Many clients who come to me, in addition to wanting to sign more business, also want to sign larger contracts.
The problem is they miss opportunities for the bigger play.
Last week, I observed a sales call between one of my clients and a new lead. She had 30 minutes with an executive from a well-known snack food brand to discuss leading an unconscious bias training for managers. Needless to say, this was an important sales call for my client.
Because she’s my client, she already knew how to handle a call with a potential client — lean into curiosity, asking as many questions as possible to uncover the client’s true pain points and deep desires before pitching any ideas.
One of the techniques I teach to do this is called “peeling the onion.” It allows us to go deeper with clients — not just taking their statements at face value. Because when we get to the heart of the matter with our potential clients, we can position ourselves and our offers in more powerful ways.
By and large, my client did an excellent job on this call. However, she missed one crucial opportunity that could have shifted the conversation from a one-off training to a potentially larger partnership…
The potential client said, “I’m committed to changing this company.” I couldn’t wait for my client to peel the onion and discover more about this bold statement!
But she didn’t.
Instead, she said, “That’s great. So tell me more about why you’re considering unconscious bias training.”
Can you see the opportunity she missed?
This executive is thinking big. She has big goals. She has a vision. She stated that she wanted to change the whole company — and yet, my client didn’t follow up to see what that meant.
What may have happened if she peeled the onion? What if she had said, “Wow, that sounds exciting — tell me more about that?”
Had she dug deeper, she may have discovered even more ways — bigger ways! — to work together. And, at the very least, she would have been meeting the client where she was at, and that is always the right strategy.
In debriefing this call with my client, she shared that she felt nervous on the call and thought the jitters kept her from being fully present.
To that I said: “OF COURSE!” She was on a call with an executive from an ideal client company — even I felt nervous, and it wasn’t even my call!
Let’s get real — we’re not going to be perfect on sales calls. We get excited. We get nervous. In these pandemic times, Zoom crashes, kids bust into the room. All of these things can arrest our attention, making it more difficult to stay present and listen deeply for those key cues…
How can you set yourself up to be present and listen even more deeply on your next sales call?