You probably don’t enjoy the idea of selling, but love it when people decide to go ahead with you. If that rings true for you then congratulations, you’re like 99% of the rest of us.
But selling is essential. We all have to do it somehow, so how do you sell to clients, easily, effortlessly and without it feeling like selling to you or the person you’re trying to help.
Enter, Frank Kern.
Frank is probably the most well-known Internet Marketer but has coined this concept of “The Collaborative Close”. It’s so deceptively simple, I had to watch it again to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
The current way
The way most people sell currently is like this:
- Speak to people and ask questions in order to identify a need
- Give reasons why you are the best company to solve their problem
- Follow up until they buy or tell you to go away.
This works. It’s not terrible, but it can sometimes feel like hitting a brick wall with your head. Not fun.
The main issue with this method is that at no point is any of this their idea. It’s your idea.
Bear with me a second, but I need to unleash about 30-seconds of psychobabble on you.
Explicit vs implicit Decision Making
Explicit decisions are made from external sources. A close friend recommending you do something would be an explicit decision.
An implicit decision is one you’ve come to by yourself.
There’s no better example of this than a problematic relationship where your friend is screaming at you to dump the guy/girl and you deep down know they’re right, but you haven’t made the implicit decision to do it.
Because of that, there will always be an element of resistance.
what kind of decision are you asking your client to make?
If you try to find holes in your potential client’s situation and then recommend your solution, that’s asking them to make an explicit decision.
By having them come up with the idea by themselves with you acting as their guide, you get them to make an implicit decision about the way to go because it was their idea. They came up with it.
It’s a far more powerful way of coming up with a plan.
the collaborative close: how to
The first thing to understand is that this only works on the phone or in person. You need a vibe to be there and them to be invested in it.
Let’s say you’re coming up with a marketing plan and they are fairly clued up about the different options but don’t know how to action any of it, but you do. Perfect fit.
First, establish the need like normal, so the guy might say:
“We don’t have enough traffic to our website”
Now you could come back with “We can sort that with SEM, SEO, PPC, Re-targeting.”
But it might be better to say:
“Okay well as you know, there are many options. Two main ones though – there are more instant results with PPC or there are more long-term ideas like SEO and Content Marketing. Which do you feel suits you better?”
Now you’re getting them to choose a very general plan.
“We want results as soon as possible so I think PPC is the way to go”
Then you can start digging into the specifics.
“Okay great, that’s a smart move. So, we’re looking at LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google Adwords. They each have pros and cons. Facebook is a good place to start because of the demographics and it’s the cheapest of the lot. Do you think starting with the cheapest while we nail down the target audience is a good idea?”
What’s the guy going to say? “No, test it on the most expensive one first!”
So now, you’ve got a loose plan to start with Facebook, then move onto the others. This isn’t an overly engineered conversation. It’s hardly unrealistic.
So you’d continue like this until the client has the plan together. You can write this down like a timeline if you wanted to. It’s a nice effect if you’re trying to come up with a long-term plan.
Once you have the plan together, just simply say this:
“That looks to me like a plan and strategy that is going to perform really well. When would you like to start?”
What’s he going to say “No that plan sucks”
Of course not, it’s his fucking plan! He just sat there and spent 40-minutes making it up.
why it’s so effective
The reason it’s so good is because you are dealing with objections in a conversational way before they come up. If you had gone ahead and come up with this crazy marketing plan and pitched it, then you would have had to get everything 100% correct.
This way, you can suggest things, and guide them in the right way, pepper in stories and examples along the way and shape the plan in accordance with two things:
1. What they are comfortable with
2. What you feel is the best idea.
Whenever I’m working on any bigger deals, I’ll always use some version of the collaborative close.
It eliminates any need for sales talk. It’s just a chat between two people about their business. What could be cooler or more enjoyable than that?
wrapping the deal up
Now, once you’ve asked if he likes the plan and they want to start, you need to seal the deal. Just because it seems friendly and lovely doesn’t mean it’s a done-deal yet.
The best way to wrap this up is with a proposal sent immediately after the meeting or call. If you can do this while you’re on the phone then great!
The best way to do this is have your proposal template all done and ready to go, then just fill in the blanks with the details of their plan and send it to them while you are on the phone, asking them to sign it there and then.
It’s a real pain doing this in Word/Pages/PDF so I recommend using Better Proposals (obviously).
Aside from being ridiculously biased, it’s a great way of finishing off an amazing call with a proposal detailing everything and get them to digitally sign it there and then.
Better Proposals is free forever for low senders. Give it a spin and if you liked this post, consider sharing it around. It would be really great.