Sales is an interesting and sometimes scary topic.
It’s one of those words that is so loaded with preconceived ideas of what it means. It conjures images of sleazy, slimy, slick-talking salesmen trying to convince you to part with your money for something you probably don’t want or need.
So when we want to sell our products, how can we differentiate ourselves from this image? How can we genuinely offer our clients the best product to solve their problems and get paid what the service is worth?
Nick Gulic shows you how to run sales meetings that position you as the expert in this webinar, empowering you to charge the premium rates your service deserves.
By the end, you too will have a solid outline of how to run your meetings, and a better understanding of how to generate better results for yourself, today!
Sell by helping
Over the last decade, Nick has built up this sales meeting framework. It has resulted in securing more clients, allowing him to charge higher rates, and most importantly to work with people who respect him and his skills.
So, who is Nick?
Nick describes himself as a “semi-normal dude” who is also a website development agency owner, consultant, and sales teacher.
Sales is an interesting and sometimes scary topic. It is one of those words loaded with so many preconceived ideas of what it actually means.
Those ideas tend to be sleazy, slimy, slick-talking salesmen trying to convince you to part with your money for something you probably don’t want or need.
Even if this isn’t realistic, the idea tends to stick around when conducting sales meetings.
When we need to sell our services, it feels very pressured. Like you need to convince the other person to buy your stuff. There is almost a “requirement” for you to be smooth, charismatic, and good at persuading.
This approach works for many people, but not for more introverted people like Nick, and realistically most other web developers. After all, not everyone is a character from Wolf Of Wall Street!
Nick went from being an accountant for six years to selling accounting products in a new job with no experience even remotely related to sales.
Inevitably, the first meetings brought with them a tonne of nerves that resulted in him rambling and forgetting important parts of each pitch. Often, he would end up agreeing to whatever the client wanted and still couldn’t secure a single sale.
Then one fateful day, the sales “mentor” didn’t come in, and so Nick was left entirely to his own devices. Already seeking out alternative employment and knowing he would be leaving anyway, Nick went into the next meeting with nothing to lose.
Now, with no pressure to actually sell anything, his relaxed demeanor resulted in both himself and his clients opening up. They explained the problems they were facing in accounting, and for the first time, Nick could put his experience in accounting to good use.
Sure enough, he closed the sale. And another sale the very next day too!
This learning represented a major shift in mentality:
“If you don’t have a system to sell, you’ll be at the mercy of your prospects’ system to buy.”
If you’re not controlling a meeting and steering it in a way that works for you, you’ll be relying on your client to be directing the pitch. Surprise, surprise, this isn’t going to work in your favor.
Unfortunately, this is how many web designers end up running their sales meetings. That, or the systems they are using, require them to be someone they’re not, which doesn’t work for them.
The result is that you default to the same mistakes:
- Doing all the talking
- Saying yes to anything
- Becoming desperate
If your current system follows this trajectory, then you can say goodbye to premium pricing. Why? Because the market will always dictate the price, based on whatever the competition charges.
If you win the client, they will most likely not respect you as an expert. You will be seen as merely an extra set of puppet hands. Plus, if anything goes wrong, you’re to blame!
Rather than letting a prospect lead, we can follow a process that ensures they realize how awesome you are.
The right sales framework
For us non-Wolf of Wallstreet types, success in sales is achieved by adopting the right sales framework. With this, you will be able to position yourself as a consultant, provide actual solutions to problems and unpack the value of what you do.
The right framework results in an increase in your rates and fees and ensures you work with people who respect you as an expert.
The trick is switching your mindset.
This is probably the most important and hardest thing to get right!
Stop trying to convince people to buy your stuff. You are there to help them find a solution to their problem.
When your client sees you as the person who will solve their problem, they stop seeing you as some freelancer who’s there to just follow orders. They see you as the expert. You’re there to help them achieve something that matters, and THAT is worth a lot more to the client than a new site, some SEO, copywriting, etc.
Nick’s framework takes the form of three distinct phases:
- Understanding the client, the problem, and their objectives. Just listen!
- Education on the reality of their problem, why they failed at fixing it previously, and the solution.
- Closing by explaining how you’ll fix the problem and the next steps.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
The meeting has started, and the greetings are out of the way. Now, to business!
There are three key things to understand:
- Their current situation
- The problem and the impact
- Their objectives and why they reached out in the first place.
You want to take control of the meeting by asking permission to do it. This can be as simple as saying, “to be able to see what we can do for you, I’ll need to ask some questions. Is that ok?”
Don’t play the commodity game. If you ‘win’ that game, you’re really losing. Instead, ask about them, and get them to open up.
People often don’t get many chances to talk about their business and have people actually listen. Your client will most likely relish this opportunity you’re giving them. This way, they also get comfortable, and you get the information you need to start understanding the problem.
Now the problem. What’s going wrong? Why is it a problem now?
Keep asking, and you will find the impact of the problem. So if they are looking for more leads, how many leads is that? How many are they getting now? How many do they need to make a sale? What is a sale actually worth? Why is this a problem now?
Without understanding the problem and its impact, you won’t yet know if it’s something you can fix or whether it is something worth fixing.
Remember, nobody actually wants a website. They want what a website gives them. Likewise, nobody wants SEO. They want the benefits of it.
You need to know if your service will actually solve the problem.
Finally, check if you have understood everything.
First, understand why the current system isn’t working by identifying the specific industry and client types.
Then you can educate your client on the real problem they are facing and why previous solutions failed.
When you go through this process, it’s a lightbulb moment. These moments are a currency for you!
Don’t forget, you are the expert.
In explaining why previous solutions failed, you will prove that you know enough to not make the same mistakes. You don’t need to be an industry leader to educate a client. You just need to know more than they do.
Don’t lecture, teach. You can do this by striking a balance between providing them with just enough information. This positions you as an authority in your space.
You can explain things in their language to instill confidence that you can solve their problem.
Recommendations (a bonus section)
You want to recommend more than just the core service. You’ll support your recommendation by linking back to the reasons their previous solution failed.
You’re the expert. Don’t ask what they want. Explain what they need to attract their target audience.
You’re not saying they just need a website. You’re saying they need a specific website to solve a particular problem. And that’s why we’re here, to solve problems. Solving the problem is the part that is worth money!
(That’s what we figured out in the first part.)
This isn’t an ABC (Always Be Closing) scenario. It’s just closing the meeting.
Up until now, everything has been about the lead, so we need to now bring ourselves into the equation. This includes your logistics, fees, and objection handling.
So what are the next steps?
Explain your unique process and how much it will cost. Go through all of the steps and why they are relevant. After all, this is the specific process that you know delivers results.
The more unique and in-depth your process is, the more you can set yourself apart from competitors.
Let them know how much they’ll need to invest to achieve those results and always give the price in the meeting—at least a ballpark figure—because sometimes, when you reveal the price later, you can get pushback.
If you have gone through the entire process and explained the benefits, the price won’t seem as big.
If they do push back, that’s alright! We can then move on to the next stage, objection handling.
Remove any excuses not to buy. Make sure you’ve covered everything before moving on. If they say they were expecting a lower amount that doesn’t mean they don’t want to do business with you.
So what do you do? Do not lower your price!!
Handle the objection by asking why they think it is expensive, what they expected it to be, and why?
Comparing you to a previous “solution” (that didn’t work) is even easier. The main reason you are talking is that the previous solution was flawed. Therefore you would expect the working solution to require more investment.
If you have done the hard work in the meeting, they will understand that you are very well positioned to fix the problem and will most likely want to work with you!
Their brain is wired to avoid risk, and it’s thinking of the worst-case scenarios, meaning that your job now is to satisfy that part of their brain and handle any issues they raise.
Take away any and all excuses they have not to go ahead until they have none left.
Now you can explain what happens next by laying out each of the next steps with a proposal, fee structure and timetable, and the next steps (which need to be super easy).
Don’t make it difficult for them to work for you.
Make it EASY to move forward!
Set yourself up for success
If you take the time to educate your clients, you’ll stand out from your competition, and you can charge a lot more because you are no longer just a commodity.
You’re an expert, an authority solving a problem and guiding them through a transformation.
And if you cannot provide the solution, you’re much better off telling them they don’t need you and pointing them in the right direction.
If you force a sale that isn’t needed, you’re no better than any other sleazy salesperson.
You’re here to help, so point them in the right direction.
Helping is the most important thing you can do because it helps your reputation, and that extra bit of good karma can’t hurt!
The final tip is to smile before walking into a meeting or even answering the phone. Smiling changes your energy and puts you in the right mindset. You can have much more pleasant conversations with people who maybe weren’t intending on being nice in the first place.
If you want to get to know Nick on a personal level, why not join us in the GoWP Digital Agency Owners community, where he is an active member. You can also watch the recording of his webinar with GoWP. Or head over to his website and check out some of his epic cameo film appearances.