That's right, my friend, we are talking about all things consult calls, or as I like to call them connection calls. And I'll tell you why I call them that in a bit. But the consult call that you conduct is an integral part of your sales process. It's during this call that you have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with a potential client, to learn about them, to discuss what you have to offer, and to explore whether the next best step for both of you is to work together. Now, if you missed that entire last sentence because the moment you heard the word sales, you went on high alert, you are not alone. I know that sales is a activating topic for a lot of coaches out there. And that's understandable. Most of us go into coaching because we love coaching. We love supporting our clients, we love being a part of their growth. But all of the stuff that comes with operating a business, like marketing and sales, that can feel very foreign and very scary. So if that's how you feel about sales, don't worry, my friend, I got you. Today we're going to go deep into what it takes to have a really strong call with someone you want to work with. And we're going to demystify the sales process a bit. Now, this is something we talk about quite a bit within the Coach with Clarity Membership. And as I've mentioned, in the last few episodes, the membership will be reopening very, very soon. We have a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes to make it an even better experience for current and new members. And if you listened to last week's episode, you know that I am changing up how the membership will operate in the future. We are moving away from monthly, quarterly, and annual payments and we are moving to an unlimited access model. Which means you will pay one rate and you will have unlimited access to the membership for as long as the membership is around. And let me tell you, I plan on the membership being around for quite a while. And within the membership, we spend a lot of time talking about marketing and sales. How to find potential clients, and then how to take those clients from potential to paying. And one of the resources I have in the membership is my guide to conducting a powerful connection call. It is within the Coach with Clarity Toolkit, where we have dozens of guides, and trainings, and templates and things to support you in your coaching practice and your coaching business. And so this guide to your perfect connection call is one of them. And I'm going to walk you through some of the fundamentals that I explore in that guide and that I explore with our members during today's episode. So if you are ready to learn how to conduct a sales call, or a consult call, in a way that feels good, in a way that honors your clients autonomy, and that honors your integrity, then my friend you are in the right place because that is exactly what we are going to explore today. Now there are a number of different ways we can describe this call. Some people call it a sales call. Some people call it a discovery call, others call it a consult. I prefer to call it a connection call. Because I believe that places the focus exactly where I want it, which is on connecting with the other person, or people, on the call. Everything we do in business is built on relationships. And we have to take time to develop and nurture relationships and to build trust. And so this call that you're conducting is a crucial step in your sales process because it is an opportunity for you to establish that relationship and build trust. And so my focus and every single call that I do is on connecting with the other person, taking the time to understand what it is they want, what it is they need, what they're currently experiencing, and how potentially I might be able to support them either through one-on-one coaching or through one of my programs. And I call it a connection call because I want to make sure my focus is on connecting with the client. And hopefully it also sends the message to my client that that's my interest too. I really want to connect with them, I want to get to know them, because that will help both of us figure out whether what I have to offer is the right fit for them. Now, I have been doing sales calls, or connection calls, since I started my business over six years ago. So the idea of conducting a sales call is probably something that you're familiar with, it shouldn't be a new concept. But how you conduct this type of call, well, there are a lot of opinions out there about that. When I first started out six years ago, I was listening to all of the entrepreneurial podcasts and reading all of the blogs. And there was some pretty crappy advice out there that I was tempted to follow. But I didn't because deep down in my gut, I knew this was not how I wanted to show up. And I know some of you are probably familiar with what I'm talking about. It's those pressure sales tactics that encourage you not even encouraged, they kind of back you into a corner so that you have to make a quick decision on the spot. One of the people I was following at the time went so far as to suggest that you get the credit card number on the call in order to secure the client. Now, we can talk about why sometimes it's hard to talk about money and prices and rates, and we will. But this is something entirely different. This to me is borderline bullying your client into making a decision before they're ready, making a decision before they've had time to weigh their options, or to consult with any other stakeholders, whether it's a partner or a spouse, or a business partner, or a boss. It just doesn't feel good to rush this process. So when I hear about people that are aiming to close the sale on the call, and get the credit card number, and let them know that if they don't book now the rate is going to go up, that is just those high pressure scarcity tactics that I don't want to operate from. It doesn't feel good when I'm on the receiving end of that. So why on earth would I want to be on the business end of that? So when we talk about sales calls or connection calls today, I promise you that we are not going to be coming from a place of scarcity, or needing to push a sense of urgency in order to ensure that our client books with us. Can you imagine what that coaching relationship would be like if we did? If our first engagement with the client was based on scarcity and urgency? To me, that sets an energetic tone that I do not want present, well, in any of my relationships, but especially with my clients. When someone's working with me, I view this as a sacred contract. The work that we are doing together is powerful stuff. And yes, it's often about business. And typically, it's about building a coaching business. But in doing that we do a lot of deeper work. I know for me, I was not expecting my entrepreneurial journey to be one of personal development and self actualization. And yet, that's exactly what it has been. Starting my own business and entering into the entrepreneurial landscape has been an invitation for me to grow and uplevel in ways that I didn't predict when I first decided to go into business for myself. And I know that many of my clients will be experiencing the same thing. So even within our coaching relationship, we will be doing a lot of personal exploration, so that we can decide how we want that to inform their business practices and their coaching approaches. So if we're going to do that kind of deep sacred work, then we are not going to start from a place of scarcity. When I conduct these connection calls, my intent is to ensure that the pace is not rushed, that there is plenty of time for reflection and questions. And I never force a sale on that call. Now if my client is ready, if they're ready to book, if they want to move forward, then we can talk about that. But most of my clients aren't most of them need a little time to weigh their decisions. And again, maybe speak to someone else who has some sort of decision making authority in the matter. And so I want to create a process that allows them to do so. And we'll talk a little bit more about that in just a bit. But in summary, just know that when I am talking about a connection call today, it's another way of describing a sales call or a consult call. And it is an opportunity for your potential client to learn about you, for you to learn about them, to ask questions and to get to know each other, and then together, determine your next steps and to figure out what is going to serve your client best, and what is going to serve your business too. So there are a few components of a successful connection call that I want to share with you today. Number one, the very first thing we need to do in any connection call is to set our expectations for the call. So when I get on a call with a prospective client, we might have a minute or two of chit chat and warm up. And then I take over and I describe how the call is going to go. So I let them know exactly what they can expect. And that way, they don't have to worry about me pushing for the hard sale at the end. I'm upfront from the beginning, and I let them know, we're going to start off with me asking a few questions to get an idea of what it is you'd like to achieve in coaching, and why you've booked this call today. After I get a sense of where you're at, then if you'd like, I can talk a little bit more about the work that I do and my approach to coaching. You'll have an opportunity to ask questions. And then together we can decide, do we get a sense that we would be a good fit for each other, and do we want to talk about next steps. There are a few reasons I take time at the beginning of the call to outline what is going to happen next. Number one, it reduces my potential clients anxiety, because they know what's coming. They know what to expect. Sometimes clients can feel very activated or anxious on a sales call. Because just as it's uncomfortable, sometimes for coaches to talk about money, it's also uncomfortable for clients as well, especially if they don't have some idea of what your rates are going into the call. So if they're feeling nervous, or flustered, letting them know what's coming, setting the tone, setting the expectations, and doing so in a way that's calm and not rushed, can really do a lot to just take that anxiety level down a bit. So that's one reason why I set expectations at the start. The other is because I want to make it clear what the purpose of today's call is, which is to get to know each other, and to decide if we want to work together. A connection call is not a coaching call. This is not an opportunity for my client to get coaching from me, it's not an opportunity for them to pick my brain. This is a getting to know you call to decide if we want to explore working together. And it is just as much a call for you to determine whether this person is a good fit for your business, as it is for them to determine whether you're the coach they want to work with. So it goes both ways. And that's why setting expectations up front is so important, because you do not want this call to devolve into free coaching. Now, I know that many coaches out there will do a complimentary coaching session as part of their sales process. I've done that, in fact, that's what I did my first year or two in business, it can be a very effective strategy. So I'm not telling you not to offer a complimentary coaching session or not to do pro-bono coaching. But what I am suggesting is that a connection call is not the time or place to do it. If you're going to have a complimentary coaching session, then call it that and set the expectation around what type of coaching experience your potential client can expect during that call. But during a connection call, there's not time for coaching, it's time for getting to know each other and deciding what the next steps are. So we want to talk about how long we'll be meeting. And generally, my connection calls are 20 to 30 minutes, I booked them for 20. But I leave some space after so that if we run long, and if it goes to 30 minutes, that's not going to be a problem for my calendar. I typically try not to go over 30 minutes, because if and when we do, that's when I find sometimes the conversation can go outside the scope of what we've decided. So keeping a pretty strict parameter around your time, honors your client and it honors yourself. At every stage, I want to make sure that I am gaining my potential clients consent and that they agree to what we're doing. So again, that's why I explained at the outset what they can expect during the call. I asked them how does this sound and at every stage I'm checking in with them. So that's how I open a connection call, a little bit of chitchat, a little bit of warming up, and then I give them the high level overview of how the call is going to run. Once we're both on the same page and in agreement, then we get into the heart of the call. Now, one mistake I see a lot of coaches make is that they go right into what they do, what they offer, what it looks like to work with them, and so forth. And so they really make it all about the coach, and the spotlight is on them and their services. Now, there is a time for that during this call, but it is not at the outset. Before we start talking about you and your services, we want to get to know your client. We want to make sure that this call is client centered. And so we're going to get curious about who they are, what they're experiencing, and why they're interested in coaching. So I will typically ask two to three questions to assess what's going on in this client's world, what their life looks like now, and why we are on the call today. I'm certainly interested in knowing why they booked the call. And I will generally start with that kind of question, “Tell me what prompted you to book a call with me today?”, and then I'll let the client talk. I may ask a clarifying question or two if they share something, and I'd like more information about it. But generally speaking, I let them just kind of give me the down low on what's going on in their business, and in their life, and what prompted them to book the call today. Once I have an idea about that, my next question is generally about what results they hope to achieve. And so now we're moving from present to future. And I'm getting a better idea of what their goals are, what they desire, and what it is they want that they don't currently have. Because if they already had it, they probably wouldn't be booking a call with me. So that is step two, after I get the lay of the land, then I'm asking them to get really clear on what it is they want for their future. And then depending on how the conversation goes, I may ask a third question, which narrows the focus on coaching. And I'll ask a question like, “What are you looking for in a coaching relationship?”, or, “What would a really positive outcome look like if you were to work with a coach?”. So I'm trying to gauge their familiarity with coaching, and what their expectations are of a coach, and then I may kind of ask them, what are some of the things you're looking for in a coach? Now that question helps me determine whether we are the right fit for each other. Because if they're looking for a coach that operates from a different philosophy, or from a different energetic perspective than I do, then I know right away, this is not a good fit for my practice. And so my role now is not to go into everything I offer. But it might be more to talk about what I think they're looking for, and whether I can help them find a coach that would be a better fit. So that's why it's so important to gauge where they're at, what they want, and what they're looking for in a coach right from the beginning. Because then you get to decide whether you're even going to offer the opportunity to work with you. But let's, for the purposes of today's podcast episode, assume that you've asked these questions, you're getting a great vibe, and you get the sense, yeah, we could work together really well. So after you've asked these questions, it's always a good idea to pause before you shift into the next phase. Again, we want to ensure that our client is still engaged with us that they consent to this call. And so just taking a pause to thank them for all of that information. And to ask permission to talk a little bit about yourself and the work that you do. Now, odds are the client is going to say yes, after all, they did book the call with you. But again, it is always wise to get consent before you go into your sales process. Because that's what you're doing in the next phase of the call. You now have the opportunity to talk about the work that you could do with this client. So I think it's helpful to describe your overall coaching approach. I think it's helpful if you've got any sort of process that you follow, we definitely want to bring that in. And we want to personalize it. So you can talk about the specific work you could potentially do with this client based on what they've already shared with you. So instead of doing a generic sales pitch, you're really focusing in on what your client wants, and you're talking about how your coaching approach and your work can support them in that effort. So we are making it highly personalized and highly individualized to that client. So when I'm conducting a call, I will talk about a couple options that I have in terms of what it looks like to work with me. Whether that is a shorter term arrangement, a longer term arrangement, a VIP day, I'll kind of walk through the options. And again, using that clients specific needs I'll talk about here are some of the things we could work on together within a VIP day, or within a three month package, or a six month package. As I'm talking about that, and I'm giving them specific examples of what it looks like, I am also talking about pricing. Now this is the part where people tend to get a little nervous because we're talking about money. And I know that can be uncomfortable. But you are running a business, a business generates revenue. And how do we generate revenue? By having clients pay us, and our clients need to know what our rates are. So the best thing to do is after you talk about a specific offer, and its benefits, and what it would look like to work together, you simply state your rate clearly and concisely. It's simply a data point. It's a factual statement. And so if we can detach any of the high emotion or anxiety around it, and just present it as a neutral fact, then the client can receive it, and they can use it as a data point in their decision. That's all it is. I'm really about bringing a sense of neutrality to pricing and rates. Because when we do that, we also model that behavior for our client. Now, we could have a whole nother episode on money mindset. And in fact, that might be a really fun episode to do. So I'm going to write that down on my list of future podcast episodes. But for now, just know that when it comes to your sales call, sharing your rate, succinctly, one sentence, after you've talked about your offer, is the strongest way to go. So after you've talked about what it is you offer, what it looks like to work together, and what your rates are, then we want to put the spotlight back on the client and give them time to ask any questions or seek any additional information. Once they've had all of their questions answered, then it's time to make a decision together about whether you want to continue exploring working together. Now you are going to get one of three answers from your client. One answer is going to be no, or and hopefully no thank you. At which point, you can thank them for their time and end the call. Another answer might be yes. Okay, this sounds great. Let's do it. And this is a great answer. But don't rush the process, make sure that they are in a position where they can commit, you may want to offer them the opportunity to sleep on it or in the event they want to talk it through with someone. But don't feel like you have to rush into the commitment process of this too quickly. Again, we want to create space. And we want to create ample time for the client to reflect and feel really, really good about moving forward. I've heard Rich Litvin, who is a very well known coach and co-author of the book, “The Prosperous Coach”, I've heard Rich Litvin talk about “testing the yes”. And while I'm not in love with that phrasing, I absolutely agree with the underlying meaning, which is, we want to make sure that the client really is a yes. We want to make sure that they're prepared to make that commitment and they're not just rushing into it. Whether maybe they're carried away by excitement, maybe they're feeling a little anxious, and they're trying to avoid it by just cutting to the chase. Whatever it is, we want to create some space for reflection so that everyone feels good about moving forward. So we know that a client might say no, we know that a client might say yes. And we know some clients are going to say maybe. They're going to say, “I'm really interested, I need to think about it”. Now this is the point at which those entrepreneurial gurus that I was listening to six years ago, when I started my business would say, “Don't let them hang up the call as a maybe. You want a yes or you want a no, go for the yes”. I'll tell you what, I am absolutely fine with ending a call with a client saying maybe as long as we have a process in place to come to a decision, yes or no, in the near future. So if a client says, “You know, I'm, I'm not sure I'm interested, but I need to think about it”. This is a great time to get curious and ask any questions that might help you both understand what it is that's keeping the client from saying yes. And then If the client says, “I still need to think about this, or I'd like to talk to my spouse or my business partner about this”, our answer is great. That is a wonderful idea. Why don't we schedule a follow up call for two to three days from now. And we can revisit this. And so over the next two or three days, think about it, talk to your partner, then let's come back. And we'll decide whether we both want to do this or whether now's not the right time. So if you have a client who needs to think about it, make sure you get a follow up appointment on the calendar before you hang up the call. So again, we're not pressuring them to say yes, today. But leaving a nebulous maybe out there doesn't serve anyone, it leaves both you and the client in this state of not knowing where we're headed next. And so when we have a defined end point on that, it actually reduces the anxiety for everyone involved. So if your client is a maybe, and they need time to think about it, let’s respect their process, but let's also make sure that we have a concrete date for follow up on the calendar. And that's it, I have just walked you through my process for conducting a powerful connection call. And hopefully, your key takeaways are that it really is centered on connecting with the client, prioritizing their needs, getting to know them, and then positioning yourself as someone who could potentially support them, if you get the sense that it would be a good fit. From there, we're able to talk about what that looks like, what the financial and energetic investments are, and whether this is something we want to pursue. And you know how to handle it if your client says no, yes, or maybe. We have covered a lot today. So I think it's time for this week's Clarity in Action moment.
For this week's Clarity in Action moment, I'm going to invite you to pull out your laptop, or your notebook and a pen, or your Good Notes app on your tablet. And I want you to start outlining your process for your connection call. So I want you to imagine that you've got an upcoming connection call with a client that you really want to work with. And in preparation for that call, you are going to create an outline of how you want the call to flow, what questions you want to ask, and overall what you want the structure to look like. This document is going to become the basis for all of your future connection calls. Now it's not carved in stone, you can certainly tweak it as you conduct more calls and you get more comfortable with the process. But I want you to have an outline in front of you that you can reference. Number one, that will help your calls go so much more smoothly. And number two, it's going to reduce any nerves or jitters you have around conducting the call because you know what comes next. So you are working on a rough draft of an outline for your connection calls. And of course, if you are a Coach with Clarity Member, you can access the guide all about conducting a coaching call within the Toolkit. And if you are not a member, I highly recommend you head on over to CoachwithClarity.com/membership and get yourself on the waitlist. We will be reopening the membership for new members in just a few weeks. But I will be reaching out to everyone on the waitlist first. And I can pretty much guarantee that there's going to be a special bonus or two just for people who are on the waitlist. I believe in rewarding patience. And so if you've been on this waitlist and you've been waiting patiently, then I've got something special planned for you. So if you are considering joining the Coach with Clarity Membership, trust me you want to be on the waitlist. So again, just head on over to coachwithclarity.com/membership and you'll see the button to get on the waitlist right at the very top right corner. And as you scroll you'll see buttons throughout the page as well. Go ahead and sign up and you can expect to hear from me very very soon. That is it for this week's episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. I so hope that you find it helpful, and I would love to hear your thoughts about what an authentic integrity based sales process looks like for you. You can come find me over on Instagram @CoachwithClarity feel free to send me a DM. And let me know your thoughts about today's episode and conducting connection calls. I really can't wait to hear what you think. I will be right back in your feed next week with a brand new episode, so be sure that you have either followed or subscribed to this podcast wherever you listen to your shows. That way next week's episode will be right there waiting for you in your feed when it drops every Monday. So until then my friend my name is Lee Chaix McDonough, reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.