Did you know that sales are almost never lost at end of sales meetings?
Most coaches don’t understand this, though. They put all their attention into the close and ignore the beginning. They think if they can only deliver the perfect pitch to the prospect at the end of the appointment, they’ll win them over.
It’s almost as if they’re presenting closing arguments in a courtroom to persuade a jury.
How twisted is that? We’re here to help them, not convince them.
The truth is, sales are almost always lost (or won) at the beginning of the appointment — specifically in the first three to five minutes. How you start determines how you’ll end, which is why we’ve spent the last several posts looking at how to start strong in your sales meetings.
The first key to starting strong is to take the lead and drive. When you establish your leadership early in the meeting, your prospect will be confident you can lead them to find the solution they’re after.
The next key is to milestone the meeting. When you tell them exactly how the meeting will go and give them a feeling of control, they’ll lower their resistance and open up to what you have to say.
Now we’ll take a look at the final key to starting strong in a sales appointment.
Aikido Their Agenda
Have you ever noticed in most sales meetings, you and your prospect come in with really different goals?
Your goal is to sign a new client, but what’s their goal?
Usually, they’re hoping to get free information from you about how to fix their problems on their own.
When your agendas don’t line up, it’s much better to deal with that up front rather than wait until the end of the conversation, right?
If they think they’re here to get free information, we need to get that idea out of their head and remind them to think about their real issues.
There are two questions I find really helpful for reminding prospects of the actual reason they’re sitting down to meet. Usually, I phrase it like this:
“We’ve got some time set aside together, but before we get started I want to know something. Why now and why me? Specifically. What’s going on in your world right now that makes this the right time to have a conversation about how to ______?”
Think about it. If somebody calls you for free information about X, it’s because they have a need for X. This X is either a solution to a problem they have or a goal they want to achieve.
When you ask them ‘Why Now?’, here’s what you’re really saying:
“I know you think you came for free information, but you’re just looking for free information to solve a specific problem. What’s the actual problem? Let’s just solve that, and forget the free information piece. Why do you want to talk about [growing your business right now]?”
You’re not here to give free information. You’re here because there’s something going on in the prospect’s world (business, life, relationships, health, etc.) that needs fixing. Get them to tell you what that problem is at the very beginning.
When you ask “Why Me?”, you’re getting them to tell you how they heard about you, what they know about you, and what they respect about you. You can also ask them to tell you why they’re having this conversation with you instead of someone else.
This isn’t to boost your ego. They’re not telling you why you’re great— they’re telling themselves why you’re great.
When you do these two things, you’ve made it clear that the conversation is about solving a specific problem, and you’ve made them spend 45 seconds telling you — and more importantly, telling themselves — why they think you might be the solution to their problem. You’ve Aikido’d their agenda.
So to quickly recap our three keys, to start strong in a sales appointment, we need to:
Take the lead. Don’t try to earn their trust and ask for responsiveness. Instead, assume trust and demand responsiveness. Lead!
2. Milestone The Meeting
Let them know the three things you want to cover in the meeting:
- Where do you want to go?
- Where are you now?
- What’s holding you back?
Then give them control. Once they feel like they have control, they won’t need to use it.
3. Aikido Their Agenda
Have them explain to you (and themselves) why they need it now, and why they need it from you.
When you use these three keys in the first five minutes of a sales appointment, you can determine how the meeting will end — hopefully with you signing more clients.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your coaching business:
1. Grab a free copy of my book
It’s the roadmap to attracting prospects, signing clients, and scaling your coaching business. — Click Here
2. Join the Coach Dojo and connect with coaches who are scaling too
It’s our new Facebook community where smart coaches learn to get more income, impact, and independence. — Click Here
3. Join our Implementation Program and be a Case Study
I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Black Belt this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with me on your client-getting and scale plans… just send me a message with the words “Case Study”. — Click Here
4. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from 6 to 7 figures… just send me a message with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! — Click Here