Prospects lie to you…
It’s a fact of sales. For the most part, people are flat-out liars. They won’t tell you the truth. Especially if you’re trying to get them to make a decision — such as give you money.
I think that’s what’s going on with today’s Mailbox Monday question.
Even if it’s not, I’ve tried to get a rounded answer to cover the bases.
As usual, the question, then my response…
I have a full time job as a Corporate Trainer and I just recently started my online business on course creation where I help authors and coaches build online courses around their area of expertise to grow their audience and make more money.
I’d like to start with coaching/consulting business and in 3-5 months, I’d like to create an online course of my own. I have my business plan all mapped out for the year.
My challenge is really getting or attracting clients. I’ve had several calls with potential clients and they have accepted my proposal but they would ditch me before the project even get started. I’ve sent follow ups to no avail.
I’m really having a hard time getting clients and actually starting a project.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
My response is in five parts…
- Make sure they actually care…
Okay, so here’s the sad truth. From the sounds of it, your prospects are accepting your proposals because they don’t want to tell you “No.”
You’re probably really nice to them. Which makes them feel guilty for not wanting to work with you. And because most people don’t have the intestinal fortitude to say something that will disappoint people who are being nice to them, they say “Yes” to a no-obligation request, and then…
You get the point.
They blow you off. They disappear. They become unresponsive.
And most likely, it’s because you didn’t actually have something they wanted enough in the first place.
Sure, they wanted it enough to let you send a proposal. But that’s not enough. Did you really connect on the phone with them? Did you qualify them? Did you make it clear how their life would be easier and better with you in it? Are you solving a big enough pain? Is what you’re offering a part of their current plans? Is it urgent?
Did they actually believe you — on all points?
- Make sure you’re solving a big enough pain…
Let’s assume that they care. Let’s assume that what you’ve got is what they want. Let’s assume they’re even qualified.
Maybe they’re not motivated to action.
Is what you’re doing SIGNIFICANTLY better than the alternative?
That is, are you offering something that solves a GIANT pain? Or, if you’re introducing a benefit, is it a HUGE benefit that’s pretty much guaranteed?
A lot of offers — especially the ones that don’t succeed — are really not that compelling, because they offer only a mild benefit, or solve an annoyance rather than a deep pain.
In general, people buy pain relief. And the further you can move them from pain toward pleasure, the more compelling your offer will be.
(If you have proof your offer is exponentially-more compelling.)
You’ll know you’re solving a big enough pain and have a compelling enough offer when qualified prospects start to try to close you.
- Increase qualified lead flow…
You never mentioned how many prospects you’ve spoken with — or sent proposals to.
That’s a HUGE factor here.
If you’ve spoken with at least 20, something is certainly up.
If it’s 2, maybe you just need more numbers.
Either way, selling and marketing is about 1: who you’re speaking to, 2: what you’re offering, and 3: how you’re presenting it.
Speaking to more qualified prospects — all else being equal — will lead to more deals.
Consider paid traffic or more proactive prospecting to speak to more potential clients.
- Get paid first…
Assuming you have a service people want, consider what part of it you could package as an audit, discovery consultation, or strategy session.
This would be a smaller, condensed, and highly-valuable service package you could offer to ALL potential clients. It would be valuable enough to stand on its own. But potential clients could also use it as a stepping stone to more complete service packages (usually with a 100% credit of the fee toward your more complete consulting).
By selling this, you’d experience many benefits:
— You’d get paid for your time and would be less worried about people not moving to the next step.
— Clients would value your time more because they’d be expected to pay for it.
— You’d have a clear introductory offer that would allow clients to self-select based on being qualified.
— You’d make some money that could be invested into paid traffic and lead generation.
— Your best potential clients could reveal themselves as they go through this package, without committing yourself to headache clients.
And probably a lot more, but I’ll move on…
- Action plans, not proposals…
In general, you don’t want to be making “proposals.”
It sounds like a trivial distinction, but it’s not.
If your role is that of an expert, you don’t “propose” something.
When was the last time your doctor “proposed” a treatment plan? They don’t! They prescribe a treatment, and follow a specific plan.
That has to be your attitude.
If a client is qualified and they need what you can offer, you identify that and prescribe your solution, via an action plan for them to follow.
This mindset shift is the difference between high-paid consultants and those who perpetually struggle.
If you have something of value that your prospective client needs, and you’ve identified your solution as the best course of action for their need or challenge, you need to be the grown-up in the room and tell them what to do.
Done right, this changes everything.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,