Could your closing skills use a tune-up?
Or maybe you feel like your sales skills fall in the “nonexistent” category.
Either way, being able to knock every client engagement call out of the park is the difference between booking business consistently and grasping for any client.
Take it from someone who used to experience all the tell-tale signs of a lack of confidence before these calls — sweaty palms, racing heart, shaking hands. I hated “hopping on the phone,” even though it was a necessary start to any client relationship.
All this to say, you're not alone if you need a little help in this department.
So, here are a few things you can do to close your next sales call and leave those nerves out of the equation altogether.
Do your homework beforehand
Pre-call prep is a tricky thing. How much time should you spend researching a client, especially if there's no signed contract yet?
Do enough research to the point where you feel like you have a basic understanding of what the company does and who they serve. Spend some time learning enough where you could confidently summarize the company in a sentence or two.
Also, make sure you research the key players in the company like the founder or CEO, your point of contact, and anyone else prominent in the company. I always like to look up a few news clips, press releases, and other articles of note to see what the company has been up to lately.
Don't feel like you have to have an intimate knowledge of the company, but understanding the company on a surface level will make you feel more confident going into the call.
Pick your three
After you've gone through your sales pitch and you've listened to them, so now what?
I don't know about you, but the part that comes after the “getting to know you” portion of the call was always a struggle for me. To avoid this awkward silence, or worse, letting the client take control of the call, this is where handy prep work comes into play.
Before you hop on the call, while you're in the research phase, identify three things you could immediately change or suggest changing. It could be a line of copy on their website, how they're structuring their blog, or the imagery on their website.
These suggestions should be related to how you can help them. Or in other words, you're demonstrating the value you can provide.
Now, it's probably not the best idea to begin rattling off what you would change about what your client is doing. Offending the client is not the goal of this tactic.
Instead, present your suggestions in a way that shows you've done your homework and can provide intentional, strategic advice right off the bat. The goal is to give them a taste of what you can do for them.
So how should you transition to this part of the call? I love a good script, so here's what I would say:
“Now that we've gotten to know each other a little better, I wanted to touch on a few things I noticed during my research. The first thing…”
Remember, you're giving them a little taste of the value you can provide, so don't give too much away.
Create a bit of urgency with your followup
Before you hang up, and if you'd like to work with this client, make sure it's clear what the next steps for each of you are. Whether you're drafting up a proposal or contract, or if you're sending over more samples of past work, make sure you turn it around promptly.
Then, create a sense of urgency. Include a sentence or two in your email that states your calendar is filling up, but you really want to work with them for X reason. The key with this tactic isn't to lather on the sleaze or anything like that. You're creating a sense of urgency, so they don't dwindle on their decision.
You could take it a step further by offering to work with them before your rates increase on a specific date. For example, you could say:
“I'd love to work together on [insert project]. I'm offering my new clients a rate of [insert current rate] until I raise my rates on [insert date of rate increase]. Let me know how you'd like to proceed.”
So not only are you creating a sense of urgency by communicating that your calendar is filling up, but you're offering them the chance to book you before you increase your rates.
Practice makes perfect
It takes practice to feel confident in nailing a sales call.
Over time, you'll figure out what works best for you. In other words, what sounds more natural for your brand and what you're comfortable with saying or talking about.
Keep going. You'll only improve with each time.
Do you have any tried and true pre-call rituals? We'd love to hear them. Don't forget to sign up for the Unemployable newsletter here.