How To Follow Up and Close Consulting Clients
How do you pull in the "big fish" consulting client? That is what this article is all about!
We're in the final video of the series. In this video we're talking about how to follow up and close consulting clients. The best way to create high quality inbound leads is to a straightforward content marketing funnel:
A - Begin with your big idea (transformational productized service)
B - Break it apart into stand alone content pieces
C - Promote each piece separately to attract consulting leads
This video covers what happens after the promotional effort. It's the "gap" between the content that gets promoted and the clients that arrive. We are about to cover what happens, how it works, and how all of the pieces connect together. See below.
Over-teaching, over-talking, and over-selling do more harm than good. Download the discovery and proposal call script here. --> Get the Templates. Have Better Conversations.
Let's start with the landing page
People only get here because they read through one of your content pieces. Each content piece covered a very specific issue. At the landing page you connect the smaller problem they just read about (symptom) with the larger strategic issue you solve for (illness).
The landing page outline very simple here:
Here are 5 core elements of any quality landing page:
1 - Headline with your big idea, promise, or benefit - visitor needs to immediately "get" the value of staying on the page
2 - Image of the giveaway - this is a picture of the full report you have put together
3 - Bullet point benefits - simple, punchy ideas that set clear expectations for what is inside your report
4 - Social proof - short testimonials or support from other clients who have enjoyed your services
5 - Conversion goal – clear instructions for what you want the visitor to do next
If you want to dig a little deeper about this specific step, Unbounce has a really good article that explains each element in more detail
What is the free report? An easy way to execute this is to take each of the content pieces you've prepared and bundle them together in a full report. The report will identify each of the smaller problems and connect them...making it plain that your BEST client's individual challenges are symptoms of larger condition (which you are ready to solve).
By registering at your landing page the visitor begins a very simple landing page sequence.
And what does that look like?
Here's a very simple five step follow up sequence to help people not only review the content that they just downloaded but to help connect the dots between their "symptom" and the "illness" you solve for. See below.
A simple, straightforward follow-up sequence
You'll want to send out five email messages that simply remind them of the appropriate next step they should take.
The sequence looks like this:
Message 1: Hello and Welcome. You want to welcome your new subscriber to your list and content. You also want to remind them of what they just downloaded and encourage them to consume it as quickly as possible.
Message 2: Restate the Problem(s). The next message restates the problem(s). They downloaded your material for a reason and you need to remind them of what that reason is. Yes, you need to poke the pain point. It needs to be clear that if your new subscriber doesn't take an action, there won't be a solution. Fortunately, these problems have a solution and you would like to help them if they are ready.
Message 3: Reveal Life Without the Problem(s). Message number three shows life without the problems. Paint a picture of what life looks like after resolution. What does their business look like? Is someone important pleased with them? Has a certain daily frustration finally been settled?
Message 4: Compare Other Options. Message number four is where you compare some of the popular, lesser options. You know your BEST client has already tried to solve this problem somewhere else, with other inferior solutions. What are their other options? How do they fall short? What types of experiences might your BEST client have had before they met you? This message reflects your understanding of their situation and demonstrates that your solution fills a gap that others don't.
Message 5: Make a Final Ask. In the fifth message simply ask, "Why haven't we heard from you yet?" They've read your blog post, downloaded your free report, and received a series of messages from you. This is a low-pressure question. It's a final reminder that you are here to help. This is how you follow-up, but what happens once they decide to speak to you? How does the discovery call work? See below.
How to handle the discovery call
First and foremost, it's a discovery call. It's not a sales call. It is literally about your discovery of their issue. Rule number one here is, do not sell. It's weird feels weird for you when you push your product on them and it feels weird from them to receive such a hard sales pitch.
Furthermore, it feels needy. It feels desperate. Who wants to work with a needy, desperate expert?
Remember rule number one, do not sell. You can just wash that idea from your head right now. This is what you should do:
1 - Set expectations. Tell your prospective client exactly what is going to happen in this call. You expect to gain a better understanding of their issue and what they would like to do to improve their situation. Very simple. It's your job to set expectations.
2 - Ask about their situation. I normally use the phrase, "Tell me about your challenges with X. Tell me how you got started and how you ended up here." The goal here is to begin a conversation. Nothing tricky.
3 - Be quiet. Once you say, "Tell me about your challenges with X." Be quiet. Don't say anything else.If they're quiet, you're quiet. If they stop, you stop. Please, if they're talking, you listen. Be quiet and let them tell you all of what it is that they have to say.
They will talk themselves into whatever is most important to them (and that's what you want). But if you get in the way, you will stop that clarity from happening. Your goal here is to help them make an informed decision, NOT trick them into buying something from you.
4 - Let THEM decide. Most often, your prospective client already knows what they want to do. They just hadn't had a chance to talk it all the way out.
Maybe they say it in a sentence. Maybe they say it in five minutes. Either way is fine. Let them tell you. Let them process out loud what they're trying to get done. When they tell you what they're trying to get done, there's a very simple closing question that asks for the sale without hitting them over the head.
5 - Ask if they want help. Simply ask them, "Do you want help with that?"And bequiet. They will tell you if they want help or not. Not only that they will be very clear about the kind of help they believe they need. They'll just come out and tell you.
The simplicity of this conversation allows you to easily match where they are with the services your offer. If you don't see a match...say so. If you see a match...say so.
6 - Setup a final call with all decision makers. Before you get off the call ask, "Is there anybody else who is involved in the decision making process? I would like to invite them on our final call."
They'll tell you who else should be considered. Maybe it's a spouse, maybe it's a business partner, maybe it's a subordinate, maybe it's a boss, maybe it's a team member, it doesn't matter. But make sure you know everyone involved in the final decision before you get off the line and setup your proposal call.
Why is this so important? It shows immense respect for everyone's time. No one wants to meet for "meeting's sake". No one. The fact that you have a process in place that allows your BEST client to make a smooth, efficient decision builds your authority.
Closing with confidence...
Now, here's what happens in the proposal call. It's the second consultation. Rule number one, do not sell. You don't have to sell them anything. Quick reminder, they've gone through an entire experience with you. You took your idea. You brought up in the content pieces.
They have reviewed one of those content pieces, decided to register at your landing page. They received your follow up messaging and they talked to you already on the phone and you discussed a match in problem and solution. You don't have to sell them anything. They've already made their decision. You just want to be clear with them on where they stand. That's all. Remember rule number one - do not sell.
1 - Set expectations. Again, set the expectations. "Hey, everyone, I'm going to walk you through what we've talked about so far and what I recommend. My team and I are excited to begin this project today." Boom. Expectations set.
2 - Follow a very short outline. Here is the basic flow of your proposal.
Here's what I heard you say...
Here's how I believe I can help...
Are you ready to begin today?
3 - Be quiet. They will tell you exactly what they want to do.
By this time, they've already figured out if they want to go forward or not. Either choice they make is fine. Your job is to make their choice easy. You will earn their respect either way.
Why this works...
You are the authority. If your BEST client already knew what to do they would do it. They need someone (preferably you) to set the scope and help them take decisive action. That is exactly what this process allows you to do.
The prospective client makes all of the decisions. There's no obligation for your prospective client to do anything. They chose to read the content. They choose to download your free report. They chose to be on the discovery call. They chose to be on the proposal call. They will also choose whether to work with you (or not).
When they decide to work with you, they are not only saying yes to you and your services but they're also saying yes to whatever other resources they need to put forward to reach the preferred goal. They are making full commitment (and that is exactly what you need).
What did I miss?
There's your process. Now it's up to you to tell me what I missed. If I missed something, does something need better explained here, leave a comment. Let me know. Use the model and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Where is the part that I should mention the price/cost for the solution I’m proposing to the potential client?
Thanks for the question Eran. The price of your solution is specifically mentioned in the proposal call. It is part of what you say when you explain “how you can help”. The template attached to this post will give you a sample flow.