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Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win their ideal clients by becoming seen as authorities in their field.


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How To Build Relationships With Senior Executives

Posted on 29th March 2013.

You’ve been given the advice a million times before: “You need to build relationships with senior executives if you want to succeed at business development”.

But how?

Click here to find out

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What Executives Really Care About When Making Decisions

Posted on 22nd February 2013.

Today’s article is a guest blog post by ROI specialist Michael Ashford

Michael AshfordThink about the companies you’ve dealt with in your career, specifically the individuals in those companies and what drives their behavior. Chances are you’ve worked with individuals at various positions and levels, and people at different levels are driven by different motivations.

Part of what makes any professional who deals with business successful is being able to relate to each stakeholder’s personal motivations. I’ve always believed whether you are consulting, selling, advising, or whatever to business, your success is highly dependent on your ability to understand and influence the motivations of individual stakeholders.

Find out what the key executive motivations are >>

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Get Unstuck and Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Posted on 11th September 2012.

Today’s blog post is a guest article from Michael Zipursky. A good friend and real expert in marketing and sales for consultants and other professionals. Take a special look at the “Clear A Path” section – simple to do but an area where most people go wrong.

Get Unstuck and Shorten Your Sales Cycle

For SaleIt’s not uncommon for consultants and independent professionals to find their pipeline full of leads and prospective business, though not enough of that business is being closed.

Imagine a funnel being filled with small marbles from the wide end at the top. Each one represents a potential client and project. You know that the majority of these should be coming out the bottom in the form of a sale…yet nothing is moving.

When you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to sit back and analyze the situation. Often one or more issues are at play. Once you deal with the issues it’s like you’ve greased up all the marbles and they start coming out the bottom at a quick rate.

So how do you identify the problem in your sales cycle to fix it and grow your business?

Here are several strategies to help you get started…

Houston, We Have A Problem

In fact, maybe you have more than one. The problem I’m talking about however is not a problem with YOUR business. I’m referring to the problem your prospective client is facing. Once you’ve identified the real issue they are having, you can ensure that you focus your language and communications so that you’re addressing it. To uncover what’s really going on and how big of a problem the issue is, consultant and author Andrew Sobel suggests asking questions like: ” “What is this costing you right now?”; “If you don’t fix this problem, what will the consequences be?”; “What do you think this opportunity is worth to your organization?”; “What other issues is this causing for you?”; and “Would you say this is one of your top two or three priorities?” As soon as you’ve discovered the real issue and what it is worth to your prospective client you will be well on your way to moving the sales cycle along.

Clear A Path

Neglecting to outline the steps involved in the sales process clearly for the client is a mistake many consultants make. At the end of every meeting you need to inform the client what the next step is and when it will happen. In addition, you’ll find it valuable to walk them through a step-by-step of what your sales process is. That may be starting with an Analysis, and then on to a Review Meeting, then a Recommendation Session with Discussion on Investment and so on. The better your prospective client understands your process the more likely they will be to move along it.

You are THE Authority

Another common challenge you may face is questions around your authority. If a prospective client doesn’t have full trust in you, they will find it very difficult to engage you. In fact, this is one of the key reasons sales cycles can take so long. If the client is not convinced that you clearly are the best option for them, they will put off making a purchase. In this situation you need to do all that you can to educate and provide value to your prospective client to prove to them that you are an authority, that you get results and that they can trust you. Think case studies, testimonials, reports, demonstrations.

Shrink The Table

If you’ve ever sat a boardroom table and had a feeling that too many people are present you know what I’m hinting at with this point. When you are moving a prospective client through the sales cycle, it’s critical that you are speaking directly with the decision maker. Anyone that doesn’t need to be there ideally shouldn’t be. If they can add value to the conversation and process, then value their input and attendance. If not, focus your energy on speaking directly with the decision maker. You will find that as soon as you talk to the right person and get on the same page with them, the whole sales cycle will speed up.

Eliminate Objections

Sometimes asking a simple question can provide you with extremely powerful information. For example, “What would we need to have ready in order for us to start this project at the beginning of next month?” The goal here is to figure out what your prospective client’s real objections are. You can then figure out how to remove those objections and create a clear route to win the project.

Why Rush?

It’s a great question, right? If there is no scarcity involved then your prospective client has no reason to move quickly. Scarcity doesn’t have to be a ‘limited-time offer’. It can be something as simple as “We can only accept 2 new projects next month so if you want to do this soon it would be best to get moving quickly…” Or scarcity can be focused more on the company. “How much is this issue costing your company each day it is not dealt with?” If it’s a big problem, finding a solution and having it implemented ASAP becomes valuable.

By looking at your current sales cycle and your prospective client and referencing each of these points you’ll be able to uncover the current roadblocks in your path, remove them, and be well on your way to closing more sales.

Michael ZipurskyMichael Zipursky is a strategy and lead-generation consultant, author, and founder of Consulting Success, a leading resource to help you become a consultant, and FreshGigs.ca, a jobsite for marketing and creative professionals in Canada.

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Book Review: Power Questions by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas

Posted on 2nd September 2012.

Power QuestionsMy first love, way before I got into marketing (even before I met Kathy) was magic. Particularly sleight of hand, close up magic.

I devoted hour after hour to practising techniques and tricks. I devoured every latest book and video and every clever new move.

But over time I learnt an eternal truth. Your level of performance isn’t dependent on learning a host of tricky new techniques. It’s based on how well you do the “basics”.

All the great masters, David Roth with coins, Juan Tamariz with cards, Dai Vernon with pretty much anything. All of them know (or knew) the clever techniques. But what makes their performances so sublime and their magic so, well, magical, is their mastery of the basics.

The first thing you learn in coin magic is how to palm a coin. David Roth doesn’t palm a coin any differently to me. He just does it better. He does it so well and so naturally that even if you know all about palming, you still don’t get an inkling that he’s doing it.

Growing your skills in any field isn’t primarily about learning new things. It’s about learning to do the “classics”, the important core skills, at a higher level of performance.

In business development, the first thing you learn is that asking good questions is the key to winning sales.

Watch a master rainmaker at work and of course they’ll be doing some subtle things that you’re not. But the most important thing they do, the thing that makes the difference, is they ask better questions.

More insightful. Better chosen. More suited to the situation. Braver.

And that’s what Power Questions, the new book by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas is all about.

You won’t find any fancy new techniques you won’t have heard about in it. Just detailed descriptions of how to ask insightful, thought provoking questions that will get your potential clients engaged and opening up.

If you’ve ever wanted a replacement for the corny old “what keeps you up at night” question, you’ll find a bunch of much better alternatives here.

There are questions that will get clients to open up and tell you what they really care about. Questions to find out what they’re looking to see from you. Questions that help you recover from bad starts. Questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re on track.

Each chapter focuses on a specific type of question with an explanatory story, details of how to ask, and alternative phrasings and follow-up questions.

If you’re looking for a book full of new approaches to marketing and selling you’ve never heard of, you’ll be disappointed.

But if you want a book that’ll help you progress to the higher levels of skill that mark out the true masters – then this is a book you’ll want to have in your library. And it’s one you’ll keep coming back to.

As one of Andrew’s clients in the book, the CEO of a $12-billion company, explains: “I can always tell how experienced and insightful a prospective consultant, banker or lawyer is by the quality of their questions and how intently they listen. That’s how simple it is.”

This book will help ensure you’re one of the ones that CEO rates as insightful and experienced.

You can find out more about the book and watch Andrew talking about some of the content by clicking here:

>> Power Questions

Disclosure: Andrew sent me a free copy of the book for review.

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Stop Focusing on Problems – Start Focusing on Growth

Posted on 31st July 2012.

Problem HoleI was chatting last night to a smart marketer who was asking me about an effective sales process for high value services.

He was experienced, and he’d done his homework and studied and tested some of the classic approaches. The steps he outlined to me that he was following were rock solid.

Where he was struggling was “finding the pain”.

You know: the step in every sales process where you drill in to the problems the client has and ask about the impact. And ask some more. And some more.

“Twist the knife”, so to speak, so that the client is fully aware of the situation they’re in, how much it’s costing them, the impact on their business or life.

He just didn’t feel comfortable with that part.

And I don’t blame him.

Almost all sales techniques focus on finding the pain. For good reason too. Without a big motivation to change, clients just won’t buy.

You can find the pain ethically. Help the client see the reality of their situation for their own good.

Or you can do it unethically. Exaggerate all the negatives to scare them so you make the sale. I’ve even seen some sales training teach people to ask about the impact of the business issue on the potential client’s personal life, their husband or wife, their kids. Yuck.

Here’s the thing.

Finding the pain works. But it has a downside.

If you’re constantly looking for pain, that means your focus is on clients with problems.

Remedial work. Fixing issues.

And typically that means you’ll end up working on the same basic stuff again and again.

Like a plumber fixing leaks or a mechanic changing tyres or replacing alternators.

Not necessarily the most rewarding work. Or the highest paid.

If you’re an engineer at the top of your game you probably want to be designing cars, not just fixing them.

If you’re an expert business coach you probably want to work with clients who are doing well and are keen to grow, rather than those who are struggling to survive.

There’s less desperation. but there’s more upside. More joy and more enjoyment. Higher fees (and they’re much better placed to pay you too).

If you look at a lot of marketing you can see that it’s geared at the desperate. It agitates the pain and makes exaggerated claims. Who else but a desperate person would believe you can make thousands of dollars a day with just a few hours work. Or get 306 clients from a teleseminar?

So I believe my friend was right to feel uncomfortable finding the pain.

Yes, you and your client need to understand the gap between where they are today and where they need to be.

But isn’t it so much better if that gap is about upside and growth?

And won’t working on those growth challenges build your capabilities much more than just fixing the same old problems?

Isn’t there much less competition at the top? Aren’t car designers better paid than garage mechanics?

Next time you revisit your marketing strategy, take a look at who you see as your ideal client. Who you target with direct mail or who you focus your website content on.

(In fact, as I write this my stomach has just turned as I realise the pay-per-click campaign I’ve been testing is focused on pain rather than gain. Time to fix that).

Look at your marketing. What sort of client would be attracted by your headlines, your tweets, your sales letters?

A struggling client, or a growing client?

Who do you really want to work with?

 

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Using the "Point of View" Meeting to Win Clients

Posted on 31st May 2012.

EinsteinIn this month’s Momentum Club Marketing Masterclass webinar we worked on strategies for effective face to face sales meetings.

One strategy we covered was on how to use a “Point of View” meeting to win clients.

A Point of View meeting is a meeting with a potential client where the primary purpose isn’t for you to talk about your services, or to discuss a client’s problems – it’s for you to share valuable information with them.

It might be the results of a benchmarking study you’ve done. Or some case studies. Or the summary of a report you’ve written.

Essentially it’s you sharing your point of view on a useful topic for your potential client.

Point of View meetings are important for two reasons.

Firstly because they’re a great way of building your credibility with potential clients.

Secondly because it’s an awful lot easier to get a client to agree to have a meeting with you where you share useful information with them than it is to have a meeting where you explain your services to them or “find out what they need”.

So they’re ideally placed to help you sell.

The trouble is, they’re handled incredibly badly most times.

The first mistake people make is to just go in, share the information and leave without any exploration with the client that might lead to working with them.

It’s a huge opportunity missed.

But worse is the second mistake: “sugging”. Selling under the guise of sharing information. Promising you’ll share useful information but actually just treating the session like a sales meeting.

Not only do you get no sale, you lose your relationship.

So how should you handle Point of View meetings?

The secret’s in the structure. And in what I call “the flip”.

You need to structure the meeting so that rather than you just talking for an hour, you interact with them.

And you do this by asking about their priorities.

Do a summary of your point of view (or research or benchmarking or case studies) first.

Then ask them “so I can go into more details on the areas that will be the most valuable for you – out of all those topics, which are the most relevant for you based on where you are now? Which ones would be your priorities?”.

When they tell you, you need to “flip” the discussion. You need to move from you talking to them talking.

Ask them to expand – why are those the priorities? What exactly is happening right now in those areas that they want to change? What’s the impact?

Then expand on your Point of View in those areas. Give them the meat.

What’s happened now is that instead of you just rabbiting on for the duration of the meeting about what you think is important, you’ve found out from them what’s important to them.

And you’ve turned the meeting from “show and tell” into an interactive, advisory discussion. You’re giving them valuable information on areas that are priorities for them.

And you now know what those priorities are, what the issues are in those areas, what their impact is, etc.

Pretty much all the information you need to build an effective case for them hiring you.

But you’ve done it while building your credibility and giving value to the client.

Next, you close by summarising the main points.

“We discussed the importance of X, Y and Z (the main points in your point of view)…and the big priorities for you were A, B and C”.

(In real life, of course, your summary would be rather more detailed).

And then you need to ask for the follow up. This is critical.

“Would it be useful for you for me to come back and talk in a bit more detail about A, B and C…share some thoughts on some of the things you could do to address them?”

Here you’re basically asking permission to come back and have a traditional sales meeting where you discuss their specific problems and propose how you could work with them.

Why a separate meeting? Why not have that discussion at the end of the Point of View meeting?

Well partly because you probably don’t have the time to fully discuss the issues.

But mainly because your potential client will be in the wrong psychological state.

They’ve come to the meeting to hear and discuss your point of view (or case studies or whatever).

Even though they’ll be happy to answer questions to help with that discussion – they didn’t come in “buying mode”. They didn’t come expecting to end up with you proposing something to them.

And I’ve found that’s a big switch. For many clients, it just doesn’t feel comfortable to find themselves in a sales meeting when they weren’t expecting it. So the chances of them buying are slim.

Sure, if things go brilliantly and the client starts asking you questions that naturally lead on to talking about how you might help them, then go with the flow.

But more often than not, you’ll get better results by coming back another day for an explicit sales meeting.

But in that follow up meeting, you’ll be talking to someone you’ve already established your credibility with, and who you already know really needs what you’ll be discussing.

So your chances of ending up with a new client are pretty darn good.

By the way, if you join Momentum Club, not only do you get to participate in upcoming Marketing Masterclass webinars and get your specific questions answered in depth – you’ll also get access to all the webinar archives, including this recent one on effective sales meetings.

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The Secret of Ethical Selling

Posted on 23rd March 2012.

Ethical Selling: Three wise monkeysWhat’s the secret of being able to sell ethically without being manipulative, salesy or pushy?

Marketing.

No, seriously. It’s marketing.

Here’s why:

Why Marketing is the Key to Ethical Selling

Let’s think about what might cause someone to sell unethically. To manipulate or push someone into buying something they perhaps don’t really want or need?

Or to bring it right home, what might cause you or me to sell unethically?

I’m a nice person. I’m sure you’re a nice person. In fact overwhelmingly, most people I know are nice people.

None of us wants to sell unethically. So why might we do it?

Selling is a pretty simple process when it comes down to it. You sit down with someone, disucss their problems and challenges, goals and aspirations. You talk about what it would take to solve or achieve them – and what the impact would be. Then you discuss how you might be able to help and whether you’re a good fit for working with them.

Why might that conversation stray and become manipulative?

The answer is desperation.

If you’re the only potential client a professional has met for a month and he needs you to hire him so he can pay the mortgage and feed the kids, then the chances are that even if you’re not a perfect fit, he’s going to try to “sell” you.

Desperate professionals overstep the mark. If they really need the sale, they perhaps claim their service is that little bit better than it actually is. They ignore some of the alternative options the client could take even though they should really mention them. They try to get the client to sign up quickly, instead of when the time is right for them.

So if it’s you, how do you stop that desperation causing you to sell unethically?

Well, you either develop an iron will…

Or in the real world, you remove the cause of the desperation.

And that’s where marketing comes in.

Marketing makes sure you have a service that’s in demand. That lots of potential clients want and need and that will deliver great value to them.

And marketing makes sure you have a steady stream of leads – more than you need – so that when you sit down with that potential client, he’s not the only one you’ve seen that month. You have a backlog of potential clients to see.

And that way, when he’s not a perfect fit, or the timing isn’t right for him, there’s no need for you to push or drive for a sale you really shouldn’t be pushing for.

You can do what’s best for the client and move on, confident that the bills will still be paid and little Johnny will still have plenty to eat. Because there’s a steady flow of high quality leads coming in to your business. If this one isn’t right, the next one will be, or the next one.

Truth be told: ethical selling is pretty easy if you’ve got more leads than you need.

So marketing, good marketing, is the key to ethical selling.

–> By the way, one of the very best resources on behaving (and selling) ethically is Charlie Green’s Trust Matters blog. Lots of very thought provoking articles that will help you come to grips with this tricky topic.

Ethical Selling (and much, much more) at the Trust Matters blog.

——–

Photo Credit: Anderson Mancini via Compfight

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Are Your Benefits Really Benefits?

Posted on 26th September 2011.

BenefitsI’m sure you’ve read many articles about the difference between Features and Benefits, and the importance of focusing on Benefits in discussions with your potential clients.

The trouble is, most of these articles are wrong.

Not completely wrong. It’s just they don’t go far enough.

It was brought home to me recently when I was preparing for my webinar on Tuesday with Craig Elias on Resistance Free Selling

Craig calls what I’m about to explain “setting the context” and “avoiding your clients having to do mental gymnastics”. Here’s what we mean…

Normally when you learn about Features and Benefits, the explanation is that:

  • Features are the factual attributes of your product or service – what it does, how fast it goes, how many knobs it has, the steps in your process.
  • Benefits are what your clients get from those features. The results they achieve by using your services, what it means to them.

All well and good.

But here’s the big question: benefits to whom?

You see, far too often we get the so-called benefits of our service by listing the features (what we do) and noting what our clients should get from them as a result.

What we fail to take into account is that these are just potential benefits. Things the client might get. Or might value.

Specific clients might not get those benefits. Let’s say you’re a consultant who improves the throughput and decreases the downtime of production plants. The benefit the client gets is more output from their factory.

Except that if the factory is currently running at well below capacity, increasing the capacity isn’t going to give you more output.

And sometimes clients might just not value the benefit. I worked once at an airport where a fellow consultant showed them how to change their processes so they could get 1 or 2 extra flights in and out per landing bay every day. Unfortunately, as the airport was putting in planning permission to build a new terminal and citing lack of capacity as the reason why, that was certainly a benefit they didn’t value at the time.

So while you can identify the potential benefits of your services in isolation, in order to know whether they’re real benefits for your clients, you have to know their context. You have to know what’s going on in their business.

As Craig says, you can’t rely on them performing mental gymnastics to figure out whether your potential benefits will be of value to them. You have to do that thinking for or with them.

When you’re marketing you need to focus in on a picture of your ideal target client, your narrow niche, to figure out what the potential benefits actually mean to them.

And when you’re selling, you need to ask your potential clients questions about their situation, what problems they have, and what the impact of those issues is.Then you can see which of your potential benefits has real value in their specific situation and which to focus on discussing.

It’s this transition from potential to real benefits that makes the difference between your clients seeing you as a salesperson pushing something he’s not sure he wants to a trusted advisor helping him with his biggest issues.

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It Ain’t What You Do…It’s Who You Do It With

Posted on 25th August 2011.

Wrong PeopleQuite a bit of the training and coaching work I do is to help professionals improve their selling skills to close more business.

It’s an area where many people feel unfomfortable – they don’t want to be too pushy or “salesy”.

And there are indeed techniques and approaches which can improve your conversion rate by improving the way you interact with potential clients in sales meetings.

But often there’s something else you can do. Something that can have an even bigger impact than any sales technique.

Let’s do a little exercise.

Think about the very best ever sales meeting you’ve had. A meeting with a potential client that was incredibly pleasant, where you felt really engaged, and where the client emerged enthusiastic and signed up to work with you right away.

Visualise it now.

Now rather than thinking about what you did in that meeting, I want you to think about the characteristics of the client you were meeting with. What was it about them that made the meeting go so well?

Chances are, they had most of the following factors:

  • They had a genuine problem or issue that you could help with
  • The issue was important to them – it had a big impact
  • You could add a tremendous amount of value to them
  • They were able to easily afford your services
  • They respected your expertise – they saw you as an authority in your field
  • They trusted you – they weren’t second guessing what you were saying and your motives
  • You got on well – your personalities and communication styles clicked

Let’s call these types of people your high potential prospects.

Here’s one of the big secrets to having more successful sales meetings.

Your success at winning clients is less to do with what you do in your sales meetings and much more to do with having the meeting with the right person.

If you can sit down with a high potential prospect: someone who has a genuine need for what it is you do, who feels the urgency of that need, who trusts in you and believes in your capabilities – then you are very likely to get a sale.

Conversely, if you meet with people who don’t have an urgent need, or who don’t perceive you to be an expert at what you do – then no matter what clever sales techniques you might use, you’re going to struggle to sell. It’s going to be painful.

Now, if you’re a huge company – IBM, say – then you don’t have much choice. You pretty much need to sell to everyone to keep up your market share and revenues.

But for most of us, that’s not the case. Most of us only need a handful of good clients every year to do very well indeed.

We have a choice. We don’t have to try to sell to everyone.

One of the characteristics of a consultant or coach with an inadequate marketing system in place is that they have very few high quality leads, and spend a lot of painful time trying to sell to the few they do have. Most of whom aren’t anywhere near the high potential prospects we thought about earlier.

With a strong marketing system, the people you’re meeting are a good fit to that high potential prospect profile. They’re a pleasure to meet with and talk to, and they’re much, much easier to sell to.

So next time you lose a sale, or are considering doing something to improve your selling skills, take a step back.

Is the issue really your selling skills?

Think about your most recent sales meetings. Have the people across the other side of the table looked like those high potential prospects you visualised earlier?

If they haven’t, then chances are the issue is really your marketing system.

Chances are you’re just not selling to the right people.

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My Worst Sales Meeting EVER

Posted on 3rd June 2011.

fightBack when I first started doing business development as part of my consulting role, I had an absolutely awful experience in a sales meeting.

So bad I still get a knot in my stomach thinking about it.

But I’m going to tell you about it in all its gory detail because I think there are some useful lessons to be learned from it for all of us.

Here’s the story…

I’d just finished running a project to improve the marketing capabilities of a manufacturing client based in Paris.

The project had been a huge success and we’d already seen over 10% improvements in sales in every country where we’d implemented the new strategies for them. A really big deal as they were in an ultra competitive market.

I’d closed the deal on the initial project, then run it and sold a couple of extensions over an 18 month period. Somewhere over $5m in total.

The idea was that I’d speak to the head of marketing of a similar business based in the UK to explain to them what we’d done and sell them an equivalent project.

This was my first time opening up a client relationship like this from scratch and it was a big opportunity for me personally to make a name for myself as a “rainmaker”. I really wanted to make this work and saw this as a critical first step to my next promotion.

We got the meeting set up through our telemarketing team – and we knew from our research that this client was struggling and needed the sort of improvements we were capable of delivering for them.

I was pretty nervous before the meeting, but the guy was friendly and pretty soon I was into the flow – explaining the case study and going through all the fantastic benefits and bottom line improvements my client had seen from our work together.

I came to the end of my case study and waited for him to start asking questions.

Nothing.

I waited some more.

Still nothing.

“Let me tell you about some of the other things we did”, I said, and launched into some more examples from the project.

Still no response.

I had absolutely no idea what to do next. The guy was like a stone wall. He showed no emotions. No interest.

“Is there anything you’d like to discuss?” I asked.

“No thank you”.

And that was about it. I can’t remember exactly how we closed out the meeting – it’s a bit of a blur. But I was so embarrassed and uncomfortable I just wanted to get out of there.

Not surprisingly, nothing came of the meeting, and it didn’t result in me instantly becoming a legendary rainmaker.

Now you can probably spot a number of very basic errors I made. As a starter I spent far too much time talking, and not enough time asking questions and listening.

And when he didn’t respond – when he stonewalled me – I was far too passive. After all, he agreed to give up an hour of his time to meet with me – there must have been something on his mind that he thought he could get out of the meeting.

But what I think was at the core of my problems in that meeting was my attitude.

I was far too needy, too desperate to make the sale.

So when there was silence, I felt pressured to fill it.

When the potential client wasn’t cooperating, I didn’t call his bluff. I didn’t want to upset him. I played along instead.

As a result, we didn’t have a peer-to-peer conversation. It was vendor-to-potential customer.

Me trying to please him.

And that’s just not the right tone when you’re trying to establish a trusted advisor relationship. The potential client can feel you’re trying too hard. That you’re desperate to make the sale. And it doesn’t feel right to them – they don’t feel they can trust someone who’s trying to sell them.

Why did I fall into that subservient role?

I put myself under too much pressure to make the sale.

In my case, it was because I wanted to make rapid career progress. I was “on a roll” and I was desperate to make the next leap up. But it backfired.

Today I see the same problem with solo professionals and small businesses who put themselves under far too much pressure in their sales meetings. In their case, the problem is that they need almost every meeting they have to result in a sale. Their pipeline is weak and they have very few sales meetings lined up – so almost every one of them needs to convert.

And it backfires.

As a consultant, coach or other professional, the more you feel you need to make a sale, they less likely you are to exhibit the kind of peer-level trusted advisor behaviours that your clients are actually looking for. And so the less likely you are to make the sale.

It’s why very often when clients ask me how to improve their conversion rate of meetings to sales, my answer is often nothing to do with the sales meetings themselves. It’s to improve their marketing so they’re getting many more meetings with people who are more likely to become clients and so they’re less desperate to sell in each one.

Once they have a steady flow of quality leads and the pressure to sell in each meeting is off, they’re much more likely to have an effective meeting. And paradoxically, they’re much more likely to sell.

Could this apply to you?

Have a look at your numbers. If you find you need to convert a very high percentage (50%+) of your leads to sales in order to hit your targets then the chances are you don’t have enough leads and you’re putting yourself under too much pressure.

Rather than trying to polish your sales techniques and get an ultra-high conversion rate, take a look at how you can generate more high-quality leads.

PS – click here for my short video with a step by step approach to becoming a trusted advisor