By Mark Creedon
Convert — 3 Foundational parts of doing business
This week we’re going to keep the conversation about the second stage of business. To quickly recap, you may remember the three foundational parts of doing business:
Attract, convert, and deliver
All these parts are important both to your internal and external operations. Whether you’re looking to convert sales leads or attract top-quality referral partners, the principles we’re going to cover here are broadly applicable. Remember, these parts must come in the right order – there’s no sense in snagging your dream client if you have no clue how you can deliver what you promised them.
If you missed the last article on Convert (Part 1), check it out right here.
Let’s think back for a moment about the nine-step process we covered in Part 1.
To have a successful pitch, you need to first understand the structure of how that pitch is going to go, you need to be able to hold control over the conversation, and finally, you need to be able to stretch the gap that shows your prospects how you can fill a gap in their life.
In Part 1, our focus was on you being in control of that conversation. This week, we’re going to talk about how to give up that control for a moment and then reel it back in.
Giving Up Control
When you’re sitting down to have that business chat, there’s no doubt that you want to feel confident. You want to hold control over how the conversation moves alone, and this will ultimately help you establish your authority while building a rapport with the person you’re chatting to.
Now there comes a moment in every business chat where you need to be able to let go of the reigns a little bit and hand that control over to the person you think may become a potential client.
So, how do you do this?
Start by checking in for value
By checking in with the person you’re chatting to, you give them the opportunity to take that control over for a bit. This can come in many different ways, but a simple approach to start off with might look something like this:
Hey, what’s been the most valuable part of this conversation for you?
This is a great chance for you to get some insight from them, feel them out, and then repeat it back to them to show that you’re actively listening and that you value the chat. This might sound a bit like this:
Let me make sure I understand… Did I get that right?
The next step is what I like to call the 3-Question Loop:
- Does this make sense?
- Are you comfortable?
- Where to from here?
What you’re doing here is handing the control over to them. This is a key part of leading them further along, all the way to the final close while making sure they have every opportunity to ask questions and to learn more about you and/or your business.
The best metaphor I can think of for this stage is a bit like a bird slowly circling around its prey. You’re not about to pounce, you’re not instilling any fear or urgency, you’re creating a calm and comfortable atmosphere, making them feel like they’re in control.
Remember to use these sorts of questions throughout the conversation. It’s important that you’re constantly checking in for value, particularly in the early stages and at the very end. Often, that last question can even be the way you close your sale!
6 Magic Steps
Let me introduce this concept by letting you know first that it’s the order that you move through these steps that’s really important, not necessarily what the steps are about.
This is when you reiterate their problem that was revealed when you stretched the gap. Go back and remind them what their current roadblocks are. This is a great opportunity to hand over that control by making sure you’ve clearly understood their problem.
Imagine you went to see a doctor with a hacking cough that keeps you up at night. The doctor would say, so what you really need is either something to suppress the cough or something that’s going to help you sleep at night. Here is where you offer solutions to that problem from stage one.
Now imagine the doctor says, I’ve got something that can do both. This is where you introduce your product or service as a problem-solver.
There’s no need to linger too long on this stage, but it’s important that you give your prospects an overall idea of how your business operates. If you have a formal business model, break it out.
Break it down into concrete action items. How’s it going to work moving forward? Now I need to make a note here that’s really important. Don’t bring up the logistics too early, this can be a deal-breaker and can often feel like you’re pushing. Keep the logistics in the right place.
If you’ve made it to this last Magic Step, you’ve closed the sale.
So, what do you do if you don’t have an official model already?
I highly recommend looking into Simon Bowen’s method on Models That Sell.
However, you can still touch on the overarching flow of how your business works without having to present anything formal. What’s more important than any business model is that you can promise a solution to a problem – that your business offers real value.
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
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