it, maybe you’ve already worked with some amazing clients and you wish you could find MORE like them!
However, there is one step in the process that you wish you could avoid altogether: the introductory call/meeting.
Have you wondered why so many business owners dread it? After all, it’s supposed to be a straightforward meeting with a potential client so what’s so scary about it?
As a confidence coach, I helped several business owners overcome their anxiety and worry about it, including VAs, coaches, marketing experts etc. and the main concern they all mentioned is that they felt under scrutiny and uncomfortable ‘selling’ their services, so more than a discovery call it feels like a ‘sales pitch’.
No wonder there is little love left for an introductory call if that’s the feeling behind it. Feeling pushy or needing to impress someone is not a great situation to be in, especially as you may not show up as your best confident and experience self.
However, I’ll let you in on a mindset shift that will help you increase your conversion rates and, even more importantly, it will let you enjoy your first meeting with a prospective client.
1) Focus on THEM
Your potential clients might be as anxious as you are. Maybe it’s the first time they’ve been through the process or maybe they’ve been burned in the past by some sleazy sellers.
The best way to clear the air is to explain how your call will play out. For instance, I usually explain that I will ask several questions to assess their situation but that ours is not a one-way conversation, so they can also ask questions.
I conclude the short intro informing them that if I believe I can help them, I will propose them one or two options. I also ask them if it’s ok with them so they’re giving me permission to sell to them.
It’s a formality at this point but it changes the dynamic of the conversation and I can see how prospective clients relax knowing that I have a structure in place.
If you’re unsure about this initial part, write down your intro and rehearse it with a friend in a light role-play exercise. It will become easier and almost natural the more you do it, and, with time, you will customise it to your needs and clients.
Key point of this is to gather as much info as possible on their situation, their needs now but also their longer-term goals which can affect the services you can offer. Prepare a list of questions and, of course, be ready to diverge from them depending on the answers you get.
2) Showcase Your Strengths
Can you mention three things you wish your clients knew about you? This is the perfect chance to meet your audience face to face so before each meeting set a clear intention about the experience you want to create for your potential client.
For example, you may want to showcase your understanding of technical issues, your empathy and experience. You could ask specific questions about tech challenges “How confident are you creating automated emails?” or offer a quick reassurance “I’m particularly proficient in tech issues so your chatbots will be working fine in no time”.
Before each meeting set a clear intention about the experience you want to create
Empathy can be shown by your words and also by your body language. A quick nod, a smile or a focused expression can create the necessary connection with your future client.
The choice is yours. What do you want people to say about you after the call/meeting? In this way you will be intentional with your words and behaviour and you’ll feel in control, which will increase your confidence in yourself and your services.
One thing to avoid at all cost during this phase is to give advice. If asked a direct advice question, feel free to mention that you’re still collecting information and will go back to it. You don’t want to offer a suggestion without having captured the full picture first.
Also, giving free advice is not going to help you in the long run. Use what you’re learning to ensure you’ll offer your best option to your prospective client.
3) It's not about Convincing
Having to convince someone of why they should hire you, puts you at disadvantage. Ideally, you want the client to know already why they need you.
During the conversation, take notes of the problems, needs and of the words the other person used to describe those issues.
You want to use them when offering a summary and presenting your services that could solve those problems.
The key point here is that the client needs to be aware of the problem. If you have to tell them that they have a problem… chances are that they are not ready to work with you.
Before you mention your options, recap their goals.
“You want to increase revenue this year by X and you need to dedicate more time to your clients. To do that, you want to delegate Y but you would also like to increase your social media presence as you’re not using LinkedIn. Does that sound about right?”
At this point you can offer the best option you have available for these specific needs, focusing on the benefits you provide, and state the investment necessary.
You have listed your services… and now what?
Offer the best option you have available, focusing on the benefits you provide
You may be tempted to keep talking, fill the silence because you feel uncomfortable, but I urge you to resist that temptation. If you don’t get a YES but a “I need to think about it” or an often feared “it’s too expensive”, now it’s the moment to ask if you can clarify something or how urgent is their problem, what is worth to them.
Ask questions you genuinely want to know the answer about. Once again, don’t try to convince someone but make sure they are not walking away because they didn’t ask the right question.
You are in the business of helping people so feel confident in sharing that’s what you do and how your specific service can relieve the pain points they mentioned during the conversation.
4) Follow up
If the conversation doesn’t close on a booming YES, then setup a follow-up day where you’ll email, message, have a 5 minutes call to clarify any last-minute questions.
Ideally, you want no more than 48 hours between your call and the outcome. Send a quick email with your offer (you can prepare a template for this) and set a clear deadline for an answer.
I know it can feel uncomfortable to tell people “I expect an answer by Wednesday” but you’re the boss of your business, you are competent and skilled and you decide as well if this client is someone you want to work with.
At the beginning of your business, you may feel as if any client will be fine but the reality is that the wrong clients will sap your energy, steal your time and block you from finding the right clients that you can help at the best of your abilities.
Have you created a “success folder” yet? Keep a file with all the positive comments you get, the thank you from your clients or friends that you helped in your professional capacity.
Before the next discovery call, read the content of that folder and also your LinkedIn profile which should showcase your best description and successes. (If you don’t have LI, use your website)
The goal is to remind yourself that you are all the things you described, and it will allow you to have a fresh impression in your mind of your abilities so you can breeze through your next call with confidence in yourself and your services.
Nicoletta Mura is a Confidence and Leadership Coach helping service-based entrepreneurs banish their impostor syndrome so they can service their clients and promote their business with confidence and charisma. She is over the ‘fake it till you make it’ approach and she helps her clients to make it, for real.