I had a great call yesterday with a Virtual Assistant from my members club, and she asked me if I had any confidence tips for when you're on the phone for the first time with a potential client on that all important consultation call to check if you'd be a good fit for each other. I wanted to share a few of these tips in the post today.
Research, Research and Research
The best way to have confidence when chatting with a potential client is to know who they are and what they do, then you can often drop things into the conversation such as "Yes, I noticed you publish a blog each week, I really enjoyed your post on XYZ" or "I followed you on Twitter and noticed that you aren't posting daily, this is something I can help you with" - that type of thing.
Not only does this make you look super-on-the-ball and interested in them personally, it will certainly impress the client that you're aware of them and the conversation often turns very upbeat, because you just naturally feel on top of it.
I have many heads so to speak, sometimes I'm a consultant, sometimes a VA, sometimes a designer - my services vary to great degree and so does my expertise and advice, so it's always good to have an idea of what the potential client is wanting from you. If you aren't yet aware of this, just send a quick follow-up message after they book the appointment to say...
"Thanks so much for scheduling an appointment with me. In order for me to maximise our time on the call together, could you let me know what services you might be interested in chatting about - thanks!"
Knowing where the conversation is going will make you feel more confident before the call begins.
When I know all about the potential client, I often go through in my mind and visualise the conversation, see it going well in my mind, see myself securing the business at the end and us both hanging up happy and ready to move forward. You'll find a lot of coaches, athletes and other professionals use this technique - because it really works. So run through the consultation in your mind before your call, and it will already feel like the potential client is yours. If anything, it will get you prepped before you begin.
Manage The Information
There's almost always a question that comes up that you can't answer immediately on the phone, or don't want to answer. For me this is often the "How much is your XYZ" question, unless it's a package I'm selling I usually can't autopilot an estimate for various items off the top of my head, so I use a technique I call "I want to maximise our time, so I'll get back to you" ;-)
So when anyone asks a question which you either feel like you're going to freeze up on, or not answer to the best of your ability, or you simply can't get the info together there an then, you simply say...
"I can certainly help you with that, however in order to maximise our time on the call now, when we hang up, give me a couple of hours and I'll send all the information relating to that on a follow-up email."
The absolute best tip I can give you is to really not get bogged down by the fear of losing the potential client from saying the wrong thing, or not saying the right thing - simply just look at every consultation as an opportunity to help someone who needs it. The more you approach it informally as a way of connecting and sharing information between 2 business owners, the easier it will be for you to see that this whole consultation thing isn't that scary after all ;-)
Do you have any consultation tips? Share them in the comments below!