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How do you get actual sales from calls and meetings?

Welcome back to episode 8 of my 31 Day Challenge, where I'm answering your questions about creating a career or business that you love. In today's episode, I'm answering your question, which is kind of a follow up to episode two, which is all about finding clients and the reasons why a client might be interested. In that episode, we talked about how to reach out to clients using a cold email formula, which has been amazing to hear the feedback already from people saying that, that email template has already landed them work. So just that, you know, that 20 minute free podcast that I've put out into the universe has already made people money, which is very, very exciting.


But one of the kind of follow ups I'm hearing is people asking, once I've got the the person to kind of reply and say yes, I want to discuss this further, or I'm interested, I want to hear more. How do you move that client from being just someone who's interested, or what we call a warm lead in business, to actually making them a client and making the sale? So that's what we're talking about in this episode.

This is a full transcript of the episode. Instead, you can listen and subscribe here:

So let's dive in, shall we? So the million dollar question, how do you turn someone that is slightly interested or curious or vaguely kind of thinks that 360And VR might be a solution for them? Like, how do you turn them from that, into someone that gives you their cold, hard cash, and becomes a client of yours? Well, there's a few different factors in this and a part of the equation is, is a little bit less formulaic than the previous episode, where we talked about, you know, an actual strategy, about how to actually get someone to reply to your emails, or how to kind of make it appealing and how to sell someone on the idea of 360 VR. This bit, the converting them into a client is a little bit…it's a little bit more of an art. I want to say right up the top, that 99% of the reason that they will decide to buy or not has nothing to do with you, especially if you're talking with a business where, you know, there's multiple decision makers, or there's budgets at play, or there's things like the timings of everything. So, in fact, let's just kind of look at some of those reasons why someone might or might not be in a position to buy.


So, I mean, I've kind of just already outlined them but timing is huge. If the timings right for that business in particular, they might have like a marketing schedule, kind of planned out months in advance. So it might be that, you know, they just want to hear more, but then they want to follow up with you, or they want you to follow up with them when they've got space in their marketing calendar. So a lot of it is timing, like, have you got them at the right kind of time? And another big one will be price and we'll talk about that in a second. But, you know, do they have enough budget right now? Are they just kind of curious about budgets, finding out what it's going to cost, so they can factor into next year's budget, or, you know, are they just they have absolutely no idea how much something like this would cost and they want to get an idea? So they can then pitch it into their kind of managers or the more senior decision makers. There's loads of different factors and another massive one, which is in your control, is the product actually right for them? Because it's all well and good that they are that you've hooked them in with this great email or this great call, whatever it is, however they've found you, and it's great, you've hooked them in, but then you've actually got to have the social proof to be able to kind of prove that your product is right for them.


So that could come in the form of your portfolio. Do you have some really nice case studies? Can you show them something where they go yes, that is absolutely right for our business, that absolutely is in line with what we want to do? And another thing might come down to, are you a good communicator? Often you'll hear people say that they, you know, they have business partners, because they're not very good at talking to people. And really, if you're going to be in the kind of client service business, you've got to be a good communicator, and it might come down, you know, the reality is it, it might come down to do you and that potential client and you know, do you have a good conversation? Are you a great communicator? That kind of gives that client, the confidence that you'll be really easy to work with, and you'll understand what they want. So, you know, there's a few different factors and ultimately, any one of those factors could be the deciding thing that they don't go with you. And I think it might be a relief for a lot of you listening that a lot of the times when they decide to not go with you, usually t's kind of out of your control. And, and if they do decide not to kind of pursue it with you, if they decide not to kind of go through with the sale, make sure you understand which one of those factors played into it. Because you can always improve and if it's a case of timing or budget, then you've always got that wiggle room to be able to go back to them. If it's a timeline thing, maybe you suggest -okay, absolutely fine. Why don't we arrange to follow up in a few weeks time? Or, you know, next month? Wherever it may be, and then you put a note in the calendar, and you've already set that expectation that you will be following up, so you're not going to just let that kind of that lead go. If it's a budget thing, then you've got that wiggle room to be able to say - oh, well, how about we do a kind of a smaller pilot project, you know, it would cost half the money, or this is when you can kind of use your instincts and decide whether or not this client might be potentially a long term kind of partner. And who might, let's say, for example, I know I use the real estate industry quite often as an example but it's a good one. If you find a real estate partner, or a hotel chain or something like that, chances are, there's not just one video or tour that you'd be doing; it would be multiple. So maybe start to kind of have a think about, what could you offer this client, could you offer them a package deal? Could you, you know, make it look as if you're lowering your price, but actually, you're cleverly thinking about the long term partnership. So it's really important that if they do say - oh, actually, you know, this isn't right for us at the moment, make sure that you drill into why? But in terms of like how do you give yourself the best chance to convert them?


So they're interested, you've arranged a call, because I would always recommend that. If someone says - yes, I'm interested in an email, and they say, what are your prices? Never, ever, ever reply with prices! You can reply with something like - well, that depends, there's various different levels, there's various different packages that I offer, why don't we jump on a quick call, so I can understand a little bit more about your business and what you're looking for and then I can give you a better indication of price? And it might be and I've had this several times, if a client isn't serious, then they might reply and say - oh no, to be honest, I've only got a specific budget, so I'm looking for a specific price or something like that, in which case, you can make the decision to say a price BUT if you just reply to an email like that, and say - Oh, it's going to be £400, or $400, or whatever it is, you might lose them entirely. They need context. So I would always try and get them on the phone. Let's have a chat and make sure again and we talked about this in episode 2, make sure that you are presenting it like you are giving them value, you want to understand their business is all about them. It's not about you, it's not about you getting on a call to talk about your services and your products and your virtual tours and your experience. No, it's all about them. I want to understand your business. I want to understand what you want and I want to understand what kind of product would be the best fit for your goals.

Okay, so then you get them on the phone and this could be a phone or video chat or in a covid world, a social distance coffee, you know, whatever it might be, you're with that person. And now the key is again, it's all about them. So you want to ask them, be curious people, especially if they're quite high up at a company and especially if it's their own company, they'll love to talk about it. They’ll love to, you know, give you the backstory so be curious. Essentially, this is kind of your opportunity to make a really good impression. I'm going to tell you something, which is going to come as no surprise to you, but sometimes you just need to hear it. If they like you, there is a very strong chance that they will hire you, even if your work is not that great.


I don't know whether you've heard about this, I think it's in a Neil Gaiman book. In a commencement speech that he did, he talks about one of his realisations of freelance work and this is probably going to be a separate episode when I talk about the realities of working for yourself. But the realities are, there's kind of three elements to it and there's three elements to whether you get hired, and you only ever need two out of three. So you either the client either likes you, you deliver on time, or you deliver really high quality work, but you only ever need two, so they can like you and you deliver on time and they'll pay and they don't really mind, the kind of quality of the work. And you can have high quality work and deliver on time, and maybe they don't like you as much. But really, if they like you, and you deliver high quality work, they won't mind like if you're a little bit late delivering, right? So this idea that actually, and I talk about this all the time, but business is a people's game. So if you get on with that person, I'm not suggesting you go in there manipulating them and, you know, turning up the charm-o-meter to really kind of manipulate them, but you know, just be yourself. Be curious, don't go in there like a sales robot. I think people have this idea of sales and the funniest thing to me is when I get this…so I can't tell you how many times I get this when people find out what I do. And not to generalise her, but it tends to be older men who have experience or think that they're big shots, because they've had loads of experience in business consultancy, or sales. And, within a couple of sentences of like finding out what I do, or maybe someone's introduced us, and they kind of say what they do, all they do is bang on about themselves and their inexperience and I always leave the conversation thinking - wow, that's that old school like sales mentality. That doesn't work anymore. It does not work. I'm telling you now, maybe it works if, you're speaking to someone who's really, really old school and is fooled easily by someone that basically just big themselves up and is really arrogant but if someone had a friend that constantly talked about themselves and constantly talked about how good they are, and how…you know, would you be their friend? Probably not, so try and think of it that way. So put all the emphasis on the client, all the emphasis on them, get them to talk about their business, get them to talk about what their goals are with something like a 360 video or a virtual tour or a VR training experience, whatever it might be, get them to talk about their goals, because then all you're doing is collecting data that you can then pitch back to them. So this is the beauty of like listening to someone, basically you just repackage what they said back to them and they think you're the best and basically they're like, that’s exactly what I want. And in your head, you're thinking -well, yes, that's because that's exactly what you just told me you want. But people are so used to being talked at with sales or being told what to do that actually when you use that reverse tactic on them, it’s a bit more interesting. So let me give you a tangible example. So I go into…let’s say I go into a factory, and they want a VR training experience, right? This is what we've kind of been talking about over email, they think it could be a really good fit. They're excited about it. They want me to come in. So I go in, and I asked them about the training that they currently do. I asked them about what they're trying to improve. I asked them why they're thinking about VR and what appeals to them. And I ask them, how it will fit into the larger picture for them. I asked them about their timelines. I even might at that point, maybe even ask them about their budgets, but not really because I know that I want to kind of set the tone for how much this is going to cost. So anyway, so once I've asked them all of those things, then I basically could go back to them and say - okay, brilliant, well, what I'm hearing then is that because you want this to be a training experience that can be delivered to a large group of people at a time, what I would suggest is, you go for something more like a 360 video training than game based VR training that's interactive purely because then you can make sure it's easier to facilitate, because the user has to do less. So the learning curve is a lot less steep but also be cheaper, because you don't have to invest in what we call sixth off headsets, you could just invest in some three degrees of freedom headsets and you could repurpose the content and potentially even make it into 2D training, you will ensure that everyone finishes at the same time because it will be a linear experience rather than interactive, which means it'll be easier to programme into a wider VR training and kind of a wider kind of training programme. You could also use it at events and things like that, and so there's a few different reasons why I think that this would be a good fit for you. But you know, that's what I would suggest and also given your timelines, I would suggest that because it would take a lot less and also the kind of training that you've suggested that you want relies really heavily on the emotional connection. And I think personally that photo realism is really important with that emotional connection. So having it be photorealistic, which currently isn't as achievable in game based VR, and would be a lot more expensive to be a real, photorealistic, all of these reasons lead me to believe that you would probably benefit from a 360 video training programme. So in terms of a budget, that might be XYZ.


So basically, all I've done there is I've listened to them, and I now I'm pitching them exactly what they want and then it will come down to timing budget, all the things we already outlined but I've given myself the best possible chance to get that work because if I went into that situation, and I said - okay, let me tell you all about myself, so let me tell you, I'm a VR creator and I think we could do VR training, that could be anything, right? We could have a kind of interactive game based project where people get to choose their life choices and we could, you know, we could, I don't know, have it multi user, blah, blah, blah and I'm making all these assumptions, and none of it is relevant to them, because I'm just speaking jargon, and they can't really picture what that might look like. And also, I would come to learn that is absolutely the opposite of what would actually be good for them and be functional. Because ultimately, if I just listened in the first place, I would have understood very quickly what kind of thing they'd be looking for. And again, they don't know the technical terms, they can't necessarily visualise, especially if they've not done any VR before. In that example, I would definitely take a VR headset to show them an example of something like a 360 video and obviously, in a COVID world, you can't necessarily do that remotely, but you want to try and paint them as much of a picture as possible. The best way to do that is by using their own language, and using things, using analogies that they will understand and the best way to do that is to find out about their world in the first place. That's the thing, as a self employed person, as someone that owns their own business or someone that kind of works themselves, you have to be an expert in a little bit of everything, right? But you don't need to go in and find out about the intricacies of factory training in order to be able to go into that meeting and kind of know what to say. All you need to do is be a good question person or a good listener person that can understand the client's needs from their point of view, not from yours.


I hope you enjoyed this episode and if you did, or if you have a question for a future episode, send me a message. My handle is @alexmakesvr on Instagram and Twitter or you can send me a longer question at alexmakesvr@gmail.com. If you want to sign up for daily reminders when this episode goes live, but also get a bit of a rundown of what I talked about in that episode, you can sign up to the newsletter below.


Okay, thanks so much for listening and I'll speak to you tomorrow.

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