November 10, 2023
Read time: 4:37 minutes
My firm is on a mission to land 10 new clients in 100 days.
We're about 40 days into the mission and we've landed 4 so far -
with 2 more expected to sign any day now.
I'm encouraged by our progress, but it's honeslty been a hard push just to get this far.
We're getting leads, but we're finding that every day it's getting harder and harder to progress those leads through our sales funnel to get them across the finish line.
Last week, we realized there was one big thing we had been doing wrong that was slowing EVERYTHING down (and costing us money):
We weren't being nearly assertive enough!
In each phase of the sales process, we had been beating around the bush and not directly asking the lead to take the next step.
They didn't take the next step.
As soon as we leveled up our assertiveness, our leads started progressing through the pipeline and turning into clients.
In today's edition, I'm going to share the 3 times I have found that being more assertive results in closing more clients.
My hope is that you will apply some of these to your sales process so you convert clients faster than I have.
Let's dive in...
ASKING FOR THE NEXT DATE
It's really REALLY easy to meet a prospective client at a networking event or a conference and NOT ask them for the next meeting.
Asking a stranger for another meeting can feel (VERY) awkward!
So we end up saying things like:
👉 It was great meeting you. Let me know if you'd like to talk more sometime.
👉 Oh, well reach out to me on LinkedIn if you'd like to learn more about what we do.
👉 Your business sounds awesome. Maybe we can talk more at next month's event?
Those are all one way tickets to no-new-clients-central.
They say "Sure! Sounds great."
And then nothing ever comes of it.
Instead, get assertive.
Try something like this:
👉 Let's put some time on the calendar now for us to connect on Zoom next week.
👉 Give me your email so I can tell you more about how we can help improve your profits?
👉 Why don't we meet for coffee next Thursday so I can learn more about what you're trying to do?
OFFER 2 SPECIFIC DATES & TIMES
More than once, I've fallen into THIS situation when I meet a GREAT new lead:
💪 They seem SUPER interested in what we do
💪 We swap contact information and I follow up with them
💪 I ask them when they're free to get on a call to discuss more
...and then crickets 🦗🦗🦗
I even try sending them my Calendly so they can book a call!
...still crickets 🦗🦗🦗
I kept running into this over the past few months.
And then I remembered some OG sales training I got back in the day:
Always offer 2 specific dates and 2 specific times.
It literally increases the response rate by like 100%!
"Are you free on Monday at 10am or Tuesday at 3pm for a call?"
Even if the dates and times don't work, the lead is very likely to respond.
What's happening here?
When you generically ask someone when a good time to talk is, they immediately say to themselves
"Oh 💩, I'm so busy right now. I don't even know when I'm free. I'll have to hit them back later when I have time to search my calendar."
They don't ever hit you back.
But when you offer specific dates and times, they immediately look at their calendar to see if either of the suggestions work.
If one of them works, they respond.
If not, they tend to find something that will work and respond.
Try this out and be amazed at the results.
Once you've nurtured the lead all the way through your sales process, it's important to create a sense of urgency or they may never move forward.
That's a bad thing, mmm k?
Humans are much likely to take action when there's a timeline and a sense of urgency.
I recently finished a sales call but did a poor job of telling the lead why they needed to sign sooner than later. And so he took his time thinking he'd get around to it soon.
The risk is that the lead ends up finding some other priority to invest his time and money on.
I knew I needed to act fast.
So I shot him this text message and it worked like a charm 👇
5 minutes later, we had a new client!
I used to think that creating urgency had to be this fake, sleazy approach but it doesn't have to be.
Only 3 spots left!
Prices going up up up!
Just like in the example above, you can create very real reasons for the client to need to move forward now. It can be as simple as "Hey, we're finalizing our onboarding schedule for the month. I'd like to get you on the schedule."
CREATE YOUR OWN DESTINY
Buyers are super busy and super scatter brained.
You've got to be very specific about what you want from them and when you want it.
I've learned that lesson half a dozen times in the last 40 days or so.
In each case, I was worried that I was being TOO forward and leads would think I was pushy.
Each time the responses were positive and the leads are progressing.
Yes, being assertive feels awkward.
But feeling awkward feels way better than feeling broke.
Whenever you are ready, here are 2 ways I can help you:
1. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of nearly 200 fractional CFOs.
2. If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out The CFO Report.