This blog will teach you the process we use to close 45% of our sales calls at Growth Tools.
It’s a process we’ve honed over years of practice, hundreds of iterations, and thousands of sales calls. It’s simple, our clients love it, and most importantly, it flat out works.
But fair warning: This post will not include a big list of a million sales tactics or sales closing techniques. There is no “magic bullet” that will increase your sales overnight.
Instead, if you want to close sales consistently, you have to build a successful sales process. The way you talk, the questions you ask, and the order in which you ask them all have a huge impact on how many clients you close.
Building this kind of process will take some time, but you can cut that time down in half — at the least — by implementing what you’re about to read.
Consider this blog the ultimate shortcut to a better sales process and a higher closing rate. We’ll explain:
- ✔ How to predict what your customers will say before they say it.
- ✔ How to make sure your prospects are a good fit before you ever get on a call.
- ✔ How to keep your prospects engaged and excited after they’ve signed up for a sales call.
- ✔ How to run a strategy session so your prospect is pre-sold before you ask them for the sale.
- ✔ The number one mistake new salespeople make on every call.
- ✔ How to ask for the sale and improve your close rate.
We’ll show you how to adapt this process to your own coaching, consulting, or high-ticket course business. The info we’ll cover can be broken down into two basic sections:
- Pre-Call Preparation
We’ll show you how to identify your ideal client, set up a pre-qualification questionnaire, and create a follow-up email and text sequence to keep your prospect engaged.
- The Three-Step Sales Call
You’ll learn how to qualify your prospect on the call, educate them on how to solve their problem, and deliver a killer sales pitch.
Want to make more sales? Keep reading.
Want us to audit your business strategy and help you skyrocket revenue in the next 90 days? Schedule a complimentary strategy session with a certified coach.
Part 1: Start Closing Before the Call
Closing sales calls starts well before you even get on the phone. First, you need to prepare, gather intel on your prospect, and keep them engaged right up until you get on the phone. This gives you a better understanding of where your prospect is coming from and will help you tailor your sales presentation in later steps.
First Things First: Know Your Customer
As you read through this blog post, you’ll probably notice a recurring theme in every section:
You have to know what your customer is going to say before they say it.
When you know what your prospect is thinking, you can address objections before they come up and guide the conversation so it touches on all the most important points for your clients.
If you’re just starting to build out your sales process, defining your ideal prospect is where you should begin. Ideally, you should be able to clearly define your niche, like this:
“I teach suburban families how to grow delicious food in their backyards.”
Just based on that example, you can predict a few things your target audience might ask:
Then, you can come up with answers before the call. You just need to set aside some time to think about your ideal prospect’s questions and concerns.
If you don’t know your niche, check out our other blog post, Niching Down to Grow Your Business: How to Find a Profitable Niche.
Then, take a few minutes to fill out this Best Fit Client Worksheet:
When you’re done, take 30 minutes and write down all the questions you think a prospect could ask. Write down the questions and answers, and refer to them as you build the rest of your process. Don’t overthink this. You can (and should) refine the list of questions as you get more experience with sales. Remember that ongoing adjustments come with the territory. 🙂
Pre-qualification is like a bridge between marketing and sales. It helps you sort through everyone who’s interested in your product to find leads who are a good fit. Here are a few factors to look out for when defining fit:
- Ability to afford your program.
- Desire to complete the program.
- Likeliness to succeed with your help.
- Coachability and responsiveness.
- Personality fit.
- Work ethic.
The questions you ask during pre-qualification will also give you useful information that you can reference during your call.
One of the easiest ways to qualify your customers is to ask them to fill out a questionnaire before the sales call. This can happen right as they sign up, or via a follow-up email or text you send right after their appointment confirmation. Try sending it both ways and see which one results in more calls and sales.
The questionnaire you send should be detailed enough to help make sure you’re talking to people who are a good fit, but simple enough that it won’t turn quality customers away. Somewhere in the neighborhood of five to 10 questions should be just right.
Here are the questions we currently use:
- What is your current monthly revenue? 💵
Here at Growth Tools, we ask for current monthly revenue, but you can change “revenue” to whatever you help your customers improve. If you’re a book writing coach, for example, you could say “How many pages of your book have you written?”
- What is your desired monthly revenue? 💰
Again, we ask about revenue because that’s most relevant to our business, but you can change it up. For example, you could try “What kind of book do you want to write?” or, “Where would you like to be in three months?”
- What do you feel separates you from other business owners who have applied to our program? 🥇
This question helps you to get to know your prospect better and gives you a sense for how motivated they are to join your program. If they answer in depth and put a lot of effort into their answer, they’re more motivated. If they give you nothing or just say, “I don’t know,” that could be a red flag.
- What’s the #1 thing that has held you back from hitting your goals? 🎯
This question helps you tweak your messaging during the call so it feels tailored to the prospect’s individual goals, and it helps you make sure the prospect’s needs are aligned with what you offer in your program.
- Do you consider yourself responsible? 💼
This is a simple yes or no question to get your prospect in the right frame of mind and makes it more likely they’ll show up for the call.
Together, these questions give you a solid base of information to refer to during your call.
It’s especially important to know all about the prospect’s business so you can provide a ton of value during the sales call. In fact, we often refer to our calls as “strategy calls,” because we give away a lot of free advice on each one. The information in this questionnaire helps you tailor your call to the prospect’s needs while making sure they’re a good fit ahead of time. That’s what I call a win-win!
Follow-Up After Sign-Up
After your prospect has filled out the questionnaire, you should still follow up to keep them pumped and engaged until the sales call.
Text or email the prospect, and send success stories, case studies, lessons, or anything else you have that will remind your prospect of the value your product provides.
You can even start off with congratulations and reiterate what will happen next. Try something like this:
“Congrats! You made a great choice signing up to learn more about Amy’s 90-day fitness boot camp. We’ll walk through your goals on the call and figure out a free 7-day fitness and nutrition plan just for you.”
Take that message and adapt it for your own product or service.
In our experience, people usually schedule sales calls about 48 hours in advance, so you only need a handful of other messages for follow up. Start with four:
- Intro and Congratulations
Use the template above. Send immediately after sign-up.
- Case Study
Send your best case study or success story. If you have several, send one that’s most relevant to this prospect. Send this 15 minutes after signup so the prospect has time to read the congratulations message first.
- Relevant Blog or Other Content
Send one of your most popular or relevant blog posts with a short message explaining why the content is valuable. Send this the day before the sales call.
- Reminder for the Sales Call
Just shoot over a quick message reminding the prospect they have a sales call. Send on the day of the call.
Part 2: The Three-Step Sales Call
Once you’ve pre-qualified the prospect and followed up to keep them engaged, you’re ready for the sales call.
The process we recommend for all of our clients can be broken down into three parts:
This process is simple to understand and implement, and most importantly, it works.
The “Qualify” step is your opportunity to pick up where you left off during prequalification.
Start by asking, “Can you tell me why you booked this call today?”
You’ll probably hear the same thing you read in the prequalification questionnaire, but now you can dig deeper.
We’ll follow up with example questions in a moment, but first let’s dive into what you should be looking for during the conversation.
What to Look for During Qualification
As you work through qualification, your primary goal should be to confirm the prospect is a good fit for your company. The exact criteria you use to determine fit will vary a little depending on your industry, but there are a few characteristics that all business owners should look for.
In our experience, here are two of the most common:
#1: Resourcefulness and Dedication
Most coaches and consultants we’ve talked to work best with clients who have at least a few wins under their belt. For example:
- A marketing freelancer will get the best results for a client who’s made enough sales to verify there’s demand for their product.
- A fitness coach will have the most success teaching someone who already has a regular gym habit.
- A book publishing coach will be most helpful to someone who already has a book idea and has written the first chapter.
What’s the pattern here?
These clients have already shown they’ll put in the effort and do what it takes to succeed. They just need a little push or guidance to get to the next level.
Again, this idea works for every business, so look for your own version of the “proof of concept” as you go. Has the prospect at least made some progress on their own? If the answer is yes, that’s a great positive sign.
#2: Strategy Questions
Most people who hire a coach or consultant have tried to fix the problem by themselves but simply can’t get results. Often, they’re stuck in a tactical nightmare, jumping from one tactic to the next, while nothing seems to stick.
This is true for any industry:
- People who want to get in shape will try eight different workouts before they get a trainer.
- Business owners will try every marketing tactic they can think of before hiring a marketing coach.
- Writers will try writing in the morning, noon, and night. Then they’ll hire a writing coach when they don’t make any real progress going solo.
Basically, the ideal coaching or consulting client doesn’t have any problem taking action — they’ve tried a bunch of ideas to try to improve. The problem is that they’re treating their business like a slot machine. They’re just trying random strategies and hoping one lines up, but they can’t tell with any accuracy which one will actually work.
That’s why they’re such good clients for coaching. If you can use your experience and knowledge to set these kinds of people on the right path, they’ll go all-in and get great results.
You know you’re on the right track when you hear phrases like, “I need a guide,” or “I need a coach/plan/strategy.” That’s a good indication that you’ve found someone who will listen and take your advice seriously.
Now let’s jump into some of the questions you can ask to find out if the prospect is a great fit.
We call the first types of questions “intelligence questions” because they help you gather intelligence about your prospect. Most of them are a variant of “Why?” “What?” or “How?” because these kinds of questions help you get to the root of any problem.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Why did you book this call?
- What are you doing that’s working or not working?
- Why do you think you’re having this problem?
- What are you selling?
- What traffic sources are you using?
Let’s walk through an example.
Here’s something we often hear our prospects say at the beginning of a strategy call:
“I’m not making any sales, but I’m always busy.”
Notice that this statement doesn’t explain why the problem is happening. We need more detail if we want to act on the problem.
You could follow up with, “Well, if you had to guess, why would you say you aren’t making any sales?”
The response could go something like this:
“I’m not sure. I’ve tried five different methods, but none of them seem to work.”
That’s still not enough information to work with. Keep asking questions.
Eventually you’ll reach the root of the problem, and as I mentioned previously, the core problem for all coaching, consulting, and high-ticket course customers is that they need a better strategy.
It might take a little while to dig up that information on a call though. Be prepared to ask some kind of “Why?” question at least five times — sometimes even more.
Mindset questions are the second kind of “Why?” questions you’ll ask. Some examples include:
- Why is now the time to do something different?
- Are you ready to stop what you were doing and focus 100% on something different?
- Why did you choose our program?
- What makes you different from anyone else?
In our experience, a great mindset is one of the top success indicators for our clients, so we use these questions to make sure we’re working with motivated, dedicated people.
They also help you preframe your product as something that should be taken seriously and valued highly. When you ask, “What makes you different from anyone else?” you’re implying that your product is in high demand, and you’re getting valuable intel that will help you make sure your product is a great fit.
Then, when the prospect becomes a client, they’ll respect your process, take your product seriously, and get great results. It’s a win-win situation.
Trial closing questions — sometimes called a “soft close” by pro sales reps — are the least common questions you’ll ask, but also some of the most important. They help your prospect picture themselves using your product and committing to your program, even before you ask for the final sale.
- If we walk through a strategy that makes sense for you today, would you be ready to take action when I ask you to onboard?
- Is this a strategy you think will work for you?
- Can you see yourself committing to this process over the next three months?
As your prospect responds positively to these questions, they’ll slowly get in the habit of saying “yes” to your program and committing to your product. This makes them more likely to buy when you ask for the final sale at the end. The questions also help you uncover important objections all throughout the sales call, so you can address them before asking for the sale.
If they say “No,” that’s OK too. Give them the full value strategy call they signed up for. They may change their mind later in the call. And if they decide it’s not for them, that’s fine. Not every prospect is a good fit.
The second phase of the sales call is where you’ll explain your product. The best case scenario is that you have a step-by-step framework you can follow and present to your prospect.
Our rule of thumb during the strategy session is this: It’s impossible to give away too much value.
Your prospect should have your entire system laid out for them by the end of the call. If you feel like you just gave away the farm, you’re on the right track.
Remember, most people who hire a coach or consultant have tried different tactics and strategies before. If they need a coach, they’ll hire you even if they know the entire system. If they’re a good fit, they’ll want an expert’s help, not just another tactic to try.
So explain everything about your product. And use simple language. Make your product clear and easy to understand.
As you talk, remember to trial close and prompt the prospect to visualize themselves using your strategy. For example, you could say something like, “Have you ever considered using the One-Meal-a-Day [OMAD] diet to make healthy eating more simple?” to prompt the client to picture themselves using that diet.
Then if the prospect responds positively, you could follow up with a trial-close a bit later. For example, “Do you think OMAD will work for you?”
Other examples of trial closing and visualization questions include:
- Does this seem like it’s what you’re looking for?
- Would this idea be a good fit for your business?
- Is this a strategy that you’re ready to commit to and double down on?
- Does this system make sense to you?
Alternate between explaining your product and asking questions to keep the prospect engaged. Ask questions like…
- What thoughts do you have?
- Do you see how this could help with [pain they identified]?
- What questions do you have so far?
- Is this making sense?
- Could you see yourself executing this strategy?
The end goal of the session is to make sure your prospect perfectly understands the strategy you’ll be working on together. If the prospect is a great fit, just understanding your strategy will become a “lightbulb moment” where they think, “Wow, that’s exactly what I need. If I just executed on this, I’d be set.”
Not every prospect will lead with, “Wow, that’s exactly what I need,” but pay attention to tone and body language. If someone seems upbeat and excited, that’s obviously a positive indicator.
You should get at least one verbal confirmation that the prospect wants to move forward to help keep them engaged. If the prospect doesn’t offer verbal confirmation, you might have to trial close a couple of times before moving forward.
Ideally, you’d hear at least one confirmation right before moving into the offer so you start off on the right foot. You can even ask, “Would you like to walk through our offer?” to help smooth the transition.
The offer is where the rubber meets the road during the sales process. Now, instead of just asking questions and explaining your product, you have to push your prospect to do something they’ve never done before.
Because you want to help your prospect get a result they’ve never experienced before.
In our experience, coaching clients are often in a weird state of mind when they look for help: They want to change, but they’re stuck in their comfort zone and can’t seem to get moving. They’ve become used to their current situation and often need a little bit of wake up call.
That means you have to snap them out of it.
This doesn’t mean you need to be rude or pushy.
You just have to be very clear that you’re asking your prospect for a commitment. Don’t shy away from asking for the sale.
If you get a no, at least your prospect has made a decision and can move forward. If they say yes, then you can be a part of that future. Either way, the prospect makes progress.
With that said, here’s how you actually walk through your offer:
First, explain exactly what you’ll do with the prospect when they sign up. You already reviewed your strategy and tactics. Now, you’re explaining what your product experience looks and feels like.
For example, maybe you previously explained that you recommend the OMAD diet and three workouts per week. Now, you explain that if the client works with you, you’ll provide:
- Seven customized meal plans per week.
- A shopping list to use over the next week.
- Two workout plans for solo workouts.
- Two video reviews of workouts to correct form or adjust sets and reps per week.
- One personal, one-on-one training session every two weeks.
Explain your product. Get detailed. Then go for the ask.
If you’ve used the trial closing strategy correctly throughout the sales call, you’re set up perfectly for a closing technique we like to call an “assumptive close.” Here’s how it works:
You present the product, answer any questions, then say “The program will cost $2500. You can take care of that with Visa or Mastercard. Which is better for you?”
If this method seems very straightforward, that’s because it is. Most new or junior salespeople we talk to don’t get as many sales as they could because they simply don’t ask for the sale.
That being said, this close method works because you’ve provided a lot of value and at least have a sense that the client is a good fit before you ask. It’s not a standard “hard close” because — as some salespeople would say — you’ve “earned the right” to ask for the sale. Now you just have to lay out the pricing and ask for the close.
Don’t get comfortable and take the easy way out by asking questions like:
- What do you think?
- How do you feel about that?
- What do you want to do?
- What do you like about the program?
These questions are too vague to create a sense of urgency or prompt real action. You have to ask for the sale to get the sale. Period.
You’ll probably get some objections or questions the first time you try to seal the deal. When that happens, use a process we call:
“Ask; resolve; ask.”
Ask for the sale, resolve the objection, and ask again.
For example, we often get questions about support. Clients will ask:
- How much coaching will I get again?
- Do I get one-on-one calls?
- How long does the program last?
Simply answer the question, reassure the prospect that signing up will be a smart move, and ask again. For example, you might respond:
“You’ll get on-demand coaching calls and two group calls per week. You’re going to love it! Does Visa or Mastercard work better?”
This might feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but once you’ve closed a couple of new customers like this and helped them get amazing results, you’ll be so glad you just went for the ask. Remember, your prospect is stuck. You need to push them out of the rut. If your product can help, that means you should ask them to buy it.
You Need Two Things: A Script and Feedback
If you want to close more sales, you need two things:
- A proven sales script or process.
- A feedback mechanism to help you get better.
This blog is giving you the first part. Here’s your new six-part sales process:
Before the call:
- Identify your ideal client.
- Pre-qualify each lead using a questionnaire.
- Keep in touch until the call.
During the call:
- Qualify by asking penetrating questions.
- Outline a full strategy for your client to take away and implement.
- Explain your offer and ask for the sale.
Now you just need a feedback mechanism to get better. You have two options:
- Do it yourself.
Record your sales calls, review them regularly, and find ways to tweak your process and improve. Get outside feedback from a peer or a Facebook group or other free community. There will be some trial and error involved, but you’ll definitely succeed if you persevere.
- Hire a coach.
Here at Growth Tools, we’ve coached dozens of coaches and consultants from zero to sales hero. We’ll answer your questions, give you critical feedback, and connect you with motivated peers in the same situation.
We’ve helped coaches and consultants grow their business for years now, and we’ve found no better way to exponentially grow your business than to hire a coach.
Now that you’ve read this blog post, you have the resources you need to succeed. What will you do?
Want us to audit your business strategy and help you skyrocket revenue in the next 90 days? Schedule a complimentary strategy session with a certified coach.