Secrets to converting prospects to clients
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If I was to ask you why you market your business, you’d probably say it’s to get more clients, right? Well, according to Michael Charest’s “Master the Sales Process” presentation at the 2014 NAPO Conference, you would be wrong!
The Purpose of Marketing
Michael declares that the only reason for marketing is to secure consultations – yes, he is a huge advocate of offering free consultations. By allowing prospective clients to experience your value, they can then decide whether they want to hire you. At the same time, you have an opportunity to decide whether you want to take them on as a client.
When I started out as an organizer, I offered a free 30-minute consultation because that’s what was taught in the course I took. However, I discontinued this practice when I found it wasn’t producing the results I needed. Because I found it difficult to demonstrate my value in only 30 minutes, I often ended up staying for 40 minutes or even an hour, and if a client lived far away, that consultation would easily take 2 hours out of my day. That would have been fine if the consultation had led to bookings, but in many cases it did not. Had I followed a structured sales process like the one outlined in Michael Charest’s conference session, things might have turned out very differently.
How to Conduct Successful Consultations
These are the top three strategies recommended by Michael that were lacking in my own consultations:
1. Ask your potential client to prepare for your meeting by considering their answers to these three questions:
- What do you want?
- How will you feel when you get it?
- How will you feel if you don’t?
Your time together will be more productive when both you and the client have a better sense of their emotional needs.
2. Take control of the session by having a specific agenda. Tell the client how long it will take and do not go over that time.
3. Let the client know up front that at the end of the session, if you feel there’s a good fit and that you can help them with their situation, you’ll be asking for their business, and ask if they’re okay with that. This shows respect by putting them in control, and you’ll feel more comfortable when the time comes to ask for the sale.
In his presentation, Michael also covered establishing trust and rapport with your prospects and effectively handling objections – two very important steps to closing the sale.
If you have an opportunity to hear him speak, I encourage you to take advantage of it. It will be time well spent!
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