ANATOMY OF A SALE
C.J. Hayden, MCC
Let's call the client Sandy. She
was first referred to me by an instructor in the professional training
program she was taking. (Hint #1: Develop referral partnerships
with people who serve your clients.) Sandy called me in March to
inquire about becoming a coaching client. (Hint #2: Referred clients
are more ready to buy.)
I asked Sandy about her situation and what she
needed, then told her how coaching would help. (Hint #3: Listen
more than you talk.) We discussed the cost. (Hint #4: Communicate
benefits before quoting prices.) Sandy thought she would be ready
to get started in June, so I asked to follow up with her then. (Hint
#5: Get permission to follow up.)
I sent Sandy a copy of my print newsletter with
a note summarizing our conversation. (Hint #6: Maximize every contact
by following up.) I called her at the beginning of June to see if
she was ready to become a client. (Hint #7: Follow up when you say
Sandy returned my call with a voice mail message.
It was the wrong time to get started with coaching; maybe six months
from now would be better. But could she order a copy of my book?
(Hint #8: Capture your wisdom in a way clients can sample it before
hiring you.) I mailed Sandy the book with a personal note and sent
her an email, suggesting we talk again in six months. (Hint #6 again.)
If I thought I could reach Sandy by phone, I would
have called, but she was a busy professional who sent every call
to voice mail. (Hint #9: Use any available medium to follow up.)
Three months later, I sent Sandy an email, asking if I could subscribe
her to my email newsletter. She responded by email saying yes. Three
months after that, I called her again. (Hint #10: Find a way to
follow up at least once per quarter.)
Sandy replied by voice mail that things had changed
for her, and she was no longer interested in coaching. She thanked
me for keeping in touch. (Hint #11: Consistent follow up makes you
appear professional.) I left a voice mail reply thanking her for
her interest and asked her to keep my services in mind for her professional
colleagues. (Hint #12: Ask for referrals when prospects don't
I continued to send Sandy my email newsletter each
month. Three months later, Sandy referred me a colleague, who became
my client. I sent Sandy a thank you note for the referral. (Hint
#13: Always thank your referral sources.) Later that same year,
she referred me another colleague who also became my client, and
I thanked her again.
Several months went by, and a third person in the
same field contacted me, and became my client. My new client named
someone I knew, but wasn't in touch with, as the person who
referred her. I contacted the referrer to thank her, and discovered
it was Sandy who had told her where to find me. (Hint #14: Find
out who your referral sources really are.)
thanked Sandy again. It was now two years from our initial contact.
At this point, Sandy decided to become my client. The dollar value
of my relationship with Sandy -- her coaching fees plus those of
the people she referred -- to date has totaled approximately $35,000.
In addition to the hints I've dropped while
telling this story, there may be more to learn by asking yourself
a few questions. Where in this process might you have given up?
Would you have written Sandy off after she told you she wasn't
interested? Might you have considered yourself a failure at selling
because Sandy kept saying no for two years?
Notice that in all this time, Sandy and I had talked
live only once. Do you stop trying when you can't reach people
by phone? Before she became my client, I sent Sandy a print newsletter,
four handwritten notes, three personal emails, and eighteen email
newsletters. I never did send her a brochure. Might you have sent
Sandy a marketing packet after the first contact, and stopped there?
The next time you get discouraged because a client
says he's “not ready” to get started, or you feel
like follow-up is a waste of time, remember Sandy. I contacted her
25 times over a period of two years. Each of the seven personal
contacts took less than five minutes, and the 18 email newsletters
were sent by an autoresponder. Thirty-five minutes of follow-up
resulted in $35,000 in sales. What do you think, was it worth it?
© 2003, C.J. Hayden
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