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One thing that a lot of new online instructors, consultants and coaches are terrified with is sales calls, which causes them to make certain mistakes that sabotage their chances of landing prospective clients.

When I was first starting out with sales calls, I was terrified. I had so much anxiety before hopping onto sales calls, and that was also when my imposter syndrome would rise.

Let’s dive into five key mistakes that you might be making during your sales calls.

Not setting the stage

The first mistake is not setting the stage. Now you might be wondering, what does that even mean? Well, setting the stage is actually setting the intention and setting the frame for the call. A really big mistake that a lot of new coaches make is that they don’t set the stage. They don’t position themselves as the expert, and therefore, they let the client take over the entire 30 minutes that they have together.

Let me give you a clear example of what I mean by setting the stage for me. The moment that I’m hopping on a call with a prospective client, the first thing that I say is, ‘I’m so excited that you agreed to hop on a call with me. I cannot wait to learn more about you. Now, just so we’re on the same page here, the reason why we’re hopping on this call is that you’re interested in potentially working together. Am I right? Is that correct?’

This is a very powerful question that you want to ask from the get go. The reason for this is, unfortunately, a lot of people confuse discovery calls with free coaching calls, which is not what this is. You do not want your perspective client to come into this call thinking that it’s a free coaching session. It is absolutely not. Rather it’s more of an interview. It’s more of a process to understand if you and the client are compatible in working together. That’s why right from the get go, in the beginning of your call, you got to set that environment, so that your client knows that you are the one that runs the show, and that the purpose of this call is to make sure that you guys are indeed the right fit.

Not only this, by asking this question and making sure that you guys are on the same page, it also filters out the people who are not serious about working with you. Now, obviously you would have application forms to really filter out people’s seriousness. But unfortunately, some people do manage to slip through. That’s why by asking the question, if someone says, ‘Oh, wait, no, I thought this was a free coaching call..’ or, ‘Oh, no, actually I wanted you to review something of mine..’, then you know why they’re there and you can nip it in the bud right away, or in some cases, you can talk to them and make sure you can get them at the same level. All in all, make sure that you are setting the stage before you have a full-blown conversation with this person.

Trying to be your prospect’s BFF

The second sales call mistake that I see a lot a new coaches making is trying to be BFFs with your prospect. I have definitely fallen victim into this. It’s very common that new consultants forget that they are actually the expert, and instead, because you want to close the sale or because you want that prospect to like you, you think that becoming the BFF is actually going to help, when in fact it’s actually going to hurt you. Let me tell you why. When you try to be BFFs with your prospect, you then put yourself at either an equal level or at a lower level than your prospective client, and that’s the issue. You are the expert at the end of the day, and you’ve got to be treated like an expert and a professional, not a best friend. That’s why do not try to be BFFs with your prospect.

When you try to be BFFs with your prospect, it’s going to be very awkward when you transition to actually asking them for the sale. That’s why you want to make sure you’re professional from the beginning. That doesn’t mean though that you have to be ice cold on the call, but at least you know your boundaries when it comes to acting like an expert versus acting like someone’s best friend.

Here’s a bonus tip. When you’re getting on a sales call, instead of worrying whether they’re going to like you or not, the mindset shift you got to make is asking yourself if you even like them. Remember, this is your turf. When that person is hopping on the call with you, you got to own up. You got to boss up and realize that it is you choosing whether or not you want to work with them at the end of the day, because it’s your business and not the other way around. When you make this mindset shift, your sales calls are going to be a lot more powerful, and I guarantee you are going to be a lot more confident.

Talking more than listening

Now with that mistake out of the way, the next one is talking more than you are listening. This is a really big one, and even though a lot of people understand this, they don’t really put it into practice. Listening is one of the hardest skills to master. Even for me, I always want to talk. However, that is not the place when it comes to sales calls. Just because you’re talking doesn’t mean that you’re actually selling, and if anything, being quiet, absorbing the information, and really showing the prospect that you’re listening to their needs is what’s truly going to help you close that sale.

Not only this, like I mentioned earlier, a sales call is not the place to be doing free coaching. A massive mistake many people make during sales calls is that they automatically want to help the client. They want to coach them, but guess what’s going to happen if you do this? Not only is your prospect going to walk away potentially feeling even more lost and confused, you might actually risk closing that sale because you’re doing free coaching or free consulting on the call. That prospect might think that now they have some action steps that they can take on their own, so maybe they don’t need to hire you. That’s a huge issue, not just for your business but also for that prospect. You’re doing a huge disservice to that client if you’re giving them the answer right away in a 30-minute call because we all know that a business cannot be built in 30 minutes. That client probably really needs a lot of help. If you’re just giving them a band-aid solution, that client is not going to have success. That’s why you want to make sure that you aren’t giving free coaching on this call, and instead you’re focusing on understanding if this client is the right fit.

In addition to this on the topic of listening, you also got to make sure that you’re not reading off a script. It’s very obvious when you’re reading off a script. You sound robotic, and not only this; you’re so focused on remembering what you have to say next on that script that you aren’t listening. You need to focus on listening to your client’s needs so that you can position your program in a way that is valuable enough for that client to invest. If you’re not listening, you’re going to miss out on a lot of those key nuggets of information that your prospect is feeding you on a silver platter.

Keep on practicing

Now obviously if you are new, it’s very hard to master this skill, but remember, all it takes is practice. So that’s kind of the last tip that I have for you. It’s not a mistake; it’s a tip. Practice helps you make a perfect jump to get more and more success on sales calls. In the beginning, if there’s a prospect you’re not sure about, just take the call anyway. Practice your skills, especially in a low commitment environment.