All statements you make during a sales call either pushes a prospective customer away or draws them in.
I started a music school in 2003 because I enjoyed teaching music. I only had one problem. I didn’t have any students. I made a flyer with phone number tags and hung it in a coffee shop. I waited for the phone to ring. Once it rang I wasn’t sure what to say and the caller wasn’t exactly sure what to ask.
I use to be a waiter in a previous life. I knew how to sell “today’s specials”. Selling music lessons, on the phone, was a whole new challenge. I felt as smooth and confident as a seventh-grade boy at a junior high school dance.
For years my sales strategy was non-existent. I would simply talk to a prospect about my studio and hope for the best. It was a casual, non-salesy and non-strategic conversation. This approach made for a pleasant chat and decent results. I wanted remarkable results.
All statements you make during a sales call either pushes a prospective customer away or draws them in. Declaring the quality of your service and history of success can be impressive. This can also be boring and uninspiring, causing your perspective to retreat into their thoughts (or worse, their facebook feed). If you can articulate your prospects hopes, and connect that with your service, you will be perceived as an empathetic expert. Empathy and expertise disarms a prospect and establishes trust.
How to Draw a Prospect In
“Our hope for our students is that they feel like playing an instrument is fun. If it’s a fun experience they’ll be that much more excited to grow as a musician”
This statement is a simple and natural sounding phrase. There’s nothing profound or impressive about it. It’s more about feelings than it is about music lessons. It uses language about hope, experiences, excitement, and growth. These are all things parents want for their children. Most parents believe that music will contribute to their child’s emotional and intellectual well being. As a musician, I know this to be true.
The “hope” expressed in this example is exactly what most parents hope their child will gain FROM music lessons. It does not make a statement about what their child will get IN music lessons. Save that information for later. Save it for after they are ready to commit and shift from feelings to details. This statement promises a fun musical experience that will help their child connect with music. Musical growth is alluded to but the parent’s real hope is personal growth. Perhaps the parent didn’t think too much about what their hopes were until you expressed them; until you articulated it for them. This establishes you as empathetic and an experienced expert. The end result is trust and intrigue. If you can establish this trust you can then direct them to the musical program that will benefit both you and the student.
Things We Say That Push Prospects Away
“Our school was founded in 2010 and currently has over 200 students. Our teachers are experienced instructors with music degrees from some of the best music schools in the country”.
This reads like a resume. So many music schools use this type of language as their main selling point. This was my strategy for years at my music school. This statement is exclusively about your school (me, me, me). It is an attempt to prove viability or quality and is void of emotions. This statement doesn’t even attempt to generate a response beyond “impressive”. You’re not creating an image in the parent’s mind of their child at your school. It doesn’t answer the question that is implied in all service related industries “What are you going to do for me?”
Now You’ve Got Them Listening
You’ve established your expertise. You’ve articulated your prospects hopes and dreams. Now what? Articulate and dispell their fears! What do parents worry about when they enroll their children in music lessons? They’re afraid they’ll hate them and want to quit. A majority of children quit music lessons after 2-3 years! This means there’s a good chance the parent on the phone took music lessons as a child; hated them and quit. The parent is left with a feeling of regret and possibly pain. They don’t want their child to experience this. This is a great opportunity for you to reassure them that history will not repeat itself. Below are some phrases I use to address their fears and reinforce empathy and expertise.
- All kids love music but not all kids love music lessons. At our studio, we focus on building a child’s love of music
- It’s important that your child feels like playing an instrument is fun, easy and accessible. This will help build your child’s confidence in their musical abilities and allow his/her instructor to then introduce more complex concepts.
This introduces some new language. All kids love music; is a bold absolute statement that is full of promise. Not all kids love music lessons, Implies crushed dreams and disappointment.
Focus on building implies that your school is methodical and purposeful. This reinforces your expertise and quality of service. Easy and accessible implies that success is not only achievable but it is actually easy. Confidence is what you are ultimately selling. This confidence is a feeling that comes from the experience you provide.
Wrap It Up
Closing is optimal but not always possible with this first phone call. It’s important that you give your prospective customer a clear call to action if you are unable to close the deal and enroll the student. Below are few strategies I like to use for wrapping up the call and solidify a sale or outline clear next step.
- Transition to closing. “We have limited openings on our schedule and I want to be sure to find a time that works best for you. Would you able to write down these times or would you like me to email them to you.(Note that these options only relate to scheduling times. They will now have to assert themselves if they are aren’t ready to close)
- If they aren’t ready to close schedule a follow-up call 48 hours later.
- Email the prospect a show follow up email reviewing the phone
Talking to a prospective customer on the phone should be as thoughtful and strategic as all of your marketing efforts. It is your only marketing tool that you can custom fit for an individual’s needs and desires. Your mastery of music can be applied to developing a mastery of sales and entrepreneurship. Mapping out talking points and emotional triggers will allow you to better control your message and help establish you as someone with empathy and expertise.