Episode 007 – Motivate Your Ideal Prospective Client to Book The 1st Call With You

Last week we discussed where to find more of your ideal clients. The next logical step is to schedule a first call, or discovery call, with those prospective clients. 

But how do you get the ideal prospect to agree to an initial call? 

The answer, in short, is to understand your ideal prospective client’s pain points, challenges, and goals, and then identify the value that you can offer to them in that first call. 

In this episode, I’m going to share a formula you can use to motivate your ideal prospective client to book the 1st call with you, and how to make your ideal prospective client excited for that first call.

If you want to test out some more strategies, grab the free checklist with 25 examples that will help you put this episode into action, to motivate your ideal prospective client to book the 1st call with you. 

In this episode, we discuss…

  • Three most common mistakes when approaching an ideal prospective client to book a call with you
    • [04:40] Mistake #1
    • [07:12] Mistake #2
    • [10:32] Mistake #3
  • [13:06] The Formula for motivating your ideal prospect to agree to a discovery call, and to be excited for it
  • How to position the first call with an ideal prospective client, to make them excited to schedule it with you (Ask yourself these questions)
    • [14:39] What do I think is my ideal prospective clients biggest concern right now, relative to the problems that I solve?
    • [15:56] What might my ideal prospective client not be thinking about that they should be thinking about?
    • [16:20] What value can I provide an ideal prospective client that will make spending 30 or 60 minutes with me exceed that investment of their time?
  • [20:36] Why you might not implement this strategy; 2 common pushbacks to this strategy 



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**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*


Welcome to the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. I’m Melisa Liberman, a fellow IC and business coach. On this podcast, I teach you to become a consistently booked independent consultant without becoming a pushy salesperson or working 24/7. If I can do it, you can too. Listen on to find out how. Welcome back to the podcast, I’m so glad you’ve joined me again today. Today, I’m going to focus on how to motivate your ideal prospective clients to agree to talk to you, you know, on that initial call, whatever you call it, a discovery call an intro call an initial call, maybe you don’t even have a specific name for it right, but to get that initial call scheduled with your ideal clients, and for them to be excited to have it with you. That’s the formula that I’m going to share with you today. First, let’s just make sure that we’re caught up here in the process. So if you caught it last week, in the podcast last week, I talked about where to find your ideal clients, and shared with you in a quadrant approach, what I call the quadrant approach. So if you haven’t listened to that episode yet, go back to listen to it. But don’t do that. Now stick with me. Let’s just assume that you know where to find your ideal clients. And you’re ready to now start diving into strategies that will motivate that ideal prospective client to talk to you to start having conversations. So you can both discern whether or not what you do, could benefit them. So at the end of the day, the goal here is that you’re able to get these prospective clients on a call and start engaging with them as you would as a consultant, right, asking a lot of questions and uncovering challenges that they may have, and ultimately being able to offer solutions to them. That’s where you shine as a consultant, right. But we’ve got to take a step back and figure out how to actually get them on that initial call. And that’s where I hear from so many of my clients and other independent consultants that I talk to, is getting to that place where you move from knowing who they are, or who that ideal client could possibly be into the place where you’ve got that initial call on the calendar, and figuring out how to bridge that gap. So let’s just ask ourselves, why will they get on the phone? Why would they actually get on the phone with you because they’re very busy, right? They’re busy. And even if they weren’t busy, the last thing they want to be doing is talking to someone who they think is going to try to sell them something. And so for today, I want to really focus on how to motivate your ideal prospective client to talk to you. So you can get that on the calendar. And so they’re excited to have the conversation.


So let’s break this down. The way we’re going to approach this today is we’re going to start off and I’m going to share with you the three most common mistakes that I see independent consultants making when they’re approaching their ideal prospective client to book one of these initial calls. And then you’ll see after I share these three common mistakes with you, it’ll make it very clear about what to do, which is the exact opposite, in order to motivate your ideal prospective client to book that call. So we’ll start off with those mistakes, it’ll become very clear to you what the formula is. And I’ll give you the exact formula. I’ll give you a game plan of how to put this into action so that you can motivate that ideal client to talk with you, including a checklist that you can download. In the end, I’m going to tell you a couple of reasons that you might start arguing with me mentally over this idea, some common pushback that I get about this plan, and why those are so important to overcome, not just from the perspective of booking more calls with ideal prospective clients. But they’re so important for you from the migration of feeling like an employee to put on that business owner CEO hat. And so those two things at the end are going to be really important as well. So stick around, it’s like a spoiler alert. Okay, so with that, let’s dive in. So again, we’re focused on how you get that ideal prospective client to have an initial conversation with you, we can start that dialogue and start figuring out what their challenges might be and how you might be able to help them. So the first mistake I see when other independent consultants are going down this path to book that initial call is that they’re making it about them instead of about the ideal prospective client. I see this time and time again. You might recognize this of showing up in this session. Have thinking, well, this person owes me a call because we’ve had this past relationship, almost an entitlement if we’re being really honest here, or you’re thinking that somehow they owe you a favor by spending half an hour on the call with you like they at least owe me that I’ve sent them seven emails up until now, somehow they owe you for something, whether you have a past relationship with them or not, that’s such a common trap to fall into thinking that that person somehow should get on the phone with you for some other reason, besides that, it would benefit them. And a lot of times this comes from what I call a hangover from corporate is because like, a lot of us, you may have had a title in the past, some gravitas in the past, right? Whenever you suggested a meeting with someone, whether it was a client in your corporate world, or internally or wherever it was, they would agree to the call, it wasn’t, you never really even needed to think about so much how to sell that call to them. Unless you’ve been in sales in the past, how to get them to see that that call is somehow for them, not for you. And so that’s where it comes from. A lot of times, it’s just that corporate hangover, and still thinking like an employee versus now you are a business owner, you are the CEO of your business. And it’s a very different thought process, as you’re going out to book calls with prospective clients. And so from this mistake, you can probably already guess that your goal here is not to make it about you, it’s a to make it about them, in order to get them to agree to the call, it needs to benefit them. It has nothing to do with your past relationship. It has nothing to do with the problem that you solve, and that they definitely need it no matter what it has nothing to do with that it has to do with them, and what they need, what problem do they potentially have that you could solve? And why does that problem matter to them? And why should they care about it? Now, those are the types of things you want to be thinking about, as you’re proposing that initial call with a prospective client. Okay, mistake number two. So falling to mind with what I just shared with you. The second mistake that I see so often independent consultants make is they don’t realize they have to sell the call to the prospective client. And by that, I don’t mean you need to go ask them to pay you for it. What I mean is that you’re selling the value of the call to the prospective client, so that they will agree to give you their time, you’re selling them on the benefit of the conversation to them at this moment so that they will give you their time in return. That’s the mindset, that’s the perspective that you want to be having when you are proposing an initial call with your prospective client. And I find that a lot of it’s just missed this nuance because again, we’re back in that kind of corporate hangover mode, where we’re just so used to the traditional interview process, where it isn’t as much of selling something right. The company posts a requisition or we find out they’re hiring. And so we apply and maybe we do some networking or that kind of thing to help boost our cause. And then they schedule the interview, right. That’s the traditional way of finding work. But now as you are an independent consultant, and you’re no longer an employee, corporate finding consulting is different. It isn’t that traditional interview process. Sometimes you may find work through that traditional interview process. But what ends up happening as a result of that is you sell less value to them in the bigger picture, and you oftentimes will get compensated less as a result, that’s the scenario where you may end up with hourly engagements that are oftentimes brought to you by a third party, because you’re leveraging that traditional interview model, versus the model of seeing that you are selling micro-commitments to a prospective client all along the way, including this initial first call, and selling the value of this initial first call. And then when you’re on the next call, you’re selling the value of an additional call and whatever your process may be. That’s where you build up the value and get their micro-commitments to see that you have something that benefits them. This is not the traditional interview process. This is you engaging in a sales process with your ideal prospective client. And a lot of times as an independent consultant, we just missed this, this nuance, but it’s so important for you to number one get these calls on your own without relying on a third party and number for you to start building up the value so that you’re compensated for the benefit that you deliver to that prospective client and ultimately if they choose to work with you. So to recap, what we were just talking about mistake number two, is you’re not realizing that you’re selling the call to them, that you are demonstrating and articulating the value of why they should give up 30 minutes or an hour of their day to you in order to have a call that benefits them. Okay, mistake number three. And this is related. But taking a step back a little bit is not even realizing what selling is. A lot of independent consultants that I talked to, we have this frame of reference from corporate again, of what is selling, right, I’m sure you’ve probably been like me a subject matter expert out on a lot of sales calls. And the model of selling that we witnessed or were part of was probably not the type of sales process that we want to deliver to our ideal prospective clients moving forward, we want to sell what we can deliver, and we want to not embellish or overcorrect, we want to get to the place where they trust us this ideal prospective client, right. So with that in mind, I want to make sure that I’m constantly giving you this reset in terms of what selling is because it is such a hurdle for other independent consultants like you. And that is that sales at the heart of it is an exchange of value, that you are either giving them a service that is an exchange for their money, or perhaps you’re giving them knowledge in exchange for their time, in this case, whatever it might be, but it’s simply an exchange of value. So if you can take a step back, to avoid mistake number three, and really think about sales as an exchange of value, and that you’re selling step by step by step to the prospective clients. In this case, today, we’re talking about how I sell the idea of them giving me 30 minutes or an hour of their time, in exchange for the value that I’m going to provide to them. That’s what selling is, it doesn’t have to be a bad taste in your mouth. And so looking at this process of how to motivate your ideal client to talk to you and to schedule, that initial call, we really want to ultimately avoid those three mistakes, we don’t want to make it about you, we want to make it about that ideal prospective client, we want to really recognize that we’re selling the call to them not expecting the call, or not somehow feeling we got lucky that we got the call that we’re selling the value to them. And that’s from the place of understanding what selling is, which is offering value in exchange for either time or money. So think about those three mistakes, and essentially, that creates our formula for us. So the answer is the simplest terms, the way to motivate your ideal prospective client to agree to that initial call with you, or whatever you call it an initial call a discovery call and intro call whatever it is, the answer to motivate that prospective client is to make it valuable to them, to sell them on the value of them giving you their time. And to see that selling is value, you’re going to deliver value to them. And that’s why they should give you 30 minutes or an hour of their time or whatever it is that you’re proposing. That’s the simplest formula. And it helps you get out of your own head. You don’t have to worry about all of the things that come into play here. All of the mind drama right about am I good at sales? Or am I not? Or what will I know what to say? Or will I not? Or will they agree to this? Or will they not shift your mindset to focus on them instead of you can lift up so much pressure just in and of itself. So that is the formula for you. And I’m gonna give you some very more tangible tips on how to actually put this into action. But again, the formula is to make the call that first call valuable to them and sell them on the benefit of why they should give you their time in exchange for the value you’re going to deliver to them. So with that you’re probably now asking, So Melisa, how do I make it valuable? So I’m going to share with you three questions about how to make this call valuable that you can ask yourself and get the answer to these questions for your own scenario. We’ll make it really straightforward why spending 30 minutes with you or an hour is going to be so valuable. And you can go to the show notes and find these questions so you don’t have to write them out furiously as I go through them. But these three questions can really open up your mind to figure out how do I add value and get their attention and motivate them to get on that first call? So the first question is, if you’re in your prospective clients’ heads, what do you think is the biggest concern they have right now? Obviously, relative to the problems that you solve. So again, if you’re in their head, think about what is the biggest concern that your ideal prospective client has right now? You could find that in the news, right? If they’re a public company, especially, or maybe you know that they use certain software, and you know, what’s happening to that software? Maybe it’s getting retired, whatever it is, what is their biggest concern right now, relative to a problem that you could solve? And then based on whatever that answer is, you can figure out how to add value immediately within the context of this first call. The second question is, what might my ideal prospective client not be thinking about that they should be? Again, relative to the problem that you solve? What could you bring to their attention, that they may not even be thinking about, because they’re so down in the weeds, that you’re almost a lifesaver to them because you’re helping them to take a step back, see the big picture and recognize risks that they may not have recognized? And the third question you can ask yourself about how to create the value, how to motivate the prospective client to get on a call with you, is asking yourself, what value can you provide that would make spending 30 or 60 minutes with you exceed that investment of their time? So let’s just look at this from math, right? Just calculate what is their time worth? It’s probably $1,000 an hour, whatever it is, we’re just guessing, right? Not literal here. But just guessing. So it’s $500 $1,000 an hour, whatever that time is, what could you be providing to them, that’s worth more than $1,000. If you’re able to tell them, hey, you know, there’s something happening in the industry that you may or may not be aware of, I really want to make you aware of that, that could be worth millions of dollars, right? But making them aware of that could certainly exceed the worth of their time $1,000, as that example. So those are the three questions you can ask yourself to figure out, how can I, what could I create? What kind of a proposal or mini proposal could I create to say to these ideal prospective clients, I would love to talk with you about this thing that you may be facing in order to get them to be motivated and excited to book a call with you to book that time with you. So let me just give you some really tangible examples here that have worked for my clients and other independent consultants that I’ve talked to about this strategy. And so the first one is offered to share a strategy that’s worked for competitors or others in the industry that is where your ideal client is. So you know, it’s kind of using FOMO. Right? Oh, I’ve noticed that when you’re suggesting or offering the first call to this prospective client. talk with them about the type of trends you’re seeing in the industry, and what’s working for their competitors, which always gets people interested, what might they be missing out on that others are leveraging, and they don’t want to be behind. And I’m not saying to manufacture this, like, you need to have the strategy, right. But you probably do have the strategy. And so let’s use it to your advantage to understand what the industry trends are, for example, without obviously sharing trade secrets or whatever, right? The next concept that works really well in this way is suggesting an audit, like a short audit or maybe a process like all come in and do an initial assessment of your agile process. By asking you 10 simple questions, you’re not asking for their entire team’s time, right, you’re just asking for 30 minutes of their time to do an initial audit or an initial assessment. Or you could even give them a toolkit or some templates, or a quick clinic that walks them through a simple problem that you can solve and teaches them a framework. There are so many different ideas once you are in their head and know where they’re, you know where their challenges are, that you can offer as an initial reason to motivate them to get on an on a call with you. And you could also do this in more of a group setting like conducting a workshop or a webinar or roundtable with peers or people that are in similar situations in different industries. There are so many different ways that you can create the motivation for your ideal prospective client to get on a call with you and to be excited to do so. So that gives you a couple of tangible ideas that can get the juices flowing for you. I also made you a checklist with 25 other ideas you can go over to my website, and this will be in the show notes. But you can go over to my website, Melisaliberman.com/motivate, and download that to start getting, getting this idea in place for yourself that you can use as a really simple easy to go to plan of attack that you can really use on repeat to get those ideal clients on the phone for that initial first call. Okay, I promised that I would say to you, where you might think this won’t work for you, or where you might be objecting to the strategy that I’m suggesting to you today and recommending you today. Here are the two things that I hear most commonly, from a pushback perspective. Number one, my time is my asset, and I shouldn’t have to give it away for free. I want to be compensated for it. I hear that a lot. Or I also hear I, I’m afraid I’ll give away too much, and then they won’t need me. And what I want to point out to you right now, is that this kind of thinking, are you thinking like an hourly employee, and not like the business owner that you are, as a business owner, you need to invest time and money just like any other business does, in order to generate leads, and ultimately clients and ultimately revenue. If you’re, you know, questioning the strategy that I’m giving you right now feeling like it’s going to be giving away something that you should be paid for, I want to redirect that and really offer to you that if you’re thinking like a business owner and the CEO that you are, then it’ll be really clear to you that this is part of doing business part of the business development process, and hopefully take away that concern you might have. Okay, let’s wrap all of this up together. As always, I really encourage you to go put what I shared with you today into action. So download that list of 25 ways that you can make this initial call a no-brainer. For your ideal prospective client 25 tools, there is a list of 25 tools that you can use to sell the value of your ideal client getting on that first call with you. And so you can look at the show notes for the link. It’s Melisaliberman.com/motivates. Go figure out what tool works best for you. You don’t need more than one, go figure out which of the tools that I shared with you, can you apply to your specific business, and then go out and start using it, use it as a way to encourage and motivate your ideal prospective client to book a call with you because they see it as an investment in their time. That’s a far greater value than those 30 minutes or 60 minutes that they’re giving you. All right. That’s what I’ve got for you today. So based on last week’s episode, we knew and we know how to use the quadrant technique to find your ideal client. And today we know how we’ve learned how to motivate them to book that initial call. And so tune in next week when I’m going to share with you the insights on how to conduct that first call, and how to get them interested in the work that you’re doing without you feeling awkward. So I look forward to seeing you again here again next week. Thank you for tuning in.


Thanks for joining me this week on the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. If you like today’s episode, I have three quick next steps for you. First, click Subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to make sure you don’t miss future episodes. Next, leave me a review in your podcast app so other independent consultants can find a benefit, and finally put the ideas from today’s episode into action. Head over to Melisaliberman.com for the show notes and more resources to help you grow your consulting practice from your first few projects into a full-fledged business. See you next week.

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