There is no lack of trainings and programs out there teaching you how to conduct a discovery session (breakthrough session, strategy session, enrollment conversation, whatever you call that “getting the client to work with you talk”.)
These trainings may call the different components in the conversation different things (like, the island of pain and the island of pleasure; your potential client’s biggest pain and deepest desire; whatever is keeping them up at 2am and what they really secretly want… ) but most of these “scripts” are more similar than they are different – down to the sequence and structure.
When I look at the results from the many discovery sessions I have conducted, and the results of my clients’ efforts, I noticed a few things. Essentially we were following a similar structure, so what made the results vary?
The secret sauce is not in the “script” – it is in YOUR HEAD
Here are a few factors I have found to make the enrollment conversation not only successful, but also fun and pleasant:
(1) Be Empathetically Non-Attached
Be empathetic to your clients, and use your intuition to tap into the deeper emotional pains and desires to connect deeply with them – make them feel heard. But don’t get sucked into their stories or veer away from the “discovery” process (see #4) – you want to make sure you stay on point with what you want to accomplish in the conversation.
A “non-attached” perspective can also help you clearly articulate your potential clients’ problems and challenges better than they do – when you can do that, your clients very likely perceive you as the person bearing the solution as well (that is human psychology).
You also want to be non-attached to the outcome of the conversation. This will help you stay present, really connect with your clients (see #3) and when it comes time to share your program, you are able to position it as the solution to your potential client’s specific challenges – because YOU LISTENED!
(2) No Desperate Energy
Never, ever go into a conversation thinking “I NEED to get this client, or else… ” This energy drives people away. This thought will change the dynamic when you present your program and pricing – not cool.
Give the session your all, but don’t get attached to getting THAT particular client. Don’t succumb to the fear of scarcity.
(3) Banish Mind Chatter
Judgment (“oh shoot did I just screwed up by saying that?”), conclusion (“doesn’t sound like she has the money, this is probably an hour down the drain for me… “), or trying to figure out what to say next and playing 10 different scenarios in your head takes your attention away from the conversation.
When you mind is filled with these chatter, you have no room to really hear and feel into your potential client to establish the deeper connection needed to turn her into a paying client.
These judgments and conclusions also change your interaction, setting up somewhat of a “self-fulfilling prophecy” situation.
People can surprise you – don’t close up your mind to possibilities.
(4) Lead the Conversation
You want to have an agenda for the conversation – I would walk out of a meeting if the organizer does not even respect my time enough to set up an agenda. Review the agenda at the beginning of the session to set the expectation – e.g. in my sessions, I make sure my potential clients understand that the session’s intention is not to go into “nuts and bolts”, nor have some Q&A about online marketing stuff. I have a specific process to help them see the big picture and their next steps, and they would walk away with some practical strategies or a few AHA moments. An ounce of pre-framing is worth a pound of reframing!
As a coach, your clients look to you as a leader. They are not paying just for someone to listen to them talk for 45 minutes without adding any value or providing any content. You can do better than being a lamppost. Of course your potential client should be doing most of the talking, but YOU are in the driver’s seat to direct where the conversation goes so at the end of your time together you will accomplish what you set out to achieve for you and your potential client.
Guide the conversation with a firm but gentle hand.
(5) Truly Give Value
Respect your potential client’s time – they give you an hour out of their busy day so be sure they walk away with value. That doesn’t mean giving away coaching for free! Your agenda (see #4) will guide them to see what is possible (see #6), opening up the next step of working with you further.
(6) Illuminate Possibilities
Your conversation is not about providing solution – that is what your programs do. Most people suffering from a problem don’t even see the possibilities that the challenge can be solved and what can be done to help them get what they want. Focus on exploring possibilities and get them excited and inspired about taking action. Then you are right there sharing your program when they are at the height of their excitement!
If you extend a fast decision discount beyond the time of the call (e.g. 24 hours), make sure you set up time to re-connect and END THE CONVERSATION WITH POSSIBILITY, NOT AFFORDABILITY.
Ling Wong, Business Artist and Chief Freedom Fighter at Slideberry ( http://slideberry.com/ ), provides Business Soulwork + Marketing Activation for Coaches and Done-For-You Content and Marketing Materials for Health & Wellness Practitioners.
Ling helps her clients supercharge their actions not only through practical strategies and marketing tools, but also through their growth and development – so they not only grow their business, but also LET THEIR BUSINESS GROW THEM. Through her “left brain meets right brain” approach, she helps her clients uncover their truth and tap into their intuition, then ground those light bulb moments with practical strategies and marketing tactics.