Let’s face it: no one wants to feel like they need to “sell” someone on working with them. But…to be successful as business owners, that’s actually what we need to do.

Most of us understand that if we want to work personally with clients, we need to have sales conversations. The problem is, these conversations are often looked upon with a keen sense of dread. The concept of “sales” is even downright scary for many entrepreneurs. (No matter that it’s a huge part of what running a business is all about!)

Hmmm. What to do about this?

First, I often remind my own clients that although people hate to be sold, they LOVE to buy. It’s the fear of having to turn “slick and slimy” that business owners are really afraid of.

The good news is that’s not the case.

Having successful sales conversations is a skill anyone can learn. In fact, here are 7 steps you can follow to close more clients starting today.

1. Pre-qualify

The first step actually starts long before you hop on the phone with a prospect. Pre-qualify potential clients on an ongoing basis by having a focused and clear niche, a strong marketing message, social proof in the form of testimonials or case studies and by offering different packages at different price points. (Bonus tip: your website is one of the best vehicles available for weeding out non-ideal clients. Include ample info about how you work–and who with–so that people pre-qualify themselves. Beautiful!)

2. Do your prep

Consider the practical: will you give your sessions an enticing name? What will you offer? Are you set up to take payments and how will you schedule?

3. Generate sessions

There are many ways to generate “get acquainted” sessions, but some of the most common methods are via networking, speaking, emailing your list, teleseminars, or inviting people via one-on-one conversations.

4. Send a pre-session questionnaire

You will feel a lot more confident and prepared if you’re able to collect a littleinfo up front. To start: ask your prospective client to tell you a bit about their business, what their biggest challenges are, and where they’d like to be in 6 or 12 months time. The answers to these questions will be very telling for you.

5. Hold your discovery session

Start the call by inviting them to tell you about why they wanted to speak with you. Let them tell you about their “pain” and just how big the problem is. Listen carefully and take good notes. Then, reveal the possibilities to them of how working with you can turn it all around. Ask them how that would feel!

6. Make your offer

Give your solution, describe the options and then STOP talking! Be prepared for objections to come up and answer as many as you can. Remind them of the pain that led them to want to speak with you in the first place.

7. Celebrate!

You signed a new client–pat yourself on the back!

If they’re still on the fence, don’t write them off just yet–send them a note or email immediately following the call recapping how you can help them with their specific issues and challenges and suggest a time to follow-up to see where they are in their process.

The idea of holding your own sales conversations doesn’t need to leave you shaking in your boots. Follow these steps to close the sale and claim more success for yourself and your business.

Here’s to more clients and more income–and to eliminating discovery session dread. 🙂

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