The Purpose of the Call
On my website and in the emails I send to prospective clients, I often suggest that people ‘get on a free call’. I know that people have questions: What will they get out of it? Is it a hard sell? I’m going to explain in detail what happens on these calls.
This consult call is the final step in the process for someone to hire me to be their coach. Whether they have found me via a referral or through my marketing materials, most people want to talk in person to get an understanding of how the program works, what they will get out of it, the price, and perhaps most of all to get to know me a little.
From my side I have a few objectives for the call.
- For me to collect information to determine if I can help the person.
- To provide the information they need to make a decision whether to work me.
- To determine if there is a good personal connection that would let us work together effectively.
I encourage them to make the final decision on the call or within 2 days. I aim for a solid Yes or a solid No. Any solid decision has value to the person making it, whereas a no by default, by failing to decide, is much less useful. Very little learning or self-discovery comes about from a no by default.
Here’s what happens on the call.
After a quick greeting, I ask something like ‘what’s the issue that led you to be interested in talking with me?’
Then I go through a process called The Wheel of Life. I ask you (because a consult is a form of coaching call, and I treat you as if you’re my client for that hour) to rate the quality of your life on a scale of 1 to 10 in several areas. We’ll discuss why you rate certain areas high or low, and talk about what it would take for low-rated areas to become a 9 or 10.
After this discussion I have a pretty good idea of whether I can help you, and I can see patterns of thinking and behavior that run through multiple aspects of your life.
I often can describe your ‘here’ better than you can and I can usually see pretty clearly how your life could improve. I offer a broad outline of how coaching would move you along this path from where you are to where you want to be.
Now I try to ascertain whether this vision of the future is a) appealing, and b) believable to you.
If it’s not appealing, then we wrap things up there.
At this point we discuss the price and other aspects of the program. HERE is a blog post where I talk about in detail and pricing for coaching.
The default answer once the price is out in the open is often ‘No’.
Why People Say No
Here is some of the background behind this default no:
- You’ve never spent money on your emotional and mental health, except maybe for prescribed medication, so any amount seems high.
- You don’t know anyone else who has spent money on their mental health, so you’re afraid of being out of line with the crowd.
- Or if you have spent money, it might have been with a therapist and covered by insurance.
- You start to think of how busy you are and wonder if you have time to do the work to get the result.
- You’ll focus on the dollars you’ll be giving up if you say Yes, and don’t think about the potential and opportunity you’ll give up by saying No. The pain of giving up the dollars is certain and soon, and the benefit is uncertain and in the future. And we as humans are hardwired to avoid pain in the short term. And this of course is exactly the source of so many of our problems
If you’re a reluctant no - meaning you would like to have the coaching but you have some objections or doubts, I’ll ask if you want to talk about it.
If so, we’ll look at whether this default no has been a pattern in your life until now and see how it may have contributed to your current results.
I’ll try to determine if the no is because you don’t believe that the result is worth the money, or if your doubt is that the result is achievable.
If you want the buy-in of a spouse, I’ll ask how you’ll present the decision to your partner.
When someone is a solid no on the consult, I consider that a success. The consult has provided them with clarity on where they are and where they could be, and a hard no is a good foundation for them to seek some other way to get the result. Or to give up on it. Regardless they are farther ahead than they were before the consult.
After the Consult
When someone isn't ready to make a decision on the call, we schedule a follow-up within 2 days. If the decision then is for a hard no, there is value to us both for having that hard no versus a no by default. I might learn something useful about my program, or presentation, or the problem, and you get the clarity of a clean decision. When it’s a yes, it’s gratifying for both of us to celebrate in person and I can explain the next steps to get started.
If you decide yes, on the original call or on the follow up, I like to warn you what will happen after you get off the call.
In the moment, you feel energized and optimistic. It’s been comforting to be the focus of someone’s attention. You’ve spent an hour in the presence of someone who believes in your potential more than you do, perhaps more than anyone in your life has until then. And you understand some things about your life with a clarity that has likely been missing.
But after the call, ‘reality’ sets in. Perhaps you’ll talk to your spouse, who is skeptical. The background that I mentioned above moves to the foreground. Or you start to feel creative about the possibility that with the newfound clarity you have, that you can make the change on your own.
I point out that reality tends to perpetuate itself, and that these predictable trends will leave you stuck where you are unless you are proactive in fighting the status quo. I'll tell you that the best way to combat this common downward slide in optimism and belief is to make two commitments right now.
One is to schedule the next session, and the other is to commit making payment within some definite period, one or two days.
At this point it’s in your hands. We thank each other, say goodbye, and hang up.
I know that many people -I can include myself here - are uncomfortable with sales calls. I hope that this article demystifies the process, and that you see that the way I do the calls is not an adversarial process.
As happens in any good coaching, you will probably learn something about yourself. And it might be the first time you've set yourself up to take a decision about your drinking, instead of going with the flow. Both of those can be occasions for some discomfort.
But you probably wouldn't be reading this if your status quo wasn't also uncomfortable. Making a change is going to be a matter of trading the old comfortable discomfort, for some new unknown discomfort. But on the other side is the possibility for a much higher quality of life.
If you'd like to schedule a call, you can do so here. I'd love to talk with you.