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Staring a Sales Conversation

 

How do you start a sales conversation?

When you are a brand-new entrepreneur, it’s very likely that you do not have a ton of experience running sales conversations.

How do we start?

How do I take control?

How do I make this not awkward and uncomfortable for both myself and the potential client?

I’m going to give you four things to do at the beginning of every single sales conversations that are going to set you up for success.

As the leader of the conversation, it puts you in control, helps you build a relationship and makes sure that it’s a super productive conversation.

 

#1. Build Rapport

This can feel a little awkward and uncomfortable if this is not something you were used to doing. When I jumped on a sales call with someone I say:

Hi, I am super excited about our conversation today. How was your weekend or what’s going on, or what are you working on or what have you been up to today, or I noticed on social media that you have kiddos, how old are your kids?

Just build rapport. Both parties coming into the conversation are likely very nervous. So don’t be confused and think it’s just you that’s nervous. It’s likely that your potential client is nervous as well because sales conversations could be uncomfortable and they might be fearful of what’s going to happen. So, I want you to set them at ease by just building a little bit of rapport, take a couple of minutes, two to three minutes and just make conversation and just build a relationship.

Because if you can find a connection with that person, they will instantly relax and you’re way likely to get a positive outcome of your conversation. The second thing that you want to do is make sure that you’ve set an agenda for the conversation.

I get a lot of questions like…

How do I make sure this isn’t an interview?

How do I take control of the conversation?

 

The best thing to do in this instance is to set an agenda. So, what I like to do again, let them know that I’m excited to build a little bit of rapport and say, listen, here’s what I have planned for us today. I have 30 minutes blocked out for this call. Does that work for you? So you’re letting them know what to expect from the beginning. How long is the call is and this way, the call doesn’t run long.

And if you do have something afterwards that you have a reason to go, so, Hey, listen, I have 30 minutes earmarked for our call today. My goal is to learn a little bit about your current situation, a little bit about your goals. Uh, some of the things that, the reasons why you’re working for things. And then of course, we’ll talk about next steps. And if it makes sense, we’ll talk about what it looks like for us to work together.

 

So a very clear agenda, so they know what to expect, because again, we want them to relax. We want them to feel comfortable and a really great way to do that is to let them know exactly what to expect.

#2. Ask Easy Questions.

I like to tell my students that we have to earn the right to ask tough questions. Sometimes we want to jump in with like, okay, tell me what your biggest challenge is as it relates to whatever it is here we’re talking about.

But remember, you’ve probably only been on the phone with this person for like five or six minutes. And so we have to earn the right to ask those tough questions. We want them to again, feel comfortable talking to us.

I like really easy open-ended questions to get the conversation started. Something along the lines of tell me, what made you decide to book this call today or tell me what’s going on in your business as it relates to X.

 

This is a very general question.

So for me, it’s always starting with a softball question and then building up to tougher and tougher and tougher questions and really drilling down into their problems and their emotional motivators and all of those things.

But you can’t go too fast.

Oftentimes we’d like to use the example of dating, right?

When you’re dating someone new and you’re just getting to know them, or maybe you are on a first date and you’re having a cup of coffee with someone you don’t start with “would you like to get married” right?

That is too serious of a question too early on in the conversation.

So to start with softball questions, work your way up.

 

#3. Remember the 80 20 rule.

You should be listening 80% of the time and only talking 20% of the time.

So many of you telling me, like, I don’t know what to say. You know, I’m an introvert, I’m not good at this stuff. That’s okay.

It’s actually harder for an extrovert to keep their mouth shut during a sales conversation than it is for you.

So, really thinking through the 80 20 rule, you want them to be talking, you’re listening. Your goal of the sales conversation is really to learn.

Does this person have the problem that I solve?

How are they motivated?

Cause people buy based on emotion and they justify with logic.

So we’re looking for both the logical reasons and the emotional reasons that they would invest with you.

 

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Sales Follow Up Strategy

Let’s talk sales, follow up strategies.

 

How do you follow up with a potential client without being annoying and without being pushy.

My name is Ryann Dowdy and I am a sales coach. I help high achieving women leave their 9-5 and build six figure businesses by mastering their sales skills.

One of the questions that we hear all the time from the women in our community is how do I follow up without being annoying?

I’m going to use the example that we have already had one conversation with a potential client, and we are trying to follow up with that person because there’s a lot of different ways to follow up.

So I want to give you a real example.

Maybe you’ve had a sales conversation with someone, had a discovery call, a consult of some kind. How do you follow up?

First things first, when it comes to follow up, my friends is when we are in sales conversations, I want you to always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always schedule your next step.

Never end one conversation without the next conversation scheduled.

Say for instance, you put together custom quotes for your clients. So you run a discovery call, you run a consult call and then you schedule the next meeting to go over the proposal together. Say for instance, you do pitch on the call. So you have a package. You’re able to say, here’s my packages. Here’s my solution. And the person isn’t able to make a decision – that’s okay. Schedule a follow-up call to get their decision.

Say for instance, they said, yes. We want to schedule the next meeting and the next step in the sales conversation, even if it is your first consult first session, onboarding, meeting, whatever that looks like for you.

So, when we have a sales conversation of any kind, we always want to make sure that we go ahead and follow that next step. So, it was scheduled that next follow-up steps so that we don’t have to follow up. We don’t even have to worry about it because it’s already done. It’s already on the calendar.

However, sometimes we forget to do that. Or maybe you’re looking back in retrospect and you haven’t done that already.

So, what are some ways you can follow up?

If that first meeting is missed, we show up and that person no shows.

I am going to send a message immediately and say, “Hey, Sarah, I know we were supposed to connect at one o’clock today. Sorry I missed you. I’m really looking forward to discussing next steps.”

I’m going to do that immediately when that meeting is missed. And then the next day I’m going to send another message that says, “Hey, Sarah, sorry we were able to connect yesterday. I have some time available on Tuesday or Thursday. Do one of those times to work best for you? I can get this conversation rescheduled.”

And then I’m going to follow up the next day. And I’m going to say something similar. “Hey, Sarah is still looking forward to continuing our conversation. I wanted to give you a couple of other times on my calendar.”

Notice that this is somewhat close together. And probably to you feels a little bit aggressive, but here’s why I think that this is important.

#1. We make a lot of assumptions.

Like, oh, well they don’t like us, or they’ve already decided they’re a no, or they’re not interested. And so we’ve made a lot of assumptions, but for me, I find that most people are just really super busy.

There’s a lot going on in life today. And especially if you are working with a mom who’s homeschooling their kids or a business owner, who’s running a business… there’s a lot going on.

So I make the assumption that most humans are just busy and not rude, right? Cause to me the lack of communication after I’ve given you my time – it’s just rude. And I know that that probably doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, but for me as human beings, human to human respect, if it’s a no, tell me that, it’s a no, because otherwise I just assume that you are just busy because otherwise you are an adult that could easily tell me no. And that mindset, my friend has served me over again and over again, that if they were a no, they would just tell me no, because otherwise it would be rude to just blow me off.

 

That has allowed me to be persistent without ever worrying about being annoying because I’m not being annoying, you’re being rude.

That mindset works really, really well, but the reason that I’d want those, those conversations stacked up against one another really quickly is because I find the closer to that initial conversation that you can have that next conversation, the more likelihood you will have of actually landing that client.

I find that the more time that goes on between initial conversation and the second conversation, the less likely that I am up getting a yes. So I find that, Hey, if I don’t go all in and these next 48 to 72 hours, I’m probably not going to get the deal anyways.

 

So now’s a good time as any to lean it. The second thing that I like to do when it comes to follow up, um, is making sure that I always ask for permission to follow up, right? If I don’t hear from you, can I call you if I don’t hear from you, can I send you an email? If I don’t hear it from you? Can I reconnect with you? Because then I have permission, right? Then it’s no longer annoying or any of those things. I have permission. So first things first always schedule your follow-up. But if you don’t make sure that your touch points are consistent right. Immediately after they miss a call the next day and the next day, but always asking for permission to follow up right. Or telling them in that email it’s Hey, Sarah, if I don’t hear from you, I’m gonna reach back out tomorrow.

 

What I will eventually do though, is let my ups start to space itself out. So, I went for immediately next day, next day, but I’m gonna let two days go by and then three days go by and then four days go by and I’m going to follow up pretty aggressively for about two weeks. And then after that, I’m going to go ahead and send some sort of breakup, email, or message.

 

Side note: make sure that you’re following up on whatever platform you were originally connecting with that person. So, if you guys were trading emails, follow up on email. If you were in messenger, if you were texting, if it was over the phone, whatever works best. But I always try to use the platform that I originally connected with the person that seems to work best for me.

 

Okay.

What do we say in that breakup email?

The breakup email is a couple of things. One it’s to let them know that I’m following up. But two, I want to leave the door open. See, some people realize that it’s rude to blow someone off and to not give them an answer. And then they feel bad that they’ve done that. And I don’t ever want anyone to feel that. I want them to know that the door is always open, right? The door is always open to come back.

So, once they do finally decide that they are ready to hire, I want them to still feel like they can come back to me and not feel bad because they have ghosted me.

 

So what I will normally say is, “Hey, Sarah, I was really looking forward to working together. I can tell by your lack of response, that the timing doesn’t make sense right now. I hope that you’re well, and I wish you the best of luck and just know that the door is always open. Feel free to reach out to me if you need anything.”

The client is important. But so am I. My time is important. What I do is valuable. A lack of response is telling me that the timing isn’t right. However, I do want them to know that the door is always open because I don’t want them going to look for someone else.

I want them to come back to me and what the breakup email will often do is get a response.

It’ll say, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I’ve just been so busy and yeah, you’re right. The timing isn’t right.”

And then again, I will ask for permission, can I circle back with you in 30 days and see how things are going?

Or sometimes they will get a response that says, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry that I never got back to you. We went a different direction.”

Then at least I know that it’s a no.

And for me, no is so much better than maybe. I feel like maybe it’s sales purgatory. So I’m okay with a no.

So immediately when the meeting is missed, the next day and the next day, and then start to space your communication out to get till about 14 and then send your breakup email.

And remember, anytime you ask for permission to follow up with someone you are now no longer annoying or spammy or any of those other things, because you have permission to do so.


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Stand Out – Even in a Crowded Space

How to stand out in a crowded space.

 

You are an online entrepreneur, and it might feel like every time you turn around, you are running into another you.

There’s another virtual assistant.

There’s another bookkeeper.

There’s another health coach.

There’s another life coach.

There are so many people doing what I do.

How can I possibly stand out?

 

Have you ever felt this way before?

I know that I certainly did at the beginning of my business journey.

 

I’m going to give you 3 ways stand out online, even in what feels like a very saturated market.

But first we have to talk about the mindset.

 

First things first, it’s very possible that your space is not nearly as crowded as you think that it is.

It is very possible that because of what you consume online, what you interact with, the type of people and the type of content that you are commenting on is actually curating your feed full of other people that look and act just like you.

It feels like there are a million of you in the world, but it is because your social media feeds are curated based on what you are interacting on.

So, the first thing I want to do is address the mindset shift of maybe there aren’t as many people doing what you do out there as you think you just need to travel in different circles, where there aren’t a million of you.

So, first things first, maybe it’s not as saturated as you think, but let’s definitely want to give you some tangible ways to make sure that you are standing out.

 

#1. Think about your personal brand.

And I don’t mean brand as far as your colors or your logo, or your website or any of those other things.

I need you now that you are a business owner, a solopreneur. You have a personal brand. When somebody mentions your name, what comes up? What do people think?

Perfect example, with me, people think sales.

I’ve been talking about sales as loud as I possibly can for three years. So, inside of the circles that I travel within, it is very common to associate me with sales. When somebody says they have a sales problem, it is very common for somebody to be like, “Oh, you should go have a conversation with Ryann

What is YOUR personal brand? What do you stand for? What do you talk about a lot? What are you an expert at? Make sure that that is really clear on whichever social media platforms, or whichever networking events that you were hanging out at.

If you are hanging out in Facebook groups and your personal profile doesn’t say anything about the fact that you are a life coach … you are missing an opportunity because when I come land on that profile, I can’t tell that you’re a life coach that you’ve totally transformed people’s lives.

So your personal brand needs to be what people say about when you’re not around, but they need to be able to land on your social profiles and be able to determine it just a couple of seconds.

Who are you? What do you do? What do you stand for?

And this doesn’t always just have to be business, right? It can be personally, what do you stand for?

I have two small children. When you follow me on social media, you see pictures of my kids. You see pictures of my husband. I talk about my faith. I talk about being a Christian and a believer because that is my personal brand. That is who I am. The first thing you need to do to get visible, to stand out from all the other virtual assistants, bookkeepers, digital marketers, health coaches, life coaches, business coaches is decide:

 

What is your personal brand?

What do you stand for?

What do you want to be known for?

What do people say about you when you leave the room?

 

#2. Be a valuable person.

Say, you’re hanging out over on Instagram and somebody is looking to lose 20 pounds. That’s what you do as a business. If they’re working out and they’re checking their food and they’re trying really hard and they’ve got big goals to hit a great way to add value to that person’s life is to comment on that, to congratulate them, to tell them they’re doing a good job, to encourage them, to ask them questions about their journeys.

Interact with people. If you’ve got a great tip or a great podcast or blog or something that you can share with them, maybe it’s just a checklist you’ve created. Send that over.

“Hey, I see you’re working really hard on your weight loss goals. Here’s the checklist I created. I hope that you find a value in this.”

 

Say for instance, someone is posting really fantastic content on LinkedIn comment on their stuff, engage with them, ask them a question, become a person of value. Don’t overthink this because many of you were thinking, but Ryann I’m brand new to business. How could I possibly provide value to somebody exponentially more experienced than I am? It doesn’t matter. You are uniquely you and you have a way to provide value. You have a different life experience. You have a different lens. You have a different viewpoint than a lot of other people.

Don’t be afraid to use that.

So, when you’re hanging out in Facebook groups, be a valuable person, answer people’s questions. Even your competitors. Don’t worry about being pitched. Don’t worry about saying the exact right thing. Show up, answer questions. Be an interesting person. Be a person who provides value. Answers questions. Serves people no matter what.

And that’s how you stand out!

If you’re afraid to interact in Facebook groups, if you’re not answering questions, if you’re not showing up and letting people know you know what you are talking about… it’s very possible that you are leaving money on the table and you are not standing out. In fact, you are blending in with your competition. make sure that you are asking good questions. That’s another really great way to provide value. Don’t just pitch yourself, right?

 

Say for instance, somebody is in a Facebook group and they say, Hey, I’m looking for help with building a website. And you’re a web developer. And you’re so excited. Finally, an opportunity to connect with somebody who’s looking for me.

 

But instead of being person who is me, me, me, me, me, me, me, here’s the link to my calendar. Here’s my portfolio. I’m amazing… I want you to take a step back and I want you to say

“Sarah, congratulations on deciding to build or update your website. That’s such a huge step in your business. As a web developer, my favorite platform to build it is WordPress because I find it’s really great for SEO and it gets updated pretty regularly. Did you have a platform in mind in which you hope to build your website?”

Right? Do you see how much more valuable that is? How much more of a contribution you’re making to the conversation instead of just being like, here’s the link to my calendar.

 

#3. Become a professional problem solver.

Even if you are in the business to consumer space, solve problems, people pay to solve problems. That’s what they do. So, if you’re talking about yourself and your business, from your perspective from I’m a virtual assistant, I’m a bookkeeper or I’m a health coach, or I’m a life coach that doesn’t matter, right? Your ideal client doesn’t care. They didn’t wake up this morning looking to hire a health coach. So, if you’re just over here saying I’m a health coach, you’re blending in, you’re blending in with everybody else who’s talking about themselves. Start talking about them. What is the problem that you solve for your ideal clients? Why do they pay you?

This is such an important part of growing your business.

I want you to make sure that you are solving problems and not just checking off tasks or not just talking about yourself.

Because unfortunately we live in a world where we are trained to be focused on us, right?

There’s nothing wrong with you. I’m not shaming you or giving you a hard time or any of those things. I just want you to know that it’s really, really easy to blend in with everybody else when you’re talking about how great you are and all the wonderful things that you do and how all the stuff that you do can totally change someone’s life.

Make it about them. That is how you become a problem solver.

You’re not just managing somebody’s email list. You are giving them the way to better communicate with their audience.

See you soon!


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Build a Network that Makes Money!

I’m going to break down four simple steps to building a network that will help you grow your business. If we haven’t met yet, my name is Ryann Dowdy and I am a sales coach. I help high achieving women, leave their 9-5 and grow six-figure businesses by mastering their sales conversations and their mindset.

Depending on where you are in your journey and what kind of service you provide as an entrepreneur, it’s very possible that building a network isn’t something you’ve ever been tasked with in the past. It’s not something you’ve had to do before, but you have heard that it’s super, super important in your business. I’m going to give you some actionable tips about how to grow a network.

 

#1: Decide.

What do you want to be known for?

What is important to you?

Essentially building a network is about what people say about you when you leave the room.

Example… obviously I am known for sales. Anytime somebody says they have a sales problem in their business, there are an army of people that will be like, “Oh my gosh, you need to have a conversation with Ryann Dowdy”

So, what do you want to be known for? The reason that I want you to start here, even if you’re a brand-new business owner is because deciding what you want to be known for is important because we want to be memorable.

We want people to think of us.

Say for instance, you are a virtual assistant, and you haven’t necessarily decided on exactly what services that you want to offer. That’s okay.

You want to be known for being a virtual assistant.

Say you are a health coach, and you haven’t necessarily decided do I only want to work with women over 40? Do I want to work with anybody that has over 20 pounds to lose? It’s okay to just be known as someone who specializes in weight loss. So, don’t get hung up on the idea choosing a niche.

 

#2. Meet People.

That is literally what building a network is.

It is about people.

It is about having other people know what you do.

I truly believe that the more people who know what you do, the more people you talk to, the more money you will make and the more successful your business will be.

So, to grow a network, you have to go out in the world and tell everyone in the world what you do. That is how we build a network, right? By going out and meeting people, telling them what we do and then building relationships!

So, decide what you want to be known for. And then go out in the world and meet people and tell them what that is.

Oversimplification. I know, but sometimes we’re like, I don’t know how to do that or where to do that.

It doesn’t matter.

Do it online. Do it in person doesn’t matter. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, tick-tock YouTube, Twitter.

Do it in person, networking events, virtual networking events.

That is a really important part of building a network.

 

#3 Provide value to that network.

How can you provide value to other people? How can you give them advice? How can you make their life better? This doesn’t have to be business related.

Maybe you are a health coach, and you help people who have more than 20 pounds to lose. But somebody is looking for a referral to a virtual assistant and you know, a virtual assistant or your sister’s a virtual assistant.

And you say, “Hey, I want to connect to these two people.”

That’s a great way to provide value.

When people start coming to you to ask you for introductions and referrals, to people that you don’t know, or people that aren’t in your wheelhouse, that is what is really about building a network.

You may have heard before that your network is your net worth, right?

Being able to go through it, your social media contacts, your Rolodex, whatever it is and say, yes, I have a connection for you is really where the magic starts to happen because that’s when those referrals come back to you.

If they’re thinking about us, the person who knows every everyone, they’re also thinking of you as the expert in what you do, being the experts in who you are, being the expert in the service that you provide.

Having a network is one of the most powerful things that you will do as a business owner.

So, whether that network is providing you referrals, whether that network is providing introductions, whether that network becomes your clients, the more people who know what you do, the more people that you’ve talked to, the more money you will make in your business.


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