Business coaching isn’t an impulse buy.
That might seem obvious, but it means you need to be prepared to work through a longer sales cycle than one-off, low-touch products and services.
However, just because the sales cycle is longer doesn’t mean you can’t execute it effectively and efficiently. And one of the best ways to do so is to be sure you qualify business coaching leads before investing significant time chasing them to close.
Fortunately, you can do that in 15 minutes or less!
A Typical Business Coaching Sales Cycle
A typical sales cycle for business coaching looks something like this:
- You generate a lead through one of our recommended lead generation strategies: digital marketing, referrals, networking, direct mail, telemarketing (including outsourced cold calls), and strategic partners.
- You have an initial conversation, in which you qualify your business coaching leads and, if appropriate, get buy-in for a longer, complete complimentary coaching session.
- You complete the complimentary coaching session.
- You close the sale.
It can take between 1-6 weeks to get through the full cycle. Today, I’d like to focus on step two: what to do and say to vet and qualify your business coaching leads.
When you have your initial conversation with a prospect, follow these simple steps.
First, set expectations that the call will really be just 15 minutes.
After greeting the lead and confirming your appointment, say something like:
“We have 15 minutes and I have another call straight after, so we’ll need to keep to our time, is that okay?”
Second, set the parameters for the conversation.
Be clear with the lead what today’s call will accomplish–and what it won’t.
“My job today is really simple. I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions to see if and how I can help you. If I feel like I can’t help you, I’ll let you know and do my best to point you in the right direction. If I feel like I can, we’ll book another time to talk about how. Is that okay?”
Third, do some fact-finding.
This is about more than just finding out what their problems are — it’s also about getting to the heart of how motivated they are to address them. Here are some questions to ask:
- Why now? What’s going on to make this a “now” conversation?
- Why did you take my call? What do you know about coaching? Are you open to it?
- What’s the gap between your reality and the result you want?
- What’s broken, missing, or not working?
- What do you want help with?
- Is this a later thing or a sooner thing?
- How do you think this is impacting you, your family, your team, your customers, your business?
- What do you think that’s costing you?
- Why is it important to you?
Fourth, summarize what you’ve heard.
Center in on the top three problems you heard:
- You want result but obstacle.
- You have problem and it’s costing your impact.
- You don’t have desired thing and it’s hurting you because reason.
Fifth, define next steps.
Here’s where you want to either let them go or book a full complimentary coaching session.
Imprtant note: sometimes you’re not going to be a good fit, and that’s okay.
It’s better to let a lead go than to continue to chase what will ultimately be a problem client. Problem clients drain more resources and energy than they’re worth, especially if you’re going to be constantly chasing them for payment or dealing with hostility or unreasonable expectations.
It's better to let a lead go than to continue to chase what will ultimately be a problem client
Be willing to say no if they’re not a good fit in terms of revenue, motivation, or personality. Here’s a script to politely move on:
“At the beginning of our call I said I’d ask you a bunch of questions to work out if or how I could help you, and based on what you said, I don’t think I’m the right coach for you.”
On the other hand, most business owners really can use your help! So close your now-qualified lead into the complimentary coaching session by saying something like this:
“Based on our conversation, I feel like we should go ahead and book a longer time. What do you need to know before you can make a decision about that?”
Once they agree, set expectations for the next call.
“Great! In the next session I want to build a roadmap for you. We’ll go deeper into the results you want, what your current reality is, and how to move past what’s getting in your way.”
This simple, but often-overlooked step, can set you up for more effective complimentary coaching sessions — AND save you heartache and stress with tire-kickers or problem clients.
By the way, this script comes out of our complete members-only business coaching system — and there’s more where that came from! Check it out with a FREE 30-day trial and gain access to everything you need to master the art of marketing, sales, and coaching clients to success.