As consultants, we have lots of exploratory conversations with potential clients and buyers.
But do those calls always mesh with your ideal client’s expectations? And whose agenda is truly front and center?
I heard an interesting take on this during a call with a high end B2B consultant who wanted to hire a coach.
His process: he asked for referrals in an industry forum and identified three possible good fits. He outlined his situation, his frustrations and what he wanted to achieve in a first contact email to each of the three.
Coach #1 immediately added him to his email list and scheduled a 15 minute get-acquainted call. After deciding the fit was there on that call, the coach scheduled a second longer call for the following week to hear more.
Coach #2 had an assistant reach out for a short discussion on hopes and needs and then suggested a second call with a second assistant to determine if they were a fit with the so-far-ghost-like principle.
Coach #3 responded in 24 hours with a calendar link for a call, spent an hour addressing his concerns and offered a price and coaching process while on that call.
I’m sure you figured out that yeah, I’m Coach #3, but that’s not what matters here.
It was the insight he gave me—and you by extension—into his entire sourcing experience that is pure gold.
He was genuinely outraged that Coach #1 added him to his mailing list without permission—it felt like a privacy violation. And the two calls to decide to work together? “I could feel him running me through his program and I didn’t like it.”
Coach #2 was a bit different since he never actually spoke to the coach himself. But he was wondering how all these different people related to each other and who would actually help him. He found it confusing, not to mention time consuming.
Coach #3 was a no-brainer and he hired her on the spot.
Let’s remember, this is a hyper-smart kind of guy, used to dealing with marquee clients in his niche. So those other two cookie cutter sales processes felt way off.
They felt more about the coach’s agendas than his.
The moral of this story is simple: match your sales process to your ideal client and the outcomes they value most.
Coach #1’s system might be ideal for a more tentative buyer who needs to be led via cookie crumbs to be ready to engage.
Coach #2’s system sounds like it might be designed for an initial coach to client match because there are multiple coaches to choose from. Probably not the right intake for a high end buyer, but perhaps just right for a tire-kicker.
Coach #3’s system worked in this case because it was aligned with this client’s agenda. And since he’s a sweet-spot client that means it will work for other sweet-spot clients.
This doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) insert hurdles into your front-end sales machine.
It just means you have to design them so your ideal clients can jump them easily.