Smart Gets Paid Podcast Transcript
You're listening to the Smart Gets Paid Podcast with me, Leah Neaderthal. I help women land higher paying clients in their B2B consulting and coaching businesses, but I've never been a sales person. My background is in corporate marketing. And when I started my first consulting business, I learned pretty quickly that it's about a thousand times harder to sell your own stuff than it is to sell someone else's. So I taught myself how to do it, and I created a sales approach that feels comfortable, makes you feel confident, and it works consistently. And now I teach women how to land higher paying clients in their B2B consulting and coaching businesses. So whether your client contracts are $2,000 or $200,000, if you want to work with more of the clients you love, do more of the work you love, and get paid more than you ever imagined. Then you're in the right place. Let's do it together. Welcome to Smart Gets Paid.
Hey there, Leah here and welcome to this episode of the Smart Gets Paid Podcast. So one of the things that my clients and I always find amusing is the parallel between selling and dating. And there are so many parallels between selling and dating, but one of the not nice parallels is ghosting. In dating ghosting is when someone just stops responding. No explanation, just silence. And you're left wondering, was it me? Did I do something wrong? But in business, ghosting is also when someone just stops responding. No explanation, just silence. And you're left wondering, was it me? Did I do something wrong? And let's face it, ghosting sucks. It sucks in business, it sucks in dating. It sucks all over. Ghosting just sucks because without any information, you're left examining the only thing you can examine, which is yourself, and it can cause you to really doubt yourself.
And that's the situation with the woman that you're going to hear me talk to today. So in this session, you'll hear a woman talk about the ghosting going on in her nonprofit consulting business, and I'll share with her why that might be happening and how to stop it. And even though her clients are non-profits, what we're talking about actually applies to businesses or organizations of any type. This session was recorded in a coaching call from my friend, Megan Flat’s Momentum program, where I was invited to be a guest coach to talk about selling. So the session is in the coaching format for that program where Megan invites her client to talk about the problem for a few minutes, I get a minute to ask questions and then I get to share some thoughts. So I just want to send a special thanks to Megan and to her client for allowing me to share this conversation with you, take a listen. And at the end, I'll come back and pull out a lesson that you can apply for your business.
Message from Leah (02:34):
Hey, before we dive in, I want to invite you to something special as a listener of this podcast throughout this season, you've heard me mention the Pack Your Pipeline Program, my program, to help you stand out as an expert and bring your ideal clients to you using LinkedIn. And you've actually listened in on a few calls with some Pack Your Pipeline students. And now, because you're a listener of this podcast, I want to invite you in and give you something special. The next live class of Pack Your Pipeline, what we call the Pack Your Pipeline Accelerator is starting on June 14th. You get to work with me and an amazing group of women who are serious about growing their consulting, coaching, and service based businesses. And we're going to put the Pack Your Pipeline System in place in your business in 21 days.
We're going to make your profile amazing and sound compelling. You're going to learn how to position yourself as an expert in just a few words. You'll learn how to get on their radar and get seen by the clients you want to work with. And you’re going to learn how to help those people who see you take the next step to work with you all without sending a single pitch message. So if you're tired of clicking around on LinkedIn without a strategy, and you want to follow a proven system that works and works quickly, join me in the Pack Your Pipeline Accelerator starting on June 14th. And as a listener of this podcast you get something special. You can save a hundred dollars on your registration using the code PODCAST01, just go to smartgetspaid.com/linkedin-accel short for accelerator and use the code PODCAST01. So that's smartgetspaid.com/linkedin-A C C E L, and use the code PODCAST01, but don't wait too long. This early registration offer just for podcast listeners expires on May 16th. So if you wanna work with me to start using LinkedIn, to get clients into your business and you want to save a hundred bucks, go to smartgetspaid.com/linkedin-accel. So smartgetspaid.com/linkedin-A C C E L, and use the code PODCAST01, and be sure to do it before it expires on May 16th. All right, I'll see you there.
All right, go ahead. Tell us about what you do.
Okay. So I am a fundraising consultant. I have a small group of women who work with me. We provide interim and project-based fundraising support for nonprofit organizations, mostly in the San Francisco Bay area, but we can also do a lot of work virtually. I have clients in Washington, D.C. and other parts of the United States. We're not inexpensive. So when we book somebody or a client, it's not a throwaway kind of thing. It's like, if somebody hires us, they're getting ready to invest some money in a process or whatever it is that they want to do around fundraising. The things that are kind of up for me, there are two things and I just finished watching your presentation from earlier in the weekly. I think it was this week, so thank you for that. But the two things that come to mind for me, where I'm struggling a little bit is with ghosting.
Nothing drives me crazier than to spend, you know, 30 minutes or more on a call with somebody we're talking about lots of things. I tend to get a lot of information, you know, just sort of gratis when we're talking and that's fine. I don't mind that at all. And then they get to the point where, you know, after one or two or three conversations, they request a proposal. I put together a proposal, which is not an easy thing to do. And then I never hear from them again. And it just absolutely makes me crazy. So there's that, and then the other thing is filling that funnel. You'd said something in your call about having like three times the number of people in your sales funnel that you actually need to make a certain amount of money. And right now, after the first of the year, things have been really slow and I've got like almost no sales funnels. So I panicked a little bit. So my other thing is like, how do I fill that funnel? You know, how do I get, you know, people out there sort of in the wings? I think the most clients I've had so far at any one given time is seven and that's a pretty good load for us depending upon what they need. So it's not like I need tons and tons of people, but I do need, you know, some folks that I'm continuing to work with, et cetera, to bring along. Was that enough information?
It is enough. What type of nonprofits? Is it all types?
It could be all types. My preference is usually organizations that work on social justice issues, women's issues, you know, equity and inclusion, you know, those sorts of things. But it could be any nonprofit that has, or wants to have, a fundraising program and secure private support from the community. And they tend to be sort of midsize of budgets of maybe three to 12 million, something like that.
Three to 12 million. Okay. How are you offering the service now? Like, how are you delivering it? Like you come in and do a consulting engagement and you stay on? Tell me how it works.
Of our clients, where we're servicing offsite with occasional visits onsite. So that's more the project based support, or if they're running a capital campaign. Usually what happens is, you know, they reach out to us. We have some conversations that they end up hiring us. Then I put together the team that's going to work with them. There's usually a relationship manager. And then we usually have an in-person meeting, you know, sort of kick things off. We have a scope of work. And then we check in usually every week, every other week. We go on site if we need to, it just kind of depends on what the project is and what needs to be done. If it's something like grant writing, it can be almost all virtual. It can just be, you know, they send us a source material we need, we do the research, we put that together, the proposals, et cetera. So what I'd like to do more of, and what I have found has the biggest return on an investment, and it seems is having somebody, and I did this for a while last year, going and being onsite and essentially acting as an interim staff member for X number of days a week or whatever that looks like. And then that's just as it sounds like, yeah.
Awesome. So when you say this is not a cheap thing to buy, like what's an average spend.
Yeah, so it's usually multiple months. And I would say minimum is usually $5,000 and I've had some clients bill up to $20,000 a month.
That’s per month, right?
That's awesome. Okay. So you asked two very broad questions. All right. How do I keep people from ghosting? And where do I find my people, right? How do I fill my pipeline? That is like you and I, we could talk for two days about those. So let me see if I can distill down into things that you can start to work with now.
So ghosting, there are so many parts of a process that, that eventually results in ghosting. That it's very hard to say, why is that happening? Could be because you gave too much information and why on earth would they want to purchase? It could be because we didn't really ask questions about their purchase process and are they ready to make a decision and are they ready to have a proposal? You know? So oftentimes I see women being like, well, I'll just send you a proposal and they're not actually ready to say yes. It could be because maybe you're talking to the wrong people. It could be because, you know, there's, there's so many reasons it could be because you're not leading the client. You've heard me talk about that. You know, I'm really putting things in terms that benefit the client. So it's very hard to say.
I think you hit the nail on the head about they're not ready to say yes. And I, I guess I'm curious, like, how do I sus out without sounding rude? Like, are you really ready for a proposal? You know?
Yeah. Well yes, we can't sort of ask it like that. Right? That would feel really weird. And, it's not like, are you ready to give me money? It's really asking questions around how decisions are made. So for example, who's involved in this decision. Are there board members, are there trustees? Decisions like this, is it tied to a particular cycle in that organization? You know, and really being open to hearing what that means. You know, if they really can't make a decision until their gala, then they can't make a decision until the gala. Right. And then, you know, that gives you great data because then you know when to come back to them. You know you could schedule a call well in advance, all of that. So who's involved? Is this tied to a particular cycle? Those are probably good opener questions.
I said, I wasn't going to chime in at all, but you guys know, I can't go without interrupting. I feel like what Leah just said, like that was such a, because I feel like that also puts the onus back on them. So for them to just be like, Oh yeah, I'm going to have to talk to my board. And then for you to kind of say, not in a rude way, but for you to say, “okay, well, if you're not going to be able to talk to your board for three months, then let's touch base in three months.” They might say like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, wait, no, no, no. We want to move forward with this. I'm going to schedule a meeting with who I need to talk to right away. You're kind of saying like, okay, well, if you're saying this is what it is then we're not going to move forward. And that might light a fire under them a little bit to be like, wait, I don't want to wait three months to make this decision. Let me, let me speed it up.
Totally. You know? And the thing is like, you're an expert at your own sales process. You might not realize it, but you are. And so saying something like when board members are involved, we find that it's best to schedule a call with the board chair. Or we find that it's to have the board meeting and then set up a meeting after that and then offering, you know, leading the client, is there anything you might need for that meeting that I can help with? Would it help you if I attended that meeting with you? Right. So you can sort of lead the client. And if they're not interested in that, or they're not open to it, like, yeah. I mean, you're not gonna waste your time because you are a badass business owner and your time is really valuable. And so you come to me when you are ready. Right. So the other thing is, you said you, you might meet with them several times and you give them a lot of information.
On the phone. And I just, I respond to what they're looking for in a way that gives them a sense of how we would deliver the service and what we would do for them. So I'm not telling them how to solve their problem. They need someone to do work and me sharing the “how we do it” isn't the final answer.
Right? So you talk about your process then? How do those conversations typically go?
So like, someone might say, for example, “well, we'd like to raise more money from foundations. We don't have a grant writer on staff right now. We're not sure where to look for, you know, prospects” et cetera. And so then I might go in and say, “well, this is how we usually approach it. We have, you know, we have a subscription to a particular database. We, you know, we get all the information from you. We'll identify the prospects. We'll meet with you again. We'll fine tune that list. We'll put together a case statement for you.” So I'll talk them through what the steps are to get to where they want to go and what we will do as our service for them. That would be one example. Or they might say, you know, “our development director isn't meeting our expectations.” And I, and I might say, “well, you know, are you setting her up for success? Are you providing A, B and C? And if that's not working, you know, how about D?” So I might talk through trying to learn more specifically what their challenge is. I kind of think about the ghosting that sometimes it's usually they've hired somebody else for whatever reason, but they don't circle back and say, you know, thank you but no, thank you. Which would be nice if they did.
Well, that's one option that happened. It also could be, a lot of companies in organization don't actually know how to buy. Because essentially when you're selling consulting, you're not selling to a person and you're not even selling to an organization you're selling into a system and the system wants to maintain itself. It will go to great lengths and suffer great pain, even though the solution is right there. Part of your sale is navigating how to help them say yes, right? A couple of things that I thought of while you were talking, you know, when you mentioned that in these conversations, you mentioned a couple things I just want to call out.
The first is when people say, you know, our director isn't working out and you start to sort of offer things they could be thinking about or things they should do, that might be part of your process, but you aren’t actually helping them solve the problem. And in all these conversations, you have to resist the urge to solve the problem. You know how to solve the problem. You can solve it in 10 minutes if you really wanted to, but you have to resist the urge to solve the problem. Because if you solve the problem for free, they are not paying you for that problem to solve it.
Or if they think they can solve it. Oh, that's all I have to do.
Right. So the first thing, resist the urge to solve the problem. Second thing is, you mentioned this is what we do. This is what we do, and we do this, and then we do this thing and this thing. Clients don't care what you do. They only care what you do, in as much as it has an outcome for them, right? So these are the ways that your organization will be different as a result of our work together.
But the bigger thing that I was noticing when you were talking was 70% of this conversation has to be them talking. And so only about 30% should be you talking. So what I want to encourage you to do is really ask questions that don't just sort of follow their lead about like what they want, ask questions that help establish the value to the organization. What would happen if this project failed? What does this mean to the organization? What does this mean to you personally and keep asking? Why is that important? Why is that important? Why is that important until you get to a real value? Like the essence, the soul of what they need from this project? Because the biggest reason that people actually ghost is they don't see the value because they come to you and say, we need fundraising consulting. And you're like, here's some fundraising consulting. Here's how we do the fundraising consulting. But there's nothing that says the value. And so once you know that, then everything becomes centered around that. Even a follow up email, it becomes less about like, I want to just follow up on the proposal. The follow up email becomes, I want to follow up on our conversation about helping you reach that $3 million goal, so you can open up a new office.
So if there's one thing I want you to come away from this episode knowing, it's that if you've been ghosted, it doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. It's because you probably didn't have all the information. That's why it's so important in those first discovery calls to ask the real questions and touch on their real topics so that you have all the information. So things like talking about price upfront, asking questions that get at the client's buying process, even asking something like, where are you in this process is a good place to start because most ghosting is about lack of information. It's not that you've done something wrong. All right. I promise.
So after this episode, there's just one more episode left in this first season of the podcast. And this podcast is something totally new for me, which is actually why we started with just one season. And if you're enjoying it, if you're learning from it, then I want to continue it. So if you like this podcast, if you've learned something, if you'd like another season, let me know by leaving a rating or review wherever you're listening to your podcasts and share it with other women who would benefit from what we're talking about here. If you're in I'm in, thanks.
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EP 12: The two most important questions