Here’s my 5 steps to reduce the amount of time you spend with Brain-Pickers and make sure you are successfully moving prospects through your sales funnel:
Step 1: You have to value your time before they will
I know you’ve heard this before but it is soooo true! Other people aren’t going to value your time if you don’t seem bothered about how you spend it!
You need to know how many prospect meetings you need to have in your diary to achieve your new client acquisition targets, and also how many you can afford to have so you can still deliver all of your client work and do all your other business related “stuff”.
Understand that number and then work to it! You also want to make sure you know the best time for you to have those meetings so it maximises your time.
Step 2: Don’t make yourself too accessible
If you make yourself too accessible people are more likely to mess you around and postpone appointments.
For example take control of the discussion and suggest 2 or 3 times when you are available. Don’t say “anytime on Xday” as that makes you look too available and that you don’t have many clients!
Step 3: Question for Need
If you are going to allocate time in your diary to see a prospect you want to be sure they are a qualified lead and not a simple tyre kicker. In Sales speak this is called “questioning for need”.
It’s actually easy to do as it’s a natural conversation throughout which you are asking some key questions.
The questions will vary depending on what you do but they need to cover:
- Their pain point: There must be a reason they want to talk to you so what exactly is it?
- What’s the value for them? You need to understand what their benefit is going to be from employing your services. This is quite important as we’re going to use it later. How exactly you do this will depend on what services you deliver but invariably you’ll be either helping them to generate more money, save money or save time, so you need to quantify that as much as possible.
- What they want to achieve when you meet. Basically you want to make sure you are both clear on the objective of the meeting. This question will quickly sort the brain pickers from the serious prospects.
Step 4: What constitutes a valid meeting?
You need to get clear in your own mind what constitutes a valid prospect meeting. If you don’t want to spend time with brain pickers then you need to decide what exactly constitutes a brain picker versus a serious prospect.
The answer is usually their willingness to pay your fees!
My advice is to frame this upfront.
At some point in that initial conversation you need to add in your fees. I usually say something along these lines “I’m not a cheap coach, there are plenty of them around. But I am the only expert in the UK that specialises in growing service businesses. I only work with people who are very serious about growing their business and who are ready to invest in themselves to do it. My fees start from £XXX+vat. From what you’ve just told me you would only have to secure X new clients to see a positive Return on Investment and that should be incredibly do-able. How does that sound?”
If it scares them off then that’s fine as it’s freed up my diary. If they still want to meet then I’ve already laid the ground work for the main pitch that may occur in that meeting.
Some people feel uncomfortable doing it because it feels like you are scaring people away but it’s highly likely that the ones you’ll scare away were the very ones that will pick your brains and not pay you to work with them.
If you have plenty of free time then you can afford to be less stringent about how you manage that conversation.
Step 5: The meeting
With this meeting you need to be clear about what you need to achieve for it to be a successful interaction.
You need to have some structure around it and not just an hours meandering conversation.
My advice is to expand on the Question for Need section above. If there seems a good fit between their pain and what you can deliver then pitch.
To be clear…this meeting is not where you give loads of free advice!
If you give them advice they will think you’ve given them the answer they need even though you’ll know it’s only the tip of the iceberg. If they think they have enough info to be getting on with they are less likely to make a buying decision so they will turn into a brain picker!
It is possible to demonstrate knowledge and value without giving away the crown jewels!
Don’t get me wrong, I very much believe in giving away high value content/information for free but you need to be mindful about how you do it in a sales meeting environment.
This is easier to do than it looks and just takes a bit of practice.