The festival of WordPress
January 22, 2021

This is an archive of the January 2021 event

Sell By Helping

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.

Speaker: Nick Gulic

Time: 11:00pm UTC
Region: Oceania
Stage: Global Stage

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,

mortgage brokers,

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

service provider,

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

these meetings,

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.

They’re not.

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

couldn’t help.

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

understood everything,

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

generate leads,

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

with information,

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.

If they

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

everything properly,

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

from us,

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

sales meetings,

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

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.

Thank you.

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.




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