This week, I’m sharing an easy way to make your sales calls more valuable for you and your clients.
A few weeks ago, CPAs and Accountants got called out on LinkedIn.
Mason Brady didn’t hold back.
Most of us are good at our craft but need help maximizing what we offer.
I used to think that a sales call should be as short as possible. I was doing the client a favor by getting through the call quickly. Time is money, right?
I would cut right to the chase because I was trapped thinking that I knew what my client needed and wanted.
Most of the time, we know what clients need – but by assuming what a client wants, you leave money and value on the table.
Research has shown that (1) the length of the call and (2) the percentage your client speaks during the call are the best indicators of engagement size and conversion success.
If you want to improve your average revenue per client, start with your sales call.
I refer to sales calls as discovery calls because it reframes the whole concept of what we are doing.
A client will rarely show up and be ready to purchase the highest services you offer.
You have to take them on a journey from the problems they are encountering to the solution you offer.
That journey happens with good questions. Have 10 -15 questions ready to go. That might seem arbitrary, but it forces you to dig into what your prospect needs.
Now, these are not questions about whether they’re up to date on tax filings or what accounting software they use. These are important questions, but they’re low leverage.
Each question you ask has a leverage value. This means some questions can unlock $500 or $15,000 in engagement revenue.
High-leverage questions do two things:
- Uncovers the problems (Moves the client through the process)
- Removes obstacles or objections of why they should pay the price you’re asking.
You want the client to conclude that you are positioned to help them.
If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:
You can’t truly convince any clients of what they need. They have to do it themselves.
Organize your questions to move clients from where they’re at to being ‘Problem and Solution Aware’.
Let me explain.
When I owned my firm, I had a client who ran a cafe that catered to dogs and their owners.
The business owner clearly only wanted help with her bookkeeping, sales and income tax.
As I learned about her business, I saw significant issues with how she was running her business: Poor inventory management, low prices, and high employee turnover.
She was struggling, and she chalked it up to the hardships of business. She was caught up in the day-to-day and couldn’t see the lack of success was rooted in fixable problems.
She was in the ‘Problem Unaware’ phase.
The questions you ask to get prospects out of the ‘Problem Unaware’ phase pull them out of the daily tactic grind and get them to a higher vantage point.
Get them to see and describe the pain, then put your finger on it.
The questions I like are:
- What’s not really working to the level that you want it to in your business?
- How does that impact you? Does it impact your family?
- How long has this been going on?
- How long could you continue like this without something breaking?
- So you want to be at [X position] and you’re at [Y position], why do you think that this hasn’t happened for you?
Get them to see that their situation is unsustainable, and without help, nothing will change. It can be a bit of a wake-up call.
If you can’t get a prospect out of this phase, offering them more than basic compliance services will be futile.
At this point, prospects know they have problems but are unaware of the right solutions.
Usually, prospects get hung up on the symptoms of their problems.
Most of us preach that cash flow is the #1 reason most small businesses fail within two years. But cash flow is not the reason. It is only a symptom.
It’s like saying that a heart attack is the reason for a heart attack.
It is impossible to tackle a general cash flow problem because cash flow is the culmination of poor AR management, incorrect pricing, bad products or service delivery, inefficient marketing and many other issues.
When a business owner says they have cash flow issues, they haven’t found what actually needs to be fixed yet.
The questions I like to dislodge prospects from the ‘Problem Aware’ phase are:
- What is the problem that keeps you from hitting your business goals?
- How much money is this problem keeping you from making?
- What have you tried in the past that hasn’t worked?
- Do you feel like you have all the tools needed to get over this issue?
- Is it fair to say that there is a knowledge gap in solving this problem?
These questions help them see that either:
- The problems they thought were holding them back were not the right problems, and
- They are currently not equipped to solve the problems themselves.
Good discovery calls are full of tough questions. They might come off as intrusive, but at the end of the day, you offer little value if you can’t get to the root of the issue.
If you can’t get the prospect to acknowledge that they can’t solve their problem alone, they’ll never justify paying for higher-value services.
Problem + Solution Aware
This is where you want the prospects to arrive.
They’ve acknowledged that the pain they’re experiencing is coming from specific problems.
They’ve acknowledged that they are not able to solve the problem themselves.
At this point, you have set the stage to offer you’re solution as the solution to the problem and, ultimately, the antidote to their pain.
Don’t go too deep into the process to relieve the pain just yet – you want to get into the emotion of the results of the solution.
I like to ask:
- What does the ideal outcome look like for you?
- What kind of impact would solving [insert their problem] have on you and your business?
- What could you do with the [Insert amount they mentioned they’ve lost]?
- How soon do you want to get started to take care of this problem?
- Do you think it’s reasonable that the [proposed solution] could help you solve this problem?
These questions help:
- The prospects make the emotional commitment to the solution, and
- Prepare the client to accept your solution and acknowledge the value of the investment.
Spend the time and investment upfront in the call, and the value you deliver will grow significantly.
Build The Firm You Want.