Six years ago, I met a guy named Matthew Kimberley—that was my first mistake.
I KID, I KID.
Matthew’s a fantastic friend (and someone I admire very much as one of the foremost expert sales trainers in the world, that bastard) and I have the privilege of hosting him here in London this week while he does a photoshoot with Heidi and drinks way too much red wine with me. (My job is very difficult, as you might imagine.)
Yesterday, I even connived him into accompanying me on live video to teach my Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends how to control the sales conversation—because, jesus mary and spinach, getting on the phone with a prospect is one of THE most nerve-wracking things of all the things, am I right? Everyone’s nervous about this, and everyone’s fairly shit at this, and it’s one of the questions I get asked the most.
Matthew dropped tons of knowledge bombs, but one of the most important things he taught on?
“Here’s the way we do things around here.”
Most of the time, you’re going to be so grateful that you’ve even got a shot at the business, that you’ll practically beg them to give you the work. You’ll be very pleasant and agreeable, and you’ll say things like, “whatever you think is best” and “I’m happy to work within your budget” and “let me know when you get a chance.” You’ll nod politely and you’ll take notes and you’ll go back and create a proposal, and then IT HAPPENS: radio silence. You hear nothing, and the whole thing falls apart, and the next thing you know you’re blaming it entirely on yourself and diving face first into a hot, cheesy pizza pie.
Lack of control.
It’s critical to have professional control over the process, and tell the prospect what’s going to happen first, second and third. To show up as an expert, rather than an extra body. To list for them exactly what they’ll need to do in order to work with you. To ask them, directly, if they can afford it, and whether or not they can commit to giving you a firm answer by Tuesday. And to essentially say, “Here’s the way we work around here.” Clients want to feel like you’re in control—it helps them feel confident that you know what you’re doing and giving you their money is a good idea. And guess what? The shift in authority doesn’t just help you close more deals—it also helps a client trust your opinions and your work product.
As Matthew said (and I love this):
When you go into a bank and need something from them, they’re going to tell you: Right, come on over here, fill this out, here’s the application process, here’s how much it costs, and here’s the way we do things around here.
And the same goes for you.
Having a great sales conversation isn’t about selling. Like most things in business, it’s about leading.