Captain’s log, stardate 20171102
Sent by Jonathan Stark on November 2nd, 2017
Have you ever wondered:
“How would Jonathan actually conduct a sales call with a prospect?”
During our live group coaching video session today, I did a 20 minute “Why Conversation” role play exercise with a student who was having a tough time uncovering his client's underlying motivation for a software project.
Role playing something like this isn't perfect - because by definition, he doesn't have the answers I'm looking for - but folks found the way I reframed the conversation extremely helpful.
In addition to the role play, I tackled a bunch of other questions from folks just like you. Here they are:
“Most of my clients have been entrepreneurs who are starting off. They have an idea and I help them succeed with getting there. This is an incredibly challenging audience to target however. Nobody on LinkedIn says “Aspiring entrepreneur”. They have a full-time job typically or occasionally another business (in which case they are CEO). How would you go about positioning yourself when your audience is hard to reach? Or would you position yourself for another audience?” (timestamp: 2m 31s)
“Typically we work with clients who are experts in their domain. Because they're experts, they can answer all of our “Why” questions. But we end up building software with a list of features for the client that they themselves have more or less defined. Often the software doesn't solve their problem, so we deliver software that is not valuable, and then the client pivots and tries something else. How do we properly get to the underlying “why”, so we can discover the business goal?” (timestamp: 8m 21s - NOTE: This is the question that spawned the role play)
“I find it unexpectedly challenging to tune in to clients' yearly calendar (busy/less busy seasons; when various decisions are made by whom). Do you have ideas on when and how to get this information?” (timestamp: 50m 39s)
“If someone emails us about a low-risk/productized service (e.g. a training), should we have a “why” conversation to see if it's a good fit, or find out what the goal is?” (timestamp: 52m 26s)
“You mentioned you think of training as a productized service. Do you think training is a good way to get away from time-based consulting? We run a SaaS company but use consulting to bootstrap our business. Could trainings be a better way to fill out our service offerings & fund our company?” (timestamp: 56m 14s)
“I’m still having to rely on hourly freelance gigs to earn money until I make the transition to value pricing. Is it even worth mentioning value pricing in the context of responding to calls for freelancers who always ask your hourly rate? (Sorry I can’t attend the session today - I have a call with someone looking for a freelancer lol)” (timestamp: 58m 58s)
“I work with sensor data, e.g. like from wind farms, to bring value to the business. This usually involves creating management or executive web-based dashboards that are easy to access, understand, and in real-time (updated in seconds). I work with a specialized database, that my customers already have. It is usually difficult for those outside of operations to easily digest this data. I feel this is very general, any suggestions in how to boil this down to an expensive problem, easy to convey?” (timestamp: 61m 21s)
“I sell a highly commoditized service: Outsourced web development for web designers and agencies. My question is what would be the one marketing task that I can focus my attention on to generate leads. Would you recommend LinkedIn prospecting, blogging, or something else? I have a full-time employee doing the actual work. I've never marketed my services until recently when I started a blog and publishing content on freelancing, outsourcing, etc...” (timestamp: 69m 0s)
“Would you be willing to share your tool box list for all the tools you use in your business...crowdcast... hosting. Email. Payments. Etc? You have many landing pages and micro sites as well and they all seem to gel together. Extremely valuable to hear the tools of the trade.” (timestamp: 80m 3s)
Would you like to know the answers to these questions?
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Here's what one student had to say:
Jonathan’s campaign against hourly billing made sense to me when I first heard it, but I had no idea how to put it into practice. Also, Jonathan seemed to be talking to such big companies, I was wondering if my situation would be really something to trouble him with. As soon as I asked my first question, my concerns were dissolved. Jonathan’s a master at active listening, no matter how messy you think the problem is, and he comes up with creative but practical solutions to help solopreneurs to punch above their weight.
Hope to speak with you in our next session!