You know that saying “everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten”? Well, I think that’s mostly true.
In kindergarten, you probably learned formative skills like how to share space in a conversation, how to ask questions, how to read emotions, and how to say things like “please” and “thank you.” Technically, all of this is super valuable when it comes to managing your business consultation calls.
A consultation call is the key moment when you and your prospective client will feel each other out, get a sense of whether you fit into one other’s (business) lives, and frankly, if you even like each other enough to make an agreement to work together.
This is all a great starting point for consultation calls (thanks kindergarten!), but everything else you should know, you can find here!
There are usually 2 ways business owners set up consultations. Let’s start with my preference and how I’ve seen the most success…
At When I Grow Up Coach headquarters, I like to include an application form upfront on my ‘Work With Me’ page that requires my interested peeps to give me the download on them, their business hopes and dreams, and a few other goodies that help me understand if we’re gonna be a great fit. If their info looks groovy to me – if it looks like it’s likely I would be someone that can help them reach their goals – then I’ll reach out to them to set up the consultation call. (And if their info *doesn’t* show a good fit, I’ll reach out anyway to tell them why and offer any suggestions/resources/referrals I have!)
This system offers a little bit of a gatekeeper/safeguard feature, ensuring no one’s time (mine *or* the prospective client’s) is truly wasted. This flow also usually leads to a higher client conversion rate, because you’re more than likely to be talking to your “right” person. In some super special cases, the application form is all I need to know there’s a business match made in perfect heaven and we’re able to sign up to work together without a consultation call at all! Hooray!
The other way to do it (which seems to be the trendy way right now, I’ve been noticing…) is to place a button on your sales page — and even all pages —that reads “book a call.” Here, anyone and everyone who comes across you and your business can schedule time on your precious calendar. In this instance, after the prospective client has chosen their time slot, an automated email will be sent to their inbox with a form for them to fill our prior to the chat.
I get it. This system is pretty straightforward and requires less effort from you up-front, but trust me when I say it will eat up your time on the back end! Without having a built-in filter prior to your consultation calls, you risk going into a consult call totally cold (nothing is making them fill out that form pre-call, right?), ending up on the phone with Chatty Cathys who just want someone to talk to, or talking with any number of folks looking for a quick answer to their problems and nothing more. Because of that, I’d prefer to vet them *first* and *then* get that consultation ball rolling. Just my (professional and experienced) two cents.
Regardless of how you book it, once you’re on the consultation call, here are the most important things to note:
🌟A consultation call should not last more than 15 mins, 30 mins max. If you and your maybe-client are clear on your business, all questions and concerns either of you have should be easily fleshed out in this time.
🌟Speak first, stating your understanding of why they need you based on their questionnaire! Open up with, “Based on your form, we are here to talk about xyz… does that sound right?” This is their opportunity to confirm what they want from you and a chance to course correct if necessary before walking too far down the wrong road. Which leads us to…
🌟Avoid asking them any open-ended questions. These will prove to be a major time suck. Questions like “So, what brings you here?” and, “Tell me about yourself” open you up to rambling tangents that aren’t actually useful for either of your purposes. Instead, you could reframe these questions to be more direct, sounding like: “What are you specifically hoping to achieve in working with -insert your title here-?” and, “What have you already done to try to fix this problem?”
🌟Let them know when they are halfway through their time! There are plenty of friendly ways to state this without rushing them. One go-to is stating, “I’m conscious of the time, and I want to make sure I answer all of your questions. Do you have any for me now?” This will help them prioritize what they need out this call and help keep you on track.
🌟If you know you are ready to work with them, tell them! Once you’re certain you’ve answered all of their questions and you’re getting that “Ooh, I hope they want to work with me, too!” happy dance in your body, tell them you’re enthusiastic to get this show on the road. Explain why you’re a wonderful fit and what they’re going to walk away with. This speaks to the value of you and your services and gets them jazzed for next steps, too!
🌟Before hanging up, tell them the next steps — the very next thing that is going to happen. Usually, this will be an invoice and/or a contract to sign. Don’t forget to give them a deadline! Let them know you will not be able to guarantee this price or your availability if they sign up outside of the deadline window. This motivates them to action and allows you to close the loop and get started, without you or your business being left in limbo.
🌟Try to follow up as soon as possible on these next steps. If you don’t hear from them before their deadline, check in! If on the off chance they do go silent, be sure to circle back and let them know your metaphorical or literal business door is always open.
🌟As a hot business coach tip, take strong notes during your conversation and send them after you hang up! This is a super nice touch that shows your prospect that you were truly listening and are prepared to help solve their pain points (<– VALUE!). For me personally, it mimics what a client of mine gets after a session, too. Feel free to come up with something that mimics *your* offer so this prospective client get a taste of what it’s like to become a current one!
Boom. That’s 15-30 effective minutes that will ultimately benefit your business and your soon-to-be-client’s happiness. Now go forth and change those lives!
For more information on how to Build Your Client Base and grow your amazeballs business, get on this list! Applications for this 6-month mastermind will open in early December, and are meant for those business owners who want to get even *more* insight and expertise on how to land their ideal clients more quickly and with more frequency than before. And hey, who knows? Maybe we’ll have our own consultation call soon!