7-Step Sales Framework
In this episode, I share a 7-step framework you can use when conducting a sales call. It’s a framework that you probably implement on some level in any conversation you have. It emphasizes listening and empathy over persuasion and pressure. This framework allows you to customize your sales pitch for each prospective student. This approach allows a new customer to better understand how your music lessons are going to help his or her child achieve the results they’re looking for.
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The 7-Step Sales Framework
- Identify the hero
- Reveal the hero’s need
- Soft commitment
Identify the Hero
Many music schools position themselves as the hero. This approach leaves the customer standing outside the narrative while you are trying to impress them. By creating a customer-centric marketing and sales strategy, you have the ability to make a more emotional impact on the prospective customer, because you’re putting the customer front and center.
Well, who’s the hero in this story here? The obvious hero in our story is the child, how the child’s life is going to change from music lessons at your school. But really, there’s this periphery hero and that hero’s mom. About a majority of the time, mom is going to be the decision-maker. Talking about topics that mom cares about when it comes to her child is likely to have a much greater impact than talking about how amazing your music lessons are.
Identifying the hero is simply asking mom what her name is and what her child’s name is—that is one way you can get an edge right now on your competition, which 100% of the music schools I called failed to do.
As Dale Carnegie said, “There’s nothing sweeter than the sound of your own name.” I might argue with Mr. Carnegie that nothing sounds sweeter than the sound of your child’s name. Every time you say their child’s name, you’re tapping on an emotional trigger.
Reveal the Hero’s Need
With every student, there’s a backstory as to what led up to this moment. The beginning of the call is the reveal section. This is where you want to get that backstory. Most likely they’re also going to reveal their pain point. The pain point is simply the transformation that the parent hopes to get to obtain from these music lessons. Write down little key points that you can try to weave into the sales pitch. Ask them questions that they hadn’t really thought about. If they view you as an expert and an authority on the topic, they’re more inclined to trust you. The more inclined they are to trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you, and the more likely they are to respond positively to you if you try to upsell them.
If someone does you a favor, you feel obligated to return the favor in some way. It will create tension in your life if you didn’t return the favor—that is the laws of reciprocity.
The fact that you just listened to this parent talk for eight minutes about her child and you asking questions about her child, showing a genuine interest, makes the parent feel she has an obligation to listen to you when it becomes your turn to talk.
We live in a world where people have short attention spans, but the laws of reciprocity beat short attention spans every time. I think every sales pitch should be a conversation. It’s good to have maybe one or two sentences to kick off your pitch that you have memorized. After that, tailor a design to meet the needs of each individual prospective customer. You’re going to want to weave that into the sales pitch.
Mirror your approach to teaching music as to how kids learn a language. Children listen, imitate the speech they hear, and eventually begin speaking. They will then learn how to read. After they learn how to read fairly well, they then learn the laws or the rules of the language which we obviously call grammar.
Use the call and response technique as an initial approach. As the child plays the instruments gradually over a course of a few weeks, the difficulty level will increase. This makes playing instruments seem easy and fun. Putting a method book beforehand can create a potential barrier that can make playing an instrument seem hard. It’s like teaching a child how to read before they can speak.
Build up the child’s confidence as she builds on the musical ideas she can play. Continue on with the call and response approach for four or five weeks and eventually introduce a method book that will help her begin to learn how to read music. The lessons will be a balance of learning from a method book, the call and response approach, as well as musical games, to keep the lessons fun.
The child then is going to learn about the rules of music. In a language, we call it grammar, but in music, we call it music theory. By that point in time, not only will she be confident in her ability to play music, she’ll be confident in her ability to read music and much more receptive to the abstract concepts that we teach in music theory.
Close (Assumptive Close)
A close, or call to action, is an assumptive close when you make the assumption that the parent is ready to sign up. A lot of people really find it hard when it comes to asking for the sale.
Have a memorized line that you always say. By having that memorized line, you can avoid the discomfort of asking for the sale. Pick two lesson times. “We have two openings on Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday, we have an opening at four o’clock. Thursday, we have an opening at five. Do either one of these work better for you? Mom will either say yes, or she’s going to present an objection. If it’s a yes, have a process for what happens next.
You send an email summarizing what you just talked about. Then 24 hours before the lesson, you received an appointment reminder and you’re not going to be there when the child comes for her first lesson. Instead, it’s only your staff to be working in the office. You let her know exactly what to expect.
A good process would be to send an email to mom the day after her child’s first lesson and say, “Hey, so disappointed I wasn’t able to meet you guys. Yesterday, I talked to Brian and heard Sophia had a great first lesson. I’ll be there next week on Tuesday. Looking forward to meeting you.”
Making a follow-up after the first lesson to see how it goes, mom’s like, “Wow, this person really seems excited about us coming here. And we are excited.”
As sales guru Zig Ziglar says, “Sales is a transference of feelings.” The more excited you are as a salesperson, the more excited the client is likely to be. You want this new customer to absorb your excitement.
“Your lessons are a little pricey for us. Actually, we were looking at a music school down the road from you. They’re $30 less than you. They’re also closer to us.”
One way to approach that objection is to present that price difference in another way. You could say, “Well really, we’re not that much more than they are.” You could break it down per lesson and say. “Our lessons are really only $7 more per lesson. We’re really not that much more than they are.”
“Your lessons are kind of expensive. We’re going to have to deal with the expense of lessons as well as buying a guitar.”
Present to them an alternative. You could say, “How about you start the lessons out? I’ll check in with you after the fourth lesson to see where you’re at with everything. I could actually help you find a guitar for her. I can go on the Facebook marketplace and make some recommendations for you. We can easily find a guitar for under a hundred dollars.”
A common objection that you’re going to come across, especially if you only deal with group classes at your music school, is that the parent doesn’t want the group classes. You recommended that during your pitch. They say “You know what, we’d rather stick with a 30-minute lesson.”
The way to handle that objection is to try to get the parent out of their mind and get into their child’s mind. Private lessons are clearly a higher status. That’s what everybody else does. All of her friends have their kids in private lessons. But if you say, “Is there anything about this that your child might enjoy? Oh, well, she might enjoy the social aspect of it and meeting new kids.” Let her see the positives.
See if you can get a softer commitment. Perhaps you could say, “Hey, that’s fine. I understand that this is certainly an important decision. Why don’t I put a hold a 24-hour hold on these two times, talk to your husband, and then could I call you at the same time tomorrow?” Now you’re getting mom to make a different commitment, but it’s a softer commitment.
Write down the different objections and then come up with ways that you can respond to those objections. Zig Ziglar also once said that when people say no to your offer, they’re often saying no, because they don’t know enough to say yes.
Featured Music Schools
- Eric Bourassa of Forth Worth Music Academy
- Kelly Bennett Valencia Music Academy
- Tim Brokopp Blink Lesson
- Michael Gumley Melbourne Guitar Academy