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What Coaches Need To Know About Closing The Sale with Mike McMahon

by | In the Magazine, Mike McMahon | 0 comments

Do you get nervous when you think about asking someone to hire you as their coach?

Does it bother you to think of closing the sale?

How many things have you tried from a marketing standpoint to avoid having to ask for the order or close the sale?

What if I told you to stop worrying about closing and let me show you a different way to enroll clients? Before I started writing this article I took a quick look on Amazon for books that come up when you search “closing the sale.” Do you know how many results came up? For books – 1,179 and for sales departments – 4,697.

That made me wonder what would come up if I Googled the same thing and I was amazed that there are over 56 million results.

Clearly there are a lot of opinions out there when it comes to closing the sale. For some people it makes them nervous and for others it gets them excited. I’m sure you fall somewhere in that spectrum.

Most of the time when a coach asks me to help them enroll more clients they usually tell me they need help overcoming objections and closing the sale.

This might strike you as odd, but I stopped teaching people how to overcome objections or close sales a long time ago.

I can just see your face right about now. I bet your saying to yourself “How can you say you’ll teach me how to enroll more clients if you don’t help me with objections and closing the sale?”

Give me a moment and I think I can clear that up.

In old school sales, overcoming objections and the close was everything. In fact, many people taught that the sale didn’t begin until you got your first “no.” Many taught that you had to be prepared to overcome 6 or more objections to get the sale. It was like war.

When you think about it, it’s no wonder people hate sales and salespeople.

As a coach I know you’re in business to help people. I know you don’t want to come across as a salesperson. You genuinely want what’s best for your client and if you’re like most coaches you don’t really like the sales aspect of your practice.

So, how would you feel if I said you could stop selling and quit worrying about overcoming objections? There’s a way for the close to take care of itself?

The buying process for your prospects hasn’t changed, but their access to information has. The days of people getting their information from the salesperson (that’s you coach) are over. Information is ubiquitous these days. It’s not what makes the sale. But for some reason a coach’s sales process is all about what’s in their program and what they do… as well as how long each session is. And for good measure, coaches then mention all their credentials and how much they’ve done as a coach.

Can I tell you something? Your prospect doesn’t care about how great you are. They only care about what they will get out of working with you. They’re looking for a guide – but make no mistake about it – they only care about themselves.

That means everything you do in your enrollment process has to be about THEM.

Every coach I’ve ever worked with who struggled with enrolling clients felt the best way to get clients was to have a complimentary coaching session with the prospect. While that sounds like a good plan it’s the last thing you should be doing.

Those same coaches also told me most of those sessions ended up with the prospect saying it was a great session, but they needed to “think about it” or they “got some great ideas,” so they were going to go try what they had just learned.

You end up frustrated because you know they need your help and there is no any way they have enough of what they need from that short session to be successful.

Here’s what I want you to understand. When you give away your coaching services you’re doing more harm than good. Let me explain.

As a coach, your desire is to help people, it’s the way your made. The challenge is that when you coach someone through a problem in a coaching session, they think you just solved their problem, so they go on their merry way only to find themselves just as stuck as before.

Since they didn’t hire you they don’t have the accountability they need, so they don’t follow through. The problem they were comfortable sharing with you isn’t the real issue, so all you did was solve a surface level problem that was a symptom of the real problem.

Had they hired you and you got to really know their situation and gained their trust you would have uncovered the real issues and been able to coach them through them – giving them real breakthroughs.

So can you see how a complimentary coaching session is really doing your prospects and yourself a disservice?

Enrollment sessions are not coaching sessions, they’re discovery sessions. You work with the prospect to uncover their real challenges and find out if they’re committed to fixing them. You’re also working to find out if you’re a good fit for each other.

Learn how to help your prospects discover the cost of not fixing the challenges they’re dealing with and make your solution (some call this the presentation) all about them. Then make sure you only talk about what they’re interested in. When you do that, you’ll stop creating objections.

After that the only thing left to do is to simply ask them “Do you want me to help you with that?”

I know that question sounds like you’re leaving everything up to them, but isn’t it up to them anyway? The real key is to uncover their true needs and what it’s costing them. When you focus on the pain of that cost, whether it be financial, personal or otherwise, that’s what will compel them to want your services.

Mastering enrollment sessions is as much about positioning as anything.

I recommend you have an application process for your prospects to go through. The application can be as simple as a few questions that help you know if this is someone you can help. You’ll find out the rest in your enrollment session.

Let me walk you through a strategy session so you can see what I’m talking about.

Begin with a few minutes of small talk (keep this to 2 or 3 minutes).

Set the stage for the call: “I reviewed your application and I want to make sure you know what to expect from this call. I’m going to ask 3 or 4 questions that will help me determine if you’re a good fit for my help and this will also help you know if I’m a good fit for you. We only have a short amount of time so do I have your permission to ask you these questions and if needed cut you off, so we can stay on track?”

(I like to use the Dan Sullivan question to start the session.)

Q1) If we’re having this discussion 3 years from now and you look back over the last 36 months (you may want to use 12 months), what needed to happen for you to feel happy with the progress… both professionally and personally?

Q2) What bottlenecks & issues are in the way and need to be taken care of? In other words, what are the obstacles that are in the way? (Make sure you dig below the surface to get the real pain. Think iceberg.)

Q3) What are the biggest opportunities right now that need to be captured?

Q4) What are your strengths, unique abilities & skills? (In other words: What do you bring to the table?)

Action Plan:

Take good notes during the call while you listen!

• Formulate a quick action plan for your prospect from your notes!

• Share the action plan at the end when the prospect finishes talking.

• “OK that’s great  ______, you bring so much to the table (strengths they mentioned) I didn’t know you had such a skill set. I hope you’re aware of how much you have to offer.

Now, looking through all the notes I’ve taken, I’m excited because I created an action plan for you. It’s important to me that you walk away from this call with an action plan regardless of whether we work together or not.

I want you to be empowered and I want to create value. So here’s the action plan. These are a few of the things I need you to do. I think they’ll be great for you andr your business over the next 30 to 90 days.

Here we go:

Step number 1 (What was the biggest problem you uncovered and what steps do they need to take to overcome them? Keep this at a high level. Don’t provide specific details.)

Step number 2 (Same as Step number 1 but with the next issue they need to work on)

Step number 3 (Same as Step number 1 and 2 but with the next issue they need to work on)

If possible when you’re sharing action steps with them, tell them a story about a client you helped in a similar situation. Doing so makes it more relatable and adds social validation in the form of a testimonial. Share the story from your client’s perspective, not yours.

After walking them through your 3-step plan just ask, “Does that sound good?”

Their response: “Yes”

The Close

Ask: “Do you want me to help you with that?” {That’s it, after that you’re silent!}

• Their response is always “Yes”

After they say “Yes”: “Great! I’m excited! I think I can truly help you. When do you want to get started?”

This is the point when you’ll receive the questions about the details of your coaching, pricing & all the deliverables, etc. Tell them how it’s structured but be sure to tie it to whatever it is they want, (what they answered from the first question).

The key to this is for you and your prospect to focus on the desired outcome and the big picture.

When you use this format, you’ll find that you stop getting objections or the dreaded “I want to think about it.”

The other benefit to this approach is it never comes across as a sales pitch because it isn’t. You’re simply uncovering what your prospect needs help with. The action steps show them you can help them, and you’re simply asking if they would like your help.

 About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is a Master Sales Coach who specializes in helping coaches and consultants master the art of enrolling high paying clients without being pushy, salesy or slimy.

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