If that’s you, the good news is that there is a better way to start an enrollment conversation with a potential client.
You want to take leadership of the conversation and guide it through these stages:
- Build Rapport
- Set The Agenda
- Open Up Possibilities
Creating rapport is as much an art as it is a science. All you want to do in this stage of the conversation is briefly establish that you’re a human and that you’re interested in communicating with another human as if you are both humans… because you are. One of my favorite ways to start a conversation is by saying,
“Hey, So-and-so, how’s it goin’? Cool, where are you calling from?”
And then follow up with any genuine curiosity you have about where they live such as, “Oh interesting, what’s your favorite thing about living there?” They’ll probably ask about where you live as well which is a great chance to make yourself relatable by making a joke or even, yes, commenting on the vastly different or similar weather patterns your different locations have.
You can also ask about someone’s family, their occupation, if they did anything fun this past weekend, recent news events, or sports if you’re into that.
Building rapport shouldn’t take long at all, one to two minutes, at most ~5 minutes if you’re having a really fun back and forth and don’t want to ruin the flow. You have a lot to get to in the hour or so that you have with a potential client so needless chit chat is to be avoided.
Set The Agenda
With rapport established, now’s the time to take control of the conversation and make it very transparent as to your intentions for the time you have together with your potential client. I usually do this by asking for permission to do so after there’s a natural lull in the Building Rapport phase:
“I’d like to take a second to set the agenda for the call today, is that alright with you?”
I’ve never heard anyone say no to this. Follow up like so:
“Great. So first I’d like to make sure that you have 60 minutes available to be distraction free. Is that the case? Okay, good. Also, because our time is valuable I may interrupt you at times to make sure we’re making best use our 60 minutes, is that alright?”
Most people are agreeable to this. If they don’t actually have 60 minutes, reschedule another call right then and there while making the request that they be sure they can honor the time you’ve set aside for them. You are giving them a gift in your enrollment conversation and if they don’t respect your time then they will make a poor client. Next, ask:
“Okay. What I’d like to do today is ask you some questions to see if or how I can help you. Some of the questions may be challenging but they are intended to serve you. Towards the end we’ll make a plan together to help you get closer to your goals. If it makes sense, and only if it makes sense, I’ll tell you about how you can get my help to implement that plan and you can ask me any questions you want about that. Does all that sound good to you?”
You’re not asking to marry their daughter, so this is pretty easy for potential clients to say yes to. They got on the call because they want help and you are telling them how you’re going to help them. There’s no surprises about being offered something at the end so they don’t spend the whole call distracted by the potential of being sold to. You’ve told them you will but only if it makes sense.
Open Up Possibilities
Now that you have explicit permission to ask questions, you’ll want to use something like what’s called the Dan Sullivan Question:
“If you and I were working together for the next 6 to 12 months, what would need to happen so that you were completely happy and satisfied with your results?”
This question is great for several reasons. First, it gets potential clients to imagine working with you over a long period and seeing what the benefits might be. Second, it gets them to really think about what would be satisfying to achieve in a given time frame. It’s one thing to vaguely want “more clients” at some point in the future and it’s quite another to want “10 new clients at $1500 each”. If someone does answer this question vaguely at first, encourage them to be more specific by asking something like, “Well, if you could put a number on this goal, what would feel exciting and a bit of a stretch?”
By starting off with possibility you create the space for potential clients to dream a little bigger than they have been and to connect with what they want in ways they might not have even expressed to themselves or anyone else. This is a great service you can provide with the power of great questions.
To keep this article brief I can only outline what the rest of an enroll conversation looks like. Once you’ve helped someone start imagining the results they want, you can dive deeply into how those results might impact them with. Asking, “How would having that impact you?” is an excellent question. Often people are not aware of just how much their lives would be impacted by achieving their big goals and dreams.
After exploring the full benefits of getting what they want, you can guide people into great awareness about what their challenges are to realizing that desired result and where they stand right now in relation to their goal.
Next you want to help people begin to see how they can bridge the gap between where they’re at and where they want to be. Create a high level plan with them and ask if the conversation has been valuable so far. From there you can ask if they would like your help implementing the plan and it’s a natural transition into briefly describing your coaching package. Be sure to focus mainly on how your program will help your potential coaching client achieve their specific results. If all goes well, you’ve got a new client!