Should strategy calls be part of your sales process?
There's a new sales process trend in town: offering free 20-minute 'strategy calls' to prospects to increase sales conversion rates. Is this a worthwhile strategy for every business? Amanda Westphal thinks not.
Just like active wear and Jeep Cherokee’s, strategy calls are fashionable again. Popping up into sales pipelines, they are perhaps the new ‘download these five tips’ lead generator. My Facebook feed is bursting with offers of 20 minute slots of time-teasing silver bullets to grow my business, help me find my inner entrepreneur, and increase my sales.
But is it the right strategy for your business to include in its sales process?
Do systemise it
Having customers book a time into your calendar is the quickest and easiest way to set up a strategy-call system, particularly if you’re juggling commitments or if you are a super-organised person. But it also has its flaws.
Ever booked someone to mind the kids, or wrapped up a meeting early to call your prospect only to have it go to voicemail? Or worse, have you had someone book a time in your calendar, only to say ‘Who is this?’ or ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ when you call them.
"You need to keep in mind that there is a value to your time. Strategy calls are great for converting leads to customers, however if your dollar value per customer is low, then sometimes it’s simply cost-deficient."
I have the solution. Have the prospect call you. This immediately ensures that your time is spent on viable leads rather than surprising people who forgot they clicked a link after too many wines last Thursday. This can just be a sentence in the calendar appointment when the customer adds it to their calendar.
You can systemise this even further by removing the phone number from the home page and having a ‘click to talk’ button that links straight to your booking system. I found when I added this to my homepage we had enquiries double, compared to when we just had a phone number in the footer. What a winner!
Don’t devalue your time
You need to keep in mind that there is a value to your time. Strategy calls are great for converting leads to customers, however if your dollar value per customer is low, then sometimes it’s simply cost-deficient.
In some cases, your time may be better spent on a regular webinar where you invite prospects to join and ask their questions then. This will save you repeating the same FAQ answers and also blocks your time brilliantly.
When considering adding a strategy call to your sales pipeline, it’s important to do the numbers. If each sale is worth less than your time, then it’s simply not worth it. It may also have a negative impact on your brand. If you need to talk to a prospect for 20 minutes to make a $50 sale, perhaps you can add some more details on your website, or bring a copywriter on board to ensure your offer is really clear; to answer those questions and speed the sale along.
Do double-check it’s working
There’s something satisfying about having a calendar bursting with leads waiting to talk to you. At the end of a Tuesday afternoon, when you’ve made multiple sales calls with prospects who seem keen, it can feel like you’re really nailing it. And you are; if it’s working.
There are always going to be tyre-kickers and if your service is consult based, you need to be careful not to give away the gravy in the strategy call. In the first month it’s great to keep a document with the names of all the prospects, and then work out the percentage that then become customers. The numbers are simple, and will tell you immediately if it’s a viable addition to your business.
Don’t forget about them
Thanks for the chat! Don’t leave it there. Sending the prospect an email or short personalised video will increase your conversions. This is something you can even systemise in your email marketing software. Simply schedule an email to go out a couple of days after the call to check in and talk them through their next steps.
And finally, don’t overthink it
A strategy call is just a chat with a lovely new person to see if you can help each other out. Leave the hard sales tactics at the door and use your 20 minutes to surprise and delight this prospect. People buy from people they like, so enjoy the conversation!