If You Hate Sales Calls, You're Doing It Wrong

What are your sales conversations about?

A couple of months ago I talked to a UK-based consultant - let's call him Tim - that quickly built a £200,000/year practice, although he was absolutely uncomfortable with sales calls. Like many others, he grew leveraging his existing connections and extensive network. But now things slowed down, and he didn't know what to do.

This is a pretty common story. We put together a plan of action and brought over an agency to help with the execution. But in our following calls, Tim came up with every type of excuse you can imagine for why his pipeline and revenue numbers were down.

Looking closer, it was clear what the problem was. There were more than enough opportunities to work with, but almost none was moving forward. Tim hated sales conversations, his confidence was down, he was reluctant to call and speak to people.

At some point, I asked him to walk me through his calls. It was obvious what the problem was: self-orientation.

Tim spoke about his experience. His offerings. How he could help and add value.

So I did what every consultant should do. I asked Tim, "why are you doing this?"

His answer: "I want to make sure prospects know what I do, and I want to understand whether there's something I can help them with."

You probably saw what the problem was. The sales conversations were all about Tim. Tim was the focus of the call, just like if the whole universe was gravitating around him.

So we turned it around. The goal is to put the prospect first. To ask how their business was going, how they were dealing with an industry challenge, what happened with them since the last time they talked.

It took some practice. But once Tim made that shift, it seemed like he was a new person. He literally said, "I never thought that calls would become the activity I enjoyed the most. There's no pressure, it's almost fun!"

Of course, the quality of the conversations quickly translated into a more healthy network and pipeline, and several new businesses.

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