“I can’t get prospective clients to talk to me!” “I can’t seem to convert phone calls to sales!” Do you find yourself saying these kinds of things frequently? The problem may be that you are relying too much on your inbound sales script.
Sometimes the reason we fail to convert calls to actual sales is that we’re paying more attention to our script than we are to the potential client. It follows, then, that we can increase inbound sales by being attentive to the client’s needs and goals. Instead of wasting your time and their time going through every step of your scripted sales process, meet your clients and prospects where they are. Listen to what they are asking and tell them what they need to know.
In this video I’ll share an experience in which I was that prospective client on the phone. By the time we get to the end of my conversation with the salesperson, you’ll understand why I didn’t end up purchasing the product. My hope is that you can learn from this salesperson’s mistakes and avoid making the same missteps in your own business.
I just finished a group coaching call, and I shared this story with them, so now I'm sharing the story with you. I think you can also benefit from it. This is a sales call breakdown. This is a real live conversation that I had with someone, with a vendor, to help improve my business.
I'm in business, just like you. I need help, just like you. I go searching for help, just like you do. And there are lessons, I believe, in this sales call breakdown that are directly applicable to you and your business--specifically:
- the importance of creating good content.
- how that content improves the conversations you end up having in your business.
I do not make this video to embarrass anybody. I do not make this video to try to make myself appear smart. I only recognize these mistakes because I've made them, and I really aspire that you don't make the same mistakes. They're costly. They're expensive.
That being said, let's take this as a teaching moment, as it's designed to be. Let's set the appropriate context here. Let's make sure, as we go through the video, that we're honest about the mistakes that we've personally made. I'm going to tell you when I've made a certain mistake. Please be honest with yourself as well when you've made a given mistake.
You may be thinking, “Alzay, what does this have to do with content creation, specifically YouTube content creation?” We're going to connect those dots in this video.
Your Incoming Calls Sales Script - Is It Helping or Hurting?
I spoke to a representative at a successful business coaching company; I assume they are at least seven figures in size. They promoted an offer for a free call to develop a marketing plan. They said, “What are your goals? Where do you see yourself? We will spend 45 minutes with you creating a plan, an actual blueprint, that can be implemented to achieve the things you want to achieve.”
So those were my expectations. I wasn't necessarily expecting anything over the top; I was expecting a conversation. We would talk it through, they'd give me some steps to follow, I'd write those down. I thought that was a fair expectation. So, I booked a call with that as the expectation. And let's say I booked a call with Guy A.
What’s the Problem?
Here's what happened on the date and time of the call:
Guy B calls me and he explains that Guy A is in a meeting and I'm going to be talking to him today. Okay. But he never tells me his name. In this entire story that I'm going to offer you, I never get his name. So I feel a bit bait-and-switched at this point because I thought I was going to talk to Guy A and now I'm talking to Guy B.
But the conversation begins, and I can hear him clicking through things on his computer and shuffling pages. Just his energy feels underprepared for the moment. So he fires off a question. He says, “Well, Alzay, start me at the beginning.” And I'm a little irritated by that because I filled out a form to talk to this person, so I'm expecting to already have some momentum here, not start at the beginning.
But he quickly switches to the question, “So, what's the problem?” Now, again, I'm a little frustrated here because if I had full understanding, command, and control of my problem, I'd fix it and move on. Right? Just like your clients--if they knew what to do, they would just do it and move on.
So, him bottom-lining me with, "Well, Alzay, what's the problem?" assumes that I have command of the conversation, and I know I don't. That's why I'm on the phone asking for help. But we moved through it, and I explain my problem as best I can.
I will admit that the next step of this experience is the best part.
We're Not Buddies
We dialogue a bit because he's trying to understand my problem and what my expectations are to have it resolved, and in that dialogue, I admit that I want to grow my business while keeping client satisfaction high. That matters a lot to me. I know I can teach very cool and clever things, but if people can't do them and get momentum from them, I don't consider that to be a good end result. So, it's important for me to grow the business, go faster, but also keep that momentum that my clients are feeling.
I also believe that YouTube is one of the tools you should be leveraging, so I want people to understand the value YouTube has in their business. But I want people to understand that before we get on the phone. I don't want to have to sell anybody on the idea of being on YouTube. I'm working on improving that part of my business.
Now, we dialogue about this, and we're able to get to this statement, and we agree that's the right thing to focus on: “Alzay, you should be focused on client results, and it is important to have people understand what the offering is before you begin to talk.” So, we have that dialogue. Good.
But then, a little bit further in the conversation, he says, "See, Alzay, that's why I like you." Again, I got that weird feeling in my stomach again. That's why you like me? I mean, if we can be honest here, we're not friends. We don't know each other. Not personally. You know who I am because I filled out a form. So, we don't have to play like we're friends. We can be professional, we can be friendly, but I don't think this is true because you don't really know me. Right?
What happened, as we were dialoguing on what my real problem was, is this: He understood that I'm a professional. He understood that I didn't just roll out of bed yesterday and start business coaching. I've been doing this for a while. I've got experience, I've got systems, I have an intentionality behind the things that I do. As he heard me explain that, he began to get excited about me and the idea of my being in the program that they offer. He explained, “Hey, we believe similar things over here on our side. Alzay, we'll go to bat for you, we'll support you, we'll do everything we can to help you be successful.”
Now, when he made this phrase, what he meant to say was, "Alzay you match our avatar." He didn't mean, "Alzay, that's why I like you." He meant, "Alzay, we're trying to serve a certain kind of person a certain kind of way. You match that profile, and we would love to see you meet your intended goals."
But those are two different conversations. Because if he knew that I was the avatar, and their whole business is designed to serve people like me, why is that a surprise when I get here? It shouldn't be a surprise, right? Like, "All I do, Alzay, everyday is talk to people like you, so the fact that you're like you doesn't surprise me. Our whole focus is finding more people like you. I talk to guys like you all the time." So, it shouldn't be a surprise that I match his avatar. He shouldn't be excited in that unique way. Hopefully that makes sense.
Your Best Tool for Inbound Funnel Conversion
Listen: your best client is looking for indicators that you can help, not just sell. Your best client knows you want to sell something; that's a foregone conclusion. They want to be sure that you can help them. Your best client's looking for indicators that you understand their situation. You're not just smart, went to school, had a lot of experience, been certified. They want to know that you understand their particular situation.
What Can Content Do for You and Your Client?
So let's talk about content now: why content is so important in this situation and why you might want to make YouTube videos as your content.
- Your content helps people self-identify. When someone has seen your content and your content is well-structured, then someone can look at that content and go, "Oh, they're talking to me.” They've just self-identified. That's what you want. Or, "Oh, they're not talking to me.” Great. But either way, very early on, they have decided for themselves if they should move forward or not.
- Your content helps set expectations. You can explain to people very directly what happens next and what you're going to talk about when you talk, so now everybody can be clear on the expectation.
- Your content helps people decide more quickly what they want to do next. So now when they finally get on that phone with you and you're having that dialogue, it's really just about checking the final dots: "Hey, I've been seeing your content. I know what you guys are into. I know what you guys do. I just want to be sure that you guys can do this, this, and that. Do you handle that this way? Or how do you guys do that?"
Your content does this for you. Trying to get all of this done, trying to build your authority inside the first conversation, is the hardest job on the planet. It is so hard to do, and the aggressiveness of that approach makes both sides feel weird. Content helps soften how this works. And I would submit to you that YouTube content--putting your face to camera, making simply edited, well-structured content pieces--makes all of this happen so much more efficiently.
Making Your Content Work for You and Your Clients
Let's go a bit deeper here. Marketing and salespeople have been taught what to say. If you look at the sales structure, it’s more or less what you should do in a sales call. Right? What to say has been taught many, many times before. But marketing and salespeople haven't been taught to mean it.
- Deliver on your promises. When you tell someone you're going to give them a marketing plan, you’ve got to give them what you promise. You have to mean that promise. When you tell someone you can solve a problem, you have to mean it: No, for real, I can do what I just said. When you tell someone that you understand, you have to mean it: I actually understand what you just said; I can repeat it back to you. We all know what we've been trained to do, but meaning it, having intentionality behind it, is the next layer of professionalism. You need to be in the habit, the practice, of meaning everything you say. If you say something, you mean it. If you make a promise, you mean it.
- Promise Only What You Can Deliver. And you only talk about things that you mean to do. You only engage in projects that you know you can control. You control the scope in that way. So, practically, make smaller, tighter, more precise promises.
You can practice this inside your content. Control the scope of your content. Don't try to cover 30 things at one time. Identify the topic, solve for that topic, close the video out. Use your content as a way to practice making smaller, tighter promises. Use your content as a way of showing your prospective client that everything you say, you mean, and everything you say, you can support. It works on both sides that way.
Connecting the Dots
Here's the worst part about this story that I just told you.
One, he never told me his name. I'm interacting with a guy, and it never occurred to him to stop and slow down and just share his name with me--because he wasn't worried about me, he was worried about him. How do he and the company get feedback here?
I'm doing my own reflection on the conversation that I just had. Will he? Will his company? And what will they reflect on? What data will they use to figure out whether or not this was a good conversation? That I didn't buy?
Two, even if I did buy--this is what's important to appreciate here--how does he know what he's actually solving for? Because we never connected those dots together. We never agreed that this is the core problem, this is what will solve it, and yes, I want to do it. That agreement never took place.
So even if I did say yes to this expensive program, how does he know what I'm solving for? How am I sure, for that matter, what I'm solving for? Or do we have two different interpretations? I would submit to you--and I know you know this--that there is a day when those two interpretations come to a head. There's a day when those two different interpretations reconcile.
When does that happen? Week two? Week eight? Week 12? Week 46? Sooner or later, what they thought they were solving for and what I thought I was solving for will be revealed to be two different things. And on that date, what happens? Weird conversations, awkward things: I said, you said, you should've known, I should've known, give me a refund, we don't do refunds--awkward, awkward, awkward.
All because we've mishandled this conversation, all because we didn't put the right content in front of this conversation to set the appropriate expectations. Because coming into this conversation, what I expected and what I received are not in alignment.
Hopefully, this reflects back on you. Again, this is a teachable moment for you and for me. The intention here is not to embarrass anybody or prove how smart I am, or prove how smart you are, for that matter. We're looking at: Have you done this? What mistakes have you made? Where in this have you made the same mistake? Admit to that.
Let's commit to improving upon that. Let's serve our clients better.