What are the steps that you take to winning a new client? Do you have a process in place or been thinking of creating one?
One of the keys to getting more consistent and improving results is to know what’s working and what isn’t. By becoming conscious of the steps you take and turning them into a process, winning new business becomes less mysterious and increasingly predictable.
1. Get someone’s attention
What are the different ways in which you attract the attention of potential clients? Do you have a compelling message and a story that catches the interest of your target market?
Do you have a variety of easy ways in, demonstrations, free trials, presentations and free but valuable information?
2. Get them talking
From arousing someone’s interest the next step is to invite them into a conversation.
Some business people think this stage is the signal to start a sales pitch but this is a mistake because it’s the last thing most people want to be subjected to. People want to feel they can talk to you openly and be able to trust you not to make them feel uncomfortable. Asking the right questions and then listening builds trust and rapport.
3. Point to something compelling
Whatever it is that you provide has to solve a problem, fulfil a desire or present an opportunity. If it doesn’t do any of these then it’s not likely to be compelling.
This part of the process is about increasing someone’s desire – to move them from curious to interested.
4. Establish hope
This is how your prospects problem and your solution begin to combine. To buy what you’re offering a person has to believe that your product or service will fulfil their want, need, or desire.
Notice when someone starts to future pace themselves and imagines their situation improving and problem being solved.
5. Coach through resistance
In sales language they call this objection handling (which is a ridiculous term). Most people are going to have questions, which demonstrate their interest.
Coaching is the skill of asking questions, listening and giving feedback so that someone is able to naturally arrive at the right solution.
6. Coach to agreement
This step is simply about negotiation. Can you mutually agree on the terms of the deal? A valuable lesson is to present your higher price first because then you have room to retreat and negotiate. If you go in too low you may either have nowhere left to go or wish you’d gone in higher!
7. Close the sale
This step happens naturally when the previous steps have lead to the conclusion that buying is the right thing to do. Never the less, some people just require a little nudge.
When someone is ready to buy they will often display a noticeable shift in their behaviour (e.g. they visibly relax, talk more) and this is when to ask for the business. Avoid the mistake of talking yourself through and out the other side.
A useful exercise is to look back at all the enquiries you’ve had over the last few months. Decide where each one is using the 7 steps. You may find that you are able to pick back up with some conversations and move them on. It can be a useful exercise in discovering whether any of the steps in your process may require development.
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John Dashfield is a leading business and personal success coach. He uses many powerful and unique tools that help business people grow profits, save time and lead more inspiring lives.
Often challenging popular thinking, John’s vision is to help businesses and the people in them live in harmony within the community and the environment as well as achieving financial success. To receive more thought provoking free articles visit http://www.dashfield.com and sign up for his monthly ezine, The Source.