A website consultants’ framework for running successful sales meetings. Learn how to ethically convert more prospects to clients, charge higher rates for your work, and work with clients that respect you and your process.
A website consultants’ framework for running successful sales meetings. Learn how to ethically convert more prospects to clients, charge higher rates for your work, and work with clients that respect you and your process.
Hey, how’s it going?
My name is Nick Gulic,
and today I’m going to be teaching you
my framework for running
a successful sales meeting.
Now, I run a small Web design and marketing
agency in Sydney, Australia.
And while I’m good at the stuff that I do,
I’m definitely better
at running sales meetings.
It’s probably my strongest area.
I don’t consider myself a salesperson.
I don’t do any of the sleazy stuff or
manipulative sales tricks
or anything like that.
My focus is helping.
And so the framework is actually
called sell by helping.
And that is what I’m going
to run you guys through today.
This is something I’ve presented
on in the past and taught people before,
and it really does work.
And so I really hope you enjoy the next
twenty, twenty five minutes where
I run you through how things work.
Today, I’m going to be walking you
through the sales meeting framework
that I’ve built up over the last decade or
so, which has helped me get more clients,
charge higher rates and work with people
who respect me and my skills.
This is a cut down version of my course
called Sell By Helping,
and it’s all about helping the person
you’re speaking to rather than trying
to convince them to buy your stuff.
And this works for a lot more than just
web design and marketing.
Outside of me using it myself,
The people I’ve taught this to have
offered services from Web design
and marketing like me, to being accounting
firms, landscape gardeners,
real estate agents and heaps more.
So let’s look at what
I’ll be covering today.
Firstly, I’ll run through
why we have a framework.
Secondly, I’ll run through the mindset you
need before you even go
into a sales meeting.
Third, I’ll run through each of the three
phases of the sales meeting
and finally I’ll recap everything
to hopefully bring it all together.
Someone smart once said,
if you don’t have a system to sell,
you’ll be at the mercy of your prospect’s
system to buy.
What this means is that if you’re not
controlling the meeting,
you’re relying on however the person
you’re talking to wants to do things.
Odds are, they’re just going to be
asking you a whole bunch of questions,
then they’ll compare your answers to other
service providers based on the things they
think they care about and then decide
which one ticked the most boxes for them.
The problem here is that you don’t really
get to stand out, which means you’re only
likely to get the client if you seem
professional but don’t
charge more than the others.
This means you can never really go to any
premium level of pricing because you’ll
always be limited by what the market is
willing to pay for your services,
which is dictated by your competition.
And of course, because you’re just another
the client is less likely to be willing
to respect what you have to say
and you’ll be stuck doing whatever they
want, no matter how terrible it will be.
And in the end, you know,
they’re going to blame you if
it doesn’t work out properly.
That’s why we need a framework to run
because rather than letting the prospect
lead and hoping they magically realise how
awesome we are, we can follow
a process and make sure they do.
The framework will help you position
yourself as a consultant,
provide actual solutions to their
help the prospect understand the value
in what you do, charge more than you do
now, and work with people who respect you.
Sounds good, right?
This leads us to the mindset you need
before going into these meetings.
You aren’t there to convince them to buy your
stuff, you’re there to find
a solution to their problem.
You’re the expert after all.
You might have noticed earlier
in the subtitle of this talk on the title
sheet, I called it a website
consultant’s framework for selling.
That’s because I don’t
really sell websites.
I’m a consultant.
I solve problems.
I sell solutions.
Even though that solution
is almost always a website.
I’m not selling *the website*
I’m selling the solution
to a problem that they have.
When the client sees you as the person
who’s solving their problem,
it prevents them from seeing you as
a person who’s there to just take
their orders and do what they say.
They look at you like you’re an expert.
You’re there to help them
achieve something that matters.
And solving problems is usually worth
a lot more to the client than a website
or SEO or whatever it is that you do.
Let’s get into the framework itself.
So this framework is not something
that I just made up one day.
I’ve been selling a bunch of different
services for the past 15 years or so
at least, and I even ran a consulting
business for a while that taught
salespeople how to sell better.
When I looked back throughout my career,
I realised that some of the most
successful meetings I had,
the ones that I really knocked out
of the park, went through
three very distinct phases.
Firstly, it’s about understanding.
I need to understand the client,
the problem, what objectives they have,
and then generally I’ll go
through a period of education.
I educate them on the reality of their
problem, why they failed fixing it
previously, and then what they actually
need for that to all work properly.
And then generally, I’ll close things out
by explaining how I would
fix the problem for them.
I’ll answer any questions they might have
and give them the next
steps in working together.
So phase one, let’s kick this off.
The meeting has started and we’ve gotten
all the greetings out of the way,
now we’re down to business
as part of the understanding phase,
there’s three key things
that we need to understand.
Number one, we need to know
the current situation.
Two, we need to know the problem they’re
facing and the impact of that problem,
and then finally,
we need to know what they want,
what are their goals in working with you?
What do they want to achieve by having
the solution that you’re
going to be putting in place?
In most cases, clients are pretty happy
for you to do your thing,
but sometimes you might get a prospect
that wants to run the meeting.
So they’ll start with questions
right from the get go.
Or they might try something even
offensive, like tell me what you can do
for me with a whole lot of arrogance.
And that’s because that’s
part of their system to buy.
Now, instead of playing that game,
what we’ll do is we’ll flip things
around so we have control.
If you think about it, generally speaking,
control is with the person
that is asking the questions.
Asking questions means that the other
person is answering questions and you get
to control the flow of the
meeting and how it goes.
So we all get control of the
meeting by asking a question.
And the question is usually something
along the lines of “in order to be able
to see what we can do for you, I’ll need
to ask you some questions, is that OK?”
So is that OK?
Is the question that we’re going to ask.
In most cases, they’re
perfectly OK to do this.
Don’t forget, you’re the expert.
I’ve only had a few people
in the past few years argue with me.
In each case it was clear that they
were just looking for a cheap price.
They didn’t want details.
They didn’t value what I was doing,
that they didn’t want to invest any
time and energy into it.
It was just a commodity
that they were trying to buy.
And each time I just told them that I
Don’t play the commodity game,
because even if you win, you really lose.
Now we have permission to go through our
process, which is great.
The first thing we’re asking them about is
them and their business,
and there’s some questions that we
probably need to go through.
Some of them are pretty basic.
Tell me what you do.
How long have you been
running this business?
How did you start? How did you
get to where you are now?
What sort of clients do
you normally work with?
What sort of services do you offer?
Where do your clients normally come from?
And so on and so forth?
Depending on what you’re interested
in and what you need to know in order
to do your job, you dig
deeper with more questions.
Your objective is to get them to open up.
See, people often find it easier to answer
questions about themselves and usually
love their business,
but don’t have many opportunities to talk
about it without being super
annoying to the people around them.
By doing this, you’re making them feel
more comfortable in talking to you
and you’re getting the information you
need to be able to understand the problem.
This part of the process
gives you context.
So now that we do understand the situation
that they’re in,
we move on and get to start asking them
about the problem they’re facing.
This part of the process is very fluid
because you just don’t know
what they’re going to say.
I’ll often start things off by asking
something like what made you
decide you need a new website?
And then I just dig deep
on every single answer.
They’ll give me something and I’ll say,
“OK, and then what?”
And I just keep digging.
This helps you get to the root
of the problem and also leads you
to the impact of this problem.
For example, if they tell you that they
aren’t getting enough leads,
what does that actually mean?
How many are they getting now?
How many do they want?
How many leads do they normally
need before it results in a sale?
What’s a sale actually worth?
Without understanding their problem
and without understanding the impact
of their problem, you won’t really know if
you’re going to be able to fix anything or
not, or if it’s even worth fixing anything.
Now, speaking of fixing,
once we understand their business
and the problem they’re facing,
we’ll need to look at what
they actually want to happen.
They might have approached you
for a website, for example, but what
were they expecting that website to do?
Because here’s the thing,
no one actually wants a website.
What they want is what that website
is meant to give them.
No one wants SEO,
they want some online visibility to get
more traffic and more leads
and more clients and more money.
So you need to find out what they want,
so you know if the service you’re going
to offer is actually going
to deliver that result.
That’s the point of everything
that we’re doing right now.
Let’s say they’re ultimately
after more sales, how much more?
If you didn’t already find out,
how much is one client worth?
How many clients will it take them
to reach the extra sales that they want?
If you can get this back to numbers,
and specifically some dollar values,
it will make your life a lot easier
because you start to identify
the value of what you’re doing.
I mean, let’s say you have a client
that wants to make an extra hundred
thousand dollars a year as
a result of this website.
Well, how much is that website
worth if it achieves that result?
By making these numbers clear,
not only do you understand the value
of the website to them,
but they start to see it too.
You can also help them
shine a light on it a little bit by repeating
what they’re telling you.
For example, it could be so what you’re saying is we
need this website to generate
an extra hundred thousand dollars
in sales for you each year.
At this point, we’ve hopefully got a solid
understanding of the client, their
problem, the impact that problem has.
And we also understand the objectives
and how much those objectives are worth.
Before moving on,
it’s a really good idea to clarify
that you actually got everything.
And the easiest way to do that is to ask.
So before I move on,
I just want to make sure that I’ve
and then you give a summary version
of what you just went through with them.
If you’re right about everything, great.
You get to move forward.
If not, if you missed something,
well that’s great too,
because now you can go back and rectify
that by asking more questions.
You might notice that so far we haven’t
talked about ourselves and what we do
at all. It’s all been 100
percent about the client.
Doesn’t that make things a lot easier?
You don’t need to try and impress.
You can just focus on them.
We’re just asking questions,
listening to the answers and showing
them that we understand.
That leads us to the education section
of the meeting, which will
happen across three key areas.
Firstly, we’re talking about the real
problem, and it might not even be
what they were originally thinking.
We will run through why previous solutions
failed and finally what they really
need in order to solve their problem.
The first part of this phase is letting
them know the real problem they’re facing.
In my case, it might not be
that their website is ugly.
It might just be that it’s the wrong
website for their target audience.
Or they might think the website doesn’t
but it’s actually the wrong type
of website for the marketing
that they’re doing.
You’ll need to discover what this is
for your specific industry
and your specific client types.
When you go through this process with them
and you explain exactly what the real
problem is, it’s like a light bulb
of realisation goes off for them.
These light bulbs going off,
they are like a currency for you.
The more light bulbs,
the more they see you as an expert
and the more they want to work with you.
Now, hopefully the solution they need
involves your service offering,
but it might not, and that’s OK.
You’re much better off telling people
that they don’t need you and pointing them
in the direction of what they really do
need rather than taking their money
and delivering something
that won’t help them.
Helping is the most important thing
you can do in this situation.
You’re a service provider,
so helping others helps your reputation
and it leads you to better clients.
And honestly, the good karma you get
from putting good out into the world,
well, it can’t hurt.
The next part of this phase is where you
let them know why previous
solutions didn’t work.
By doing this, we show them that we
know enough not to make those mistakes.
And if they haven’t ever had another
solution, then you get to focus on common
mistakes made by people in your industry.
This is all directly tied
to the real problem they have.
So if the real problem is that they’re
getting bad leads from their website,
then we let them know
the reason their last website failed was
because it wasn’t designed for their
target audience, which led to only getting
contacted by leads that weren’t
really a good fit.
Or if they’re not getting enough leads,
then maybe the reason why their last
website failed is because it had too much
information on there and visitors
didn’t need to make an inquiry.
In your case, the reason why their last
service failed was because…
whatever the reason might be.
And you’ll probably have a really good
idea about this going
into the conversation,
but because we’ve just explained the real
problem and we know their objectives,
we get to make this much more compelling
by showing them how those mistakes
impact on the things they care about.
As part of this process,
we will educate the client on why
these things make a difference.
So a real world example that I’ve used
The audience are mostly women,
but the site has a very masculine
vibe with its colors and images.
And then usually I’ll go through
and explain how that works.
And then I’ll tell them that that style
would typically put women off.
They won’t feel as comfortable.
If the site had used more appropriate
styling and appropriate colors
for a feminine audience,
then the people we want using the site
would likely have spent more time and it
would give it more of a chance and usually
take more action,
which leads to more inquiries.
Now, of course,
how deep you go with educating will really
depend on your skills and your experience.
But you don’t need to be an industry
leader to educate a client.
You just need to know more than they do
and enough to understand why
things didn’t work before.
There’s a balance that needs to be struck
here, you don’t need to overwhelm them
you just need to touch on it a little bit.
You need to give them just enough to have
one of those lightbulb moments I mentioned
earlier, but not so much that they’ll
fall asleep or zone out.
You don’t want to come across
like you’re lecturing them.
You just want to teach them something.
This education will help position
you as an authority in your space.
It also means that you’re someone who’s
able to explain things in a language and
in a manner that they will understand.
Now, if you can understand the problem
and you can explain it in a way
that they’re going to understand it.
And it makes sense to them.
Doesn’t that mean it’s very likely you’ll
also be well suited
to solving that problem?
And this leads us very
nicely into the solution.
This is where you get to run them through
what they really need.
were looking for a website,
what does that website need to have to
achieve the result they’re looking for?
Are there certain features it needs?
A certain style?
This part is actually pretty easy because
you’re just using the opposites
of the reason it didn’t work last time.
Now, this might seem like a pretty long
winded process to ultimately tell them
that they just need a website,
but that’s because I didn’t
tell them they need a website.
I tell them they need a website
that includes certain specific things
in order to solve their problem.
And that’s the key: solving the problem.
Solving the problem is
the part that’s worth money.
I mean, we even figure that out
in the first phase of the meeting when we
started talking about objectives,
I can promise you not many people can
actually educate their clients very well.
If you take the time to do this, and you do
it right, you’ll be
in a league of your own.
You can charge a lot more at that point
because you’re no longer just offering
a service like everyone else.
You’re solving problems
and you’re delivering results.
Now we’re getting to the final part
of the meeting,
and that’s the close. Now don’t panic
and don’t let the name scare you.
This isn’t your typical always
be closing approach to sales.
This is just the tail end of the meeting
and it’s where you decide whether
you’re going to work together or not.
You could really call this education part
two, because all we’re doing is giving
the prospective client more information,
except up until now, everything has
still being 100 per cent about them.
And now we’re at the point where we’re
starting to bring ourselves
into this a little bit more.
So similar to previous phases,
we’re going through three parts,
firstly, we’re going to cover
the logistics of the solution,
including how much it will cost them,
then we’ll handle any objections they
might have and then finally we’ll give them
the next steps that they need
to take in order to work together.
So let’s start with logistics.
How will you actually do this?
And this is your time to shine.
This is where you go through your process.
Does the project go through phases?
What are they? How long does everything
take? How many people are involved? How
often will you guys communicate? And
how will that communication work?
What we’re doing here is that we’re
explaining the steps that you take
to ensure you’re delivering at high
quality and avoiding the mistakes
that other people make.
We’re showing the client that this is more
than just going and buying
something off the shelf.
There’s a process that you go
through that delivers those results.
And once they are comfortable with that,
we’re going to let them know how much
they’ll need to invest for you to follow
that process and help them
achieve their result.
Now, this could be something like
“to do all of this and deliver a site
that will achieve the results
we spoke about earlier.
We’d be looking at an investment of around
$X [and it could be ten thousand,
twenty thousand – whatever].
Will that be a problem for you?”
In my experience, if you’ve run through
when you reveal the price,
you might get a little bit of pushback,
but not a flat out no.
They should understand the value of what
you’re doing and while they probably
would have loved it to be less.
They can see you know what you’re doing,
can deliver them the result,
and there’s value in achieving
that result, which is the main
thing they care about.
Now, if they do push back on price or
raise some other issues,
then we get to move on to the next part of
the close, which is objection handling.
Objections are what people come up with as
excuses not to buy, and your job
is to take those excuses away.
Pricing is often a common one.
It’s something like, “oh,
I wasn’t expecting it to be that much” or
“that’s a lot more than
the last person charged.”
All that means is that you’re
higher than they were expecting.
They went in with an expectation of what
this was going to cost based on their
perceived value of what you do.
And your price is higher than that.
They’re not saying that they don’t want
to do business with you, just that they
were expecting a lower amount.
I have to stress,
you do not lower your price.
You just need to handle the objection.
Something along the lines of “I can imagine
this might seem like a lot,
but to go through our process properly
and do the level of work that we need
to in order to achieve the results we are
talking about here, that’s
how much we need to charge.”
If they’ve compared you with a previous
solution that didn’t work,
things get even easier.
“The main reason we’re talking is because
your previous solution
wasn’t working for you.
Now, I would expect that a working
solution would require more
investment than a non-working one.
I’d be very surprised if
we weren’t a lot higher.
Is it worth paying more
to get the result you want?”
Don’t forget, there’s a reason why they’re
talking to you, and if you’ve done your
job with this meeting,
they understand that you are very well
positioned to fix these problems that they
have. You, and now they, both have a good
understanding of what this
problem is worth to fix.
So they probably want to work with you,
the emotional part of the brain is all in.
It’s the logical part that scared.
It’s wired to avoid risk.
It doesn’t want to spend a lot of money.
It’s thinking of the worst case scenarios.
You need to satisfy that part of their
brain, so you handle any issues they raise,
like pricing, time frames,
anything about the process, or anything
else they might mention.
Take away any and all excuses
they have to not go ahead,
until they don’t have any left.
And if you’re in doubt, you can ask.
“Do you see anything that would prevent you
from moving forward
with what I’m recommending?”
Either they’ll pretty much agree to go
ahead, or they’ll let you know another
objection that you get to handle.
Once you’ve got every objection handled,
you can then move on to the final bit
of this phase, where you tell
them what happens next.
Will you send a proposal?
When will you do that?
What do they do with that proposal?
Is there any money to be paid? How much?
Now, in my case, if they’re happy with
everything, I’ll tell them something
along the lines of “what I’ll do now is
prepare a short proposal outlining
everything I’ve recommended here today.
You should receive it
by the end of the week.
All you need to do is read through it,
and if it all makes sense,
you can sign electronically and then
you get the option to pay a deposit.
Once that happens, I’ll be able
to get the ball rolling from my end.”
It sounds pretty easy, right?
And that’s the key to finish strong here,
you need to make the next steps
super easy for them to do.
Time to recap what we covered today.
We use a system to sell
so we can run our meeting in a way that’s
going to help us get the information
we need from the prospect.
By focusing on delivering a solution,
rather than convincing them to buy
we’re not only helping the prospect,
but we’re also able to position ourselves
as an expert and charge based on value.
He’s a model of the framework
that we just ran through.
We have three phases; understand,
educate, and close, and then of course,
each phase has three parts.
By following this framework,
you will get better results from your
you’ll be able to charge more and you’ll
be able to work with clients
who treat you like an expert.
And ultimately, it wasn’t because you sold
to them or did anything sleazy, you did
it by helping and giving them some value.
You listened and you educated them,
and that makes all the difference.
Now, if this presentation triggered some
light bulb moments of your own and you’re
interested in checking out the full sell
by helping course, feel free to head on
over to nickgulic.com/course
No pressure, it’s only if you’re interested.
I’ve set up a coupon code called WORDFEST
that does two things.
Firstly, it will give you 20 percent off
the price, just as a thank you
for watching this presentation.
And secondly, for everyone that uses
that code, I’ll be making a donation of
a further 20 percent to Big Orange Heart.
Thank you so much
for watching and listening.
I really hope you got a lot
of value out of this.
If you do have any questions,
feel free to reach out.
Hit me up on Twitter @nickgulic.
So what did you think?
Hopefully you can see that this framework
helps you get better results in your
meetings without doing anything sleazy.
I mean, you’re just helping people.
You’re finding them solutions.
And, you know, hopefully
the solution is you.
And hopefully that solution
is worth some decent money.
This approach has helped me a lot
and has helped people
that I’ve shown it to a lot.
So hopefully it will help you.