13 Ways to Become A Sales Call Genius
Paloma Lev Wednesday, January 9, 2019
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You did it! You’re great at attracting awesome prospects. Who will, fingers crossed… turn into awesome clients. You know that you can REALLY help them! The calls have been scheduled, no problemo.
Now, it’s GO time!
It's just moments before you hop on the call.
And you feel nervous.
You’ve done these sales calls before, often with mixed results.
It’s a crapshoot. Sometimes you get lucky.
Sometimes you get excuses.
You’re a super experienced entrepreneur so… shouldn’t this be easy by now?
Your heart is pounding like crazy in your chest.
You DON'T wanna screw this up.
The pressure is mounting.
You are smart enough to realize that in this measly 30 minute call, there's a lot at stake.
Thousands of bucks, their impression of you, your reputation. Yes, what you say MATTERS. Your language, tone, state will be scrutinized down to the breath.
Your prospect is looking for clues of certainty.
They are deciding whether or not they trust you to help take their PAIN away. How you perform is the difference between them saying "let me think about it" [AKA goodbye forever!] and "what payment methods do you accept?" The difference between worrying about where the next client's coming from and a nice juicy cheque.
Never fear! What you're about to read will be extremely useful to you as a salesperson.
Through working with hundreds of clients from 21+ countries to master the state of core confidence, tweaking their language, and studying from some of the best salespeople out there, I've seen it all. The good, the bad and the pushy.
Look, darling. If you sell high ticket coaching or consulting services, no funnel in the world can save you from a bad discovery call. A split second’s hesitation in your voice is enough to make your prospect second guess you. First and foremost, you will be evaluated on your conviction. Studies have shown that, in matters of persuasion, conviction beats competence.
My mother, a brilliant marketer who introduced me to the wild world of entrepreneurship at the age of 19, told me a story I’ll never forget. At one moment in her colourful career trajectory she was an actress. (Somewhere in between lawyer, comedian and award-winning author!). She told me about an audition where the role required dancing. My mom is many things but not exactly… a dancer. She was taught the choreography and in a lineup of 10 women, danced with SUCH conviction the other 9 girls thought THEY were doing it wrong!
Now, of course, it goes without saying that you must be excellent at doing what you do. If you sell health & nutrition advice, be excellent. If you sell life coaching, be excellent. “Good at what you do” is necessary, of course. But far from sufficient. Clients come to me, seasoned business owners and entrepreneurs with a powerful resume of projects, having taken all of the sales courses on the market and they STILL don’t understand why they struggle to move their prospects to purchase on the phone.
A crack in your sense of self, a mild resentment towards your clients, every nuance in your thinking is overheard by your prospect’s sensitive ears. You cannot convince anyone of anything without rock solid impenetrable conviction. (S)he with most conviction wins. Period.
Most sales training offers a barrage of tactics, clumsily throws around the word “close” but ultimately fails to tap into the power of state, the necessity that the salesperson to transfer conviction, enthusiasm and an awe-inspiring vision. Your confidence must be unshakeable. It is the ultimate business asset. If you can transfer your conviction powerfully & repeatedly, the world belongs to you and wallets will fall open. Trust me, I’ve seen it, so have my clients; we’ve even had to turn people away.
So let me share with you some wildly powerful Discovery Call secrets that will absolutely change the game for you!
Let's get started!
1. Don't be Desperate. Within 3-5 seconds of your first conversation, your prospect knows if they like & trust you or not. Confidence has a smell-- it smells like options. RAISE your standards, know your 5 inviolable non-negotiables + increase barrier to accessing your services. Leaning in too much triggers your prospect’s amygdala, the part of their brain that signals DANGER! THREAT! WARNING! If you are too needy or pushy, something feels fishy. We question your quality. See, standards reveal STATUS. If you want the sale too bad, you decrease your value in your prospect's eyes. Who wants it LESS is more powerful. Clarify your STANDARDS. Master the art of non-neediness. It's your #1 asset.
2. Don't You Dare Coach. Yes, I know you're brilliant. You’ve done this work for years now & I know you're DYING to dig into their juicy problem. I see experts, coaches, consultants make this mistake all the time, falsely empowering the prospect & screwing themselves over by giving away their secret sauce & making themselves irrelevant to the deal. We’re generous & could give all day. But why buy the cow if.... well you know. Help them reach clarity on their REAL problem. This is not a pick-your-brain call. Avoid tactics. In your sales calls, draw clear boundaries on what are "client only privileges" & keep your hands out the cookie jar. If they haven't said yes with their wallet, they haven't given you full permission to dig in. Resist temptation.
3. Don't Just "Wing It". Yes, you were in debate club so you're a pro at making things up on the spot. Me too: I was an English major; we invented BS. BUT... Hope & Pray Sales just doesn't work. You need a dependable, repeatable strategy of persuasively influencing the outcomes of the sales convo. Don't just depend on your "mood" & the adrenaline rush of your prospect breathing into the phone. "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." Didn’t some snake or cat say that in Alice in Wonderland? In any case. Remember: The one who best prepares for a negotiation wins.
4. Pre-qualify or Die. TOUGH LOVE ALERT 2.0: If you're talking to a freebie, a cheapie or a time-waster, it's.... YOUR fault. People already know they're going to pay a premium to work with me before we even chat. As the coach, you are the parent & your prospect is the child. You can’t say “I have a bad kid.” Their bad behaviour is a reflection of your parenting. YOU set the terms. Don't blame your prospects for anything. Carefully design systems of pre-qualification to disqualify & scare off the HELL NOs. Remember: ”There is NO such thing as a broken system. Every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it does."
5. Objections are Opportunities. "Lemme think about it." "That's expensive." “Let me ask my spouse.” Darling, DO NOT roll over & die at the first sight of tension. Some of my favorite clients threw me objections in our initial call & now they're star students who refer to me like crazy. Listen: Objections are NOT game over. They're actually Game ON. I ALWAYS say "that's expensive" before I buy my 9 dollar green juice. I still buy it. “That’s expensive” is an observation. Agree. “Yes it is. Why didn’t you go with that cheap option you found? Seems that you came to me specifically for a reason. What is that reason?” TENSION is useful. Do not extinguish it. Love the discomfort. Create an internal dilemma that lights a fire under your prospect's butt & moves them towards massive transformation. It is not unkind. It is not manipulative. We just struggle with making good choices for ourselves. Because choice = risk. REMEMBER: NO is not an insult. NO is powerful data, the beginning of a new conversation.
6. Question the Question. 97% of the time, your prospect will throw you BS excuses. Humans resist change. EVERY question they ask on the call carries an implicit premise. Answering your prospect's misguided question at face value is accepting their faulty frame. If they say "I saw another coach who's cheaper. Why are you so expensive?" and you reply "I'm not actually that expensive when you look at the market…” you've fallen into their sticky trap. You've agreed that you're an interchangeable & undifferentiated commodity. Try a bold line. "I'm not a tube of toothpaste to price compare. If you're looking for cheap, I'm happy to send you to someone cheap." All with love. All with your prospect’s best interests in mind. See, you’ve taken so many people through your process, you KNOW it will change their life.
7. Create Urgency. Other than peanuts, "decision-making" is the #1 human allergy. We have Buyer PTSD from all the times we've been screwed over. We HATE choosing (god forbid we take the wrong step, feel foolish, waste money). So we'll prolong decision-making indefinitely. Until we HAVE to choose or face a potential consequence. Cure? Increase urgency. Time & quantity, limiters & bonuses plus some tough love are required to UP the ante, increase intensity & close deals. If you waffle at "lemme think about it", accepting their limiting beliefs for themselves, you're picking “being liked” over “being respected” & will LOSE sales.
8. Position to Persuade. (Cialdini’s term, not mine!) Once upon a time, I lived in a house of entrepreneurs. I saw something terrible, something no human should have to see. A massively accomplished influencer bending over backwards to please a prospect who had NO idea or context to understand his status. She asked him "Do you know anything about this field?" "Can you send a proposal?" He agreed. (I said "Don't do that again" & we reviewed his approach.) IF your prospect doesn't get on the phone with you already 70-80% convinced, go back to the drawing board. Build systems of compliance where they say 6-10 small yeses before the ultimate yes. Pre-suasion is the base of the iceberg. YES is just the tip.
9. Decommodify Yourself. IF someone can easily steal what you do, go back to the drawing board. YOUR style & story is the secret sauce. Do not be the Walmart of your industry. NOBODY price compares Paloma. That's because she's a one-of-a-kind Canadian redheaded badass with chutzpah for miles. You can search the entire universe looking for another one & you'll come back to me crying. The market, your "competitors", your prospects, yourself will seek to commodify you. Cheapen your story, marginalize your lived experiences, render your earned authority irrelevant. RESIST. They’ll say: ”Why can't I just hire a cheaper X in ABC Country?" You must have a strategy to vehemently refuse & counteract the tendency for commodification.
10. Build a Glorious Vision. IF your prospect does not leave your discovery call standing, clapping, crying with SNOT & mascara dripping down their nose, you have failed to move them. You need a plan but don't need a fancy pants MA in Creative Writing like me to move your fellow humans to enthusiastic action. Humans are motivated by 2 factors: Avoidance of Pain & Pursuit of Pleasure. Put simply: Desperation & Inspiration. You must become a Contrast Master, painting both an ugly picture & a glorious one, juxtaposing the ROI (Return on Investment) & the COI (Cost of Inaction) to render the choice simple. I remember going to an art store once. I asked the sales dude which chalk pastels to buy amongst the overwhelming zillions of choices. He said “It’s simple. You want cheap and bad or expensive and good?” Good sales people are MASTERS of contrast & help us make good decisions for ourselves
11. Love Thy Prospect. STATISTICALLY speaking, humans are more successful at negotiating on ANOTHER person's behalf than their own. So imagine this. You have a cute little puppy. And he's dying of Puppy Disease. Oh no! You are MORE likely to fight like hell for Fluffy to get the last vet appointment than for YOURSELF to secure the last doctor's appointment of the day. SO be on a crusade, a passionate mission to save your prospect from a proverbial burning building. You cannot hide your true intentions. So align your intentions with their interests. You must develop deep conviction in & love for your prospect's potential so that you are fighting on THEIR behalf rather than your own.
12. Depersonalize Rejection.
"NO" is the #1 fear my clients struggle with. God forbid you offer your BEST, most heartfelt offer and someone implies “you’re not good enough.” This reaction often leads back to some gnarly childhood wounds. Re-frame rejection. Every sales call, you receive either DATA or money. BOTH are valuable. Thought Experiment: Imagine you're
a brain surgeon. A little boy needs surgery.
But.... You decide NOT to show up. Why?
Because you have a pimple on your face.
THAT'S what it's like to withhold your genius
because you're self-conscious. Selfish! It's not about YOU. The world needs you to step up into your masterful confidence so that they can benefit from your gifts.
13: Be Bossy.
Your prospects? They come to you SCARED. Dying for direction. They want to PLUG themselves into your certainty. Imagine a Michelin star restaurant asking you, the guest, “So… how do you think we should cook the duck? Should we chop or julienne the carrots?” We ALL want our leaders to lovingly boss us around in service of our best interests. YOU are the specialist. Step up. Your prospects (secretly) want to throw their hands up, surrender and say “Jesus take the wheel! TELL ME exactly what to do!" But MOST of the time, experts treat their services as cheap all-you-can-eat 24-hour buffets. Take whatever you want... whenever you want.... however you want. And they wonder why, in their negotiations, they're being screwed. Your sales call is a taste of what it's like to work with you. So it's CRUCIAL that you step up as the Confident Leader of Process. It's the difference between 30 minutes turning into 10K & 30 minutes sitting on your butt sweating through your pants only to receive the dreaded "lemme ask my spouse....." (kiss of death). You MUST master your state.
Final Note: Faithfully apply these rules and watch as your ability to close deals skyrockets, your sales multiply and your sales conversations go from "oh god whyyyy!" to easy as pie. I believe in you. Do you believe in yourself?