The Strategy Session – Your Ultimate Guide
If you sell your products or services by phone, a term you may be familiar with is something called a strategy session.
So, from a sales context; what is a strategy session – and how do you conduct one correctly?
In this article, you’ll learn what a strategy session is, what should be the purpose and intention of your strategy session, and the various steps you should include to close more sales and serve more people.
The Strategy Session – Your Ultimate Guide
What Is A Strategy Session?
A strategy session is usually a one on one conversation; usually done on the phone or via video conferencing software, with the aim of providing value, and helping the ideal client with an issue they may have.
At the end of the strategy session, if the ideal client is in fact qualified and can benefit from their offer; the person holding the strategy session will offer them to enrol or invest in their product or service.
What You Need To Do Prior To Your Strategy Session
A strategy session usually lasts anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour and a half; but this is dependent on what you’re selling.
Because this is valuable time, it’s important that you vet your ideal clients prior to your strategy sessions.
The way you do this, is something called a discovery call.
When someone opts in to be called, we first recommend that you commence a discovery call to qualify as to whether or not they’re an ideal client, and that you can in fact help them with their issues and pain points.
When qualifying ideal clients, we want to ensure:
- They have allocated a budget to fix their issue
- Authority; they’re able to make a buying decision
- Is there a need?
- Can you deliver within the correct time frame?
Related article: Qualifying Sales Leads – A Step By Step Guide
The Intention Of Your Strategy Session
Your strategy session has two distinct purposes.
First; you want to ensure you can in fact help them and demonstrate that you’re able to bridge the gap from where they are, to where they want to be.
Secondly, if they do qualify and have a need – your next priority is to enrol them into your product or service.
Many coaches, consultants, and people selling high ticket offers make the mistake of using the strategy session as an opportunity to just talk about themselves, their products, or services.
This in fact hinders your sales efforts, because you’re making the call about you – rather than making it about them and their priorities.
Below is a step by step system we recommend you use, to close clients without being pushy, as well as positioning yourself as a trusted advisor.
The Steps For Your Strategy Session
Below is a step by step system, to ensure your strategy session goes smoothly.
The first part of any sales conversation, as well as your strategy session is building rapport with your potential clients.
Without building rapport, your potential clients won’t feel comfortable disclosing anything and your sales conversation won’t move forward.
Rapport is important because people buy from people they like and trust.
By building rapport, you’ll be able to ask deep diving questions that can ultimately lead to a buying decision.
Related article: A Guide To Building Sales Rapport
The second part of your strategy session is qualifying your potential clients prior to going into a deep dive sales conversation.
Many Sales Professionals make the mistake of speaking with people they think are potential clients – but are not qualified to either afford their product or service or make a buying decision.
By qualifying people early, you’ll save a lot of time, energy, and money.
The qualifying framework to add to your strategy session, is borrowed from an acronym called BANT.
Originally designed by IBM, it’s an easy to remember framework to remember what you need to ask to qualify your potential clients correctly.
BANT stands for:
- Time frame
Further reading: BANT In Sales – How Does It Work?
The third segment of your strategy session is what makes our sales process very different from the others out there.
We teach something called a pre-frame.
The deep diving sales conversation you will have with your potential client, is called the frame.
You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, and ‘frame the conversation’ in a way which will ultimately lead to a decision being made – either proceeding with a sale or deciding you may not be the right fit for one another.
The pre-frame is the conversation you have prior to the frame; in this case, it is what’s discussed prior to going into your deep dive sales conversation.
During the pre-frame, you want to cover three important things:
- Ensure all decision makers are present
- Let them know that you’ll be asking a lot of questions, to work out whether you can in fact help and serve them and their needs
- Give them comfort that at the end of the conversation, it is more than OK to say no if they’re not interested. Also let them know that many people use the “I need to think about it” as a way of covering for no. By giving them comfort, they’ll be more transparent.
The reason the pre-frame is key, is for two reasons.
Firstly, you’re removing two core sales objections up front – the I need to think about it objection, and I need to speak to objection.
Secondly – you’re getting permission to ask deep diving questions, which is the next part of our strategy session.
Using a pre-frame will be a game changer for your business and overall sales process, because you’ll get to the underlying truth faster than using a traditional sales methodology.
Related article: Positioning In Sales – How To Sell Effectively
The Key To A Successful Strategy Session – Questions
The most important part of your strategy session, as well as your overall ability to close more sales, – is the art of asking the right questions.
At The 5% Institute, we emphasise the importance of asking questions because we believe in using a consultative sales approach.
By asking the right questions – you’ll be able to help guide your potential client toward the sale and help them sell themselves on the need for a solution.
During your strategy session, we recommend asking the following question examples:
- Finding pain
- Learning about their ideal outcome
- How they make buying decisions
- Why they’re speaking with you
- How long they’ve had their issue
We’ve written numerous articles on questioning and question categories, and recommend you read them to learn more. Check out the linked articles below to find out how.
- Sales Probing Questions
- Open Ended Sales Questions
- 10 x Questions To Ask A Potential Client
- 5 x Closing Questions To Win More Sales
An important note: finding pain is one of the most important ingredients for your questions and strategy session.
This is because if you can’t find friction or any issues with their current situation – they won’t need to make a change.
The article below details how to do so effectively, without being pushy or breaking rapport.
Further reading: Pain Points & Sales – Your Ultimate Guide
Discussing money is another important part of the sales process and your strategy session, because you can use the discussion to build monetary value around what a solution for their problem and pain points will mean.
When you’re discussing money, you ultimately want to understand two important things:
- What is it costing them by having these issues? Learn the financial and personal impact of what the pain points mean.
- How much would they pay to fix it, and have a solution?
Discussing this here makes asking for the sale, and your closing questions a breeze.
Once money has been clearly discussed, the next stage of your strategy session is presenting your solution.
Many Sales Professionals handle presenting incorrectly and do something we call ‘premature presentation’.
As per our article in Entrepreneur, premature presentation is when you present your product or service prior to understanding what they need solved and hope that something you say sticks and resonates.
This spray and pray method are outdated and won’t help your closing rate.
Instead – when you’re presenting your product or service, we recommend you do so by prescribing it to their pain points and demonstrate how each of their problems will be solved with specific features and benefits you have.
Using a prescription approach as a specialist would, will align you as a trusted advisor, rather than just another salesperson trying to make a quick sale.
Handling Objections & Closing
Finally, the last stage of your strategy session is handling their areas of concern and asking for the sale.
Although many people advocate using word tracks and sales scripts, we recommend not using either.
Instead – we recommend using a simple and easy to remember objections framework.
The framework is:
- Listen carefully
- Repeat back the objection, and ask them to expand
- Validate the area of concern
- Re-frame the concern
- Confirm you’re on the same page
To learn how to do this in detail, read the article here to find out how.
Once you’ve handled all their areas of concern, simply ask if they’d like you to help them achieve what they intend to have solved and have them sign any agreements you may have in place.
Final Thoughts On Our Strategy Session Guide
Strategy sessions are an excellent way to vet new potential clients, and have deep dive conversations to win the sale, and serve more people.
This guide will give you the required framework on how to conduct your strategy session effectively.
If you would like to learn how to do this in detail, check out The 5% Sales Blueprint to learn exactly how to do so.