by Deb Boulanger, CEO of The Great Do-Over
If you’re reading this it’s likely you’ve said to yourself, “I don’t like to sell.” Or “I’m not comfortable pitching my services.” Maybe you’ve had bad experiences of feeling “sold to” and that’s getting in the way of you making an offer to someone to work with you.
Whether you’re a coach, consultant or other type of service provider, without any formal sales training, your default mode will be to share what you know in order to establish your credibility.
When this happens, you can over coach, over consult or over teach and leave your potential clients walking away saying, “thank you for that great advice!” But they don’t buy your services.
Today I want to help you get clear on the difference between making an offer and pitching your services, and give you some mental resets to help you show up more authentically in the conversations you have — walk away with more clients excited to do business with you.
The first mistake you may be making when you’re in a one-to-one conversation with a potential client is that you’re looking at it as a sales opportunity.
It may be, but in the initial stages, this is simply a conversation — for you to get to know them and see where they’re feeling stuck in getting their goals met in areas relevant to what you do.
In your initial conversation, it’s about being curious.
There are two levels to sales. Who you’re being in the sales conversation, and what you’re doing to move the sales process forward. They’re two very different aspects to closing more sales that must be in alignment. First, let’s explore who you are in your sales conversations. Here, the key is to show up from a place of “clean authenticity.” Not pretend authenticity, but a real, clear sense of being-ness — free of the emotional attachments to closing a sale. You also need to be fully clear about who you are, the value you provide and the transformational opportunity that’s available to people who are ready to work with you.
Authentic selling is not about you. It’s about the value you can provide to the person on the other side of the table.
Second, you need a process for how to hold a space for your potential client to make a choice for themselves. Here your role is to help them get clarity on their best next step to get to where they want to be.
You’re creating the container for that person to identify what they need most to reach their goal. Your role is to help them to name what’s not working in the current situation and highlight the gap that needs to be filled in order for them to get to the other side.
You need to be an investigative reporter in this situation. Ask questions that naturally uncover the gap of what’s missing for this prospective client in getting the results that they want. What’s the value of that solution to them?
Your conversation might look like this:
Why did you want to invest the time in meeting today?
What goal are you looking to achieve?
What’s going on now?
Why do you think that is?
What will it be like for you to be on the other side of this? What’s the upside? What’s the opportunity on the table?
What happens if you don’t do anything about it now? What’s the downside?
What’s the ultimate cost of doing nothing?
As a good listener, you’re here to pull together the patterns, to paint a picture for your potential new client and reflect that back to them. If it feels right, and this person or opportunity is truly ideal for you, then it’s time to make an offer.
I’m a fan of full disclosure in these conversations.
I’ve invested too much time in my own experience and education for someone to book a call with me to pick my brain or kick the tires, or get expertise on the cheap. Instead, I’m fully upfront. Let’s explore where you are, where you want to be and if I can help you get there. It’s not about pitching your services.
It’s not about convincing people why you are qualified to help them.
It’s all about helping them get out of their own way so that they can make a clear decision. That, my friend, is authentic selling. And nothing about this conversation is cringe worthy.
Deb Boulanger is the CEO of The Great Do-Over, founder of The Launch Lab for women entrepreneurs and host of the Life After Corporate podcast. She helps smart, accomplished women leaders make the leap from Corporate to entrepreneurship and replace the paycheck they left behind.
Check out two of her episodes related to this topic: