By Robert Middleton - Action Plan Marketing
One of the biggest ah-has you can have in marketing is to realize that the purpose of marketing is not to get clients - it's to get Strategy Sessions.
A Strategy Session is a meeting, under favorable circumstances, with a qualified prospect who is ready to explore working with you. A Strategy Session is also called a "Selling Conversation."
Ultimately the more Strategy Sessions you set up, the more clients you'll get. So the ultimate challenge in marketing is to discover how to get more of those Strategy Sessions.
In today's eZine I'll share 15 secrets to doing just that.
1. There is a step-by-step process to conducting Strategy Sessions, but don't worry if your process is perfect. The more Strategy Sessions you set up, the better you'll get.
2. To get more Strategy Sessions, you need to engage in some marketing activities. Networking, speaking, and emails to your list are the most effective. Your goal is to get a response from someone who has an interest in your services.
3. If you want to get Strategy Sessions you must be proactive. That is, you must follow up with your marketing. One of the most effective tactics is to offer an article or report and then follow up after they've read it.
4. A simple article script: "I've written an article on "Seven Reasons Managers are Terrible Leaders." Can I send you a copy? Great, and can I then call you to get your reaction to it?"
5. Send the article and follow up in a week or less. The avoidance of this simple follow-up call may be the biggest reason Independent Professionals are not earning the money they could. Do the follow-up call. It works and it won't kill you!
6. In the follow-up call you'll have a "Marketing Conversation." A Marketing Conversation is a brief discussion you have with a prospect. Get their reaction to the article and learn something about their situation, goals and challenges.
7. Asking for the Strategy Session is the "Punch Line" of the Marketing Conversation. When you get a good sense that they have a need and that you can help them, invite them to take advantage of a Strategy Session.
8. Asking for a Strategy Session is a matter of timing. Ask too soon and you'll scare the prospect away. Ask too late and you'll miss the opportunity.
9. Don't wait for prospects to ask you for Strategy Sessions. They won't! This is an invitation you need to make.
10. The simplest scripts are the best: "From everything you've told me, it sounds like I could help you achieve your goals. What I recommend next is that we have a more in-depth Strategy Session to learn more about your situation, goals and challenges and see if the services I offer are a fit for you."
11. Never try to close on a Strategy Session with someone who isn't qualified to buy your services. If they show slight interest, clearly have no money, or show little motivation, a Strategy Session will be a waste of time.
12. If a prospect has a clear need and shows interest and motivation, but doesn't seem to have the money, do the Strategy Session anyway. Often perceptions of ability to pay are incorrect. They may have other resources you know nothing about.
13. Once you set up a Strategy Session, give the prospect some preparation work to do. Send them more information on your services (usually a link to services on your web site) and also a questionnaire to fill out.
14. A questionnaire, like the article, is a secret weapon that engages the prospect and prepares them for the Strategy Session. Simply include questions that will let you know if they are a qualified prospect. Ask questions about their current situation, goals and challenges.
15. Finally, practice you Strategy Session as seriously as you'd study a part in Shakespeare. Don't wing it, rehearse until you feel completely confident that you can turn a Strategy Session into a new paying clients.
Note that this process works equally well with individuals, small businesses or large corporations. My clients have closed 5 figure contracts using this exact process.
Next Week: Conducting the Strategy Session.
Bonus: Get my article "From Contract to Contract" that goes into this process in even more detail. It's part of the Fast Track Program and you can get access to it and our complete system for attracting clients to your business. Get free access for a full month at this link: actionplan.com/amember/signup.php
The More Clients Bottom Line: Getting new clients is not a matter of random luck. It all comes down to a step-by-step strategy. There is no strategy more important than learning the art of getting Strategy Sessions with qualified prospects. Master this and you'll never worry about where your next client is going to come from.
Are you making Strategy Sessions a central part of your overall marketing strategy? Let us know on the More Clients Blog by clicking on the Comments link below.