Episode 39 – Raise anticipation to win more deals, faster at higher rates

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Andrew Davis is a best-selling author and keynote speaker and is recognised as one of the industry’s “Jaw-Dropping Marketing Speakers.” Andrew is a mainstay on global marketing influencer lists and has built and sold a digital marketing agency, produced for NBC and worked for The Muppets. Today, Andrew Davis teaches business leaders how to grow their businesses, transform their cities, and leave their legacy.

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In this episode, Drew talks about the things we can do to build up the enthusiasm and excitement in our client’s or customer’s minds. The aim is to build excitement so they can’t wait to act and inspire them to emotionally pull the trigger.

How to get people excited

Drew explains that often we focus on getting people to commit to one thing.

Take the example of a discovery phone call.

What most of us do is ask people to pick a time on our calendar then let the calendar send them a confirmation. We don’t do anything between the time the person has booked a slot with us and the meeting.

“But in that time, a lot of other things happen and we haven’t done anything to change their expectations or get them more excited about that meeting,” says Drew.

The excitement chart

The a look at Drew’s sketch below

Think about the time you set that calendar appointment as zero, okay? And that’s on the x-axis, and it goes all the way out to the time after the meeting, okay? Let’s say that’s three weeks, just for fun, and the meeting is at two weeks, and on the y-scale, you have how excited or enthusiastic they are about your product or service on a scale of 0, which is 0. 0 is like, “I forgot about this. I’m not excited at all,” and 100 is “I cannot wait for this. I’m going to sign up right now. I don’t mind how much it costs. I’ve gotta do this,” right?

Start, when you set that calendar appointment, you’re at a 50 on that scale, so it’s 0 and 50, you have just set an appointment. Now, if you do nothing between that time and two weeks out, which is the time of the meeting, they are still at a 50, if not lower. If you’ve done nothing, and their life has blown up, and they’ve forgotten about the appointment, and that morning, they had to get a cavity filled in at the dentist, and now they get back to their office, and they’re like, “Oh my gosh. I have this meeting,” they’re now at a 10 on the enthusiasm scale.

You’ve got a long way to go in that one half hour meeting to get them from 10 or 20 back up to 100, so that they cannot wait to pull the trigger on what it is you’re offering. Does that make sense so far?

Natalie agrees that most of us (herself included)) think once it’s booked in, our job’s done until the time of the call or meeting.

As Andrew says, “This is a flaw in our current sales process. We think the goal is to get that meeting, and it is, but the second goal is to raise anticipation of that appointment, so that people can’t wait to get on that phone call.”

This means, you need to do some small things in between booking the appointment and the call that raise anticipation for that call.

How to raise anticipation if you’re selling a service

If you’re selling a course or a coaching service for example, you need to try to slowly build anticipation of what people are going to get out of the meeting.

Here’s some things you could do:

  • Send them an email
  • Give them some homework
  • Send them a short video clip asking them to to think about three things
  • Send a short video which introduces them to your personality
  • If your team will be involved in the call or meeting, help them get to know them before the call by sending a video telling them about the team members (or even a video from each team member!)

What this does is get the person thinking about your upcoming interaction even outside of the context of the message you send.

Get people to realise they need what you have to offer (before your meeting or call!)

Natalie often get calls booked in to talk about the services that she offers and wonders if she should ask people about their current processes, which areas they need help with, what they need to offload to get their time back to embed the idea that they need what she have to offer.

Drew advises saying:

“Hey. I know we have the call in a week and a half and one of the things you might find really useful to make the most out of your time going forward is to track, over the next five days, two or three tasks that you hope that I might be able to help with and see how long they’re currently taking you.”

“Because on that call, what I want to discuss is whether I can help offload some of that time and earn you some time back, so you can better use that time.”

You can even send them a little tracking worksheet and say, “Just post it up next to your computer, and any time you find yourself doing something that annoys the crap out of you, add it to that list and estimate the amount of time it has because the first thing we’re going to do on that call is review those things.”

Making your calls and meetings more efficient and effective

Take your current first call and try to remove all the conversations that don’t give you the answers or insight you need to make a better more enthusiastic recommendation.

For example, the questions where the client goes, “I haven’t really thought about that,” or “I’m not really sure,” or if they start asking questions like, “What services do you provide?

Here, you’re kind of losing the enthusiasm, and it’s clear that they weren’t excited and can’t really place how you’re going to help them with the call.

The goal is to get them to realize before the call how much this is going to help them and how much of an impact it’s going to have on their life if they could only solve the problems that you’ve made them think about all week.

How to raise anticipation if you’re selling a product

When you buy something online, there are a few little things that get you more excited about the product that’s about to arrive in your life. The first thing that tends to happen is you receive an confirmation email.

You’re at a 50 on the chart when you buy that product, but when you get the confirmation email telling you your credit card was processed, you’re a little bit more excited because you’ve actually made the purchase… so now you’re now at 55!

An hour later, you get a tracking number, and you’re told that your order’s going out the door. “Wait, it really shipped? Yes!” You’re now at a 60.

It can go the other way too. Imagine if you go track the item and all of a sudden you see it’s not actually a recognised tracking number… you all of a sudden go back down to a 55

But when you get that alert on your phone telling you your product was delivered, you’re at a 70 or 80!

It’s these little moments that build anticipation of the product’s arrival in your life, to the point you can even imagine the moment it arrives.

That’s building anticipation, and this is an example of it being done in very small transactional ways.

How language helps build anticipation

Drew suggests using language to make the assumption that you and your prospect are already working together.

Instead of using words like “you” and “me” or “you” and “us”, start using “we”. It makes people feel as if they’ve already made the purchase, or you’re already working together and this is how you’re going to work.

Think of the things that differentiate you after a client has signed up with you… can you bring some of those things forward, so that they actually see how you’re different, just by the way that you’re selling the process or project.

You’re giving people a real taste of what it will be like working for you and convincing them that they’d be happy working with you, before it even gets to the meeting or the call.

Raise curiosity

One of the keys to getting people really excited is to actually plant some questions in their mind that they need answers to… they’re only going to get answers to on that phone call.

You need to create what Drew calls a ‘curiosity gap’.

It’s a gap between what they know and what they want to know.

For example, a lot of people are concerned about pricing, and if you sell a service, and the service is highly customized, one of the early questions they want answered quickly is, “how much is this going to cost?”

Instead of avoiding that question, you can create a curiosity gap by actually showing them what other services you’ve provided for other people.

Share the cost of each example to give them a range and then invite them to say which one of these three examples they feel would fit for them. Drew advises to then explain, “Because then I can be ready to tell you how much I think it’s going to cost for us to work together”.

This way, they see that you provide value and services to other people at a range of price points, and they know they want to be in there somewhere, but you’re giving them an opportunity to give you some feedback, so you can manage your expectations and then on the call say, “I know you said your services were similar to Deborah’s, and now that we’ve had this call, I think we’re on track. Deborah is in the £5,000 range. I think you’re probably more in the £3,500 range. We have some things to iron out, but how do you feel about that?”

It gives you a concrete way to raise anticipation but also find the things that people are most concerned about and build towards the call instead of giving the answers upfront.

Natalie wonders whether giving people the different options works a similar way to offering packages for example, or do you think this holds extra power because you’re actually saying, these are actual people that use my services? Do you think it gives it more power because of that?

Eliminate time wasters with the Faster to “No” policy

Drew has a policy with his business – “faster to no”.

It’s about trying to get people to say “no” faster, so that they don’t waste their time with the people who aren’t interested or just want a discount.

For example, let’s say you sell a course, and the course is £159 a month you’re trying to convince them that £159 is worth it.

You need to think about the questions you constantly get asked that you could answer before you have a call with someone, so they’re more excited about spending the £159 when you speak.

One of the things you want to be able to do is leverage this process of raising anticipation to either eliminate people that are just going to waste your time. If you can’t raise their anticipation, and they’re not excited about it, and all they wanted to do on the call was get you to try to convince you to get them a special deal for £59 because they’re not convinced then you kind of want them to say, “No.”

By ensuring that you’ve answered those questions, when they get on the call, £159 will seem cheaper than when they started the process.

Use video to build anticipation

Use a tool like Vidyard or Wistia to customize videos to send via email. Video is really effective in ensuring that the message feels interpersonal.

As Drew says, “We have to remember that email specifically is a very one-to-one medium. It’s always you sending it to someone else, and the more you can customize and personalize the message to those people, the greater their anticipation of that experience or meaning is going to be.”

Use the person’s first name and try expressing three concerns that they might have in their business. This will go a long way to make them feel, “Wow, this is going to be different than any other course I’ve ever signed up for or any other coach I’ve ever worked with, and I can already see and feel the difference,” Drew says.

Making sure that the meeting you deliver maximises enthusiasm

Drew believes that you yourself have to be excited about your meetings and explains, “Most meetings I have start at a 50. People have just come out of another meeting and their mindset is, ‘Oh, crap. I have this meeting. I wanted to eat lunch and get a yogurt, but I didn’t have time.’”

“But if you’ve built up enough anticipation, those people will come to the meeting early. Even if it’s a Zoom meeting, they’ll be like, ‘I cannot wait. I got my yogurt. I canceled my previous meeting because I’m so excited about this!’”

If you show up to that meeting like this is just another meeting, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You’re already dropping the expectation, so you need to be as excited about the service you offer as they are supposed to be. Pitch with enthusiasm and be so excited about the fact that they are there because you got them excited.

How important is meeting expectations once we’ve built anticipation?

All this talk of building expectations might make you concerned about not being able to live up to them!

“I think people put too much emphasis on managing expectations and meeting them,” Drew says.

He explains, “Let’s say your natural anticipation for a vacation gets you from a 50 to a 70 on the enthusiasm scale. You’ve booked a room, and now you’re about to leave for vacation, you can’t can not wait to get on the beach!”

“Now, let’s say you’re walking into the hotel, and you’re at a 90.”

“Imagine the experience is the exactly the same for the two people… One came in at a 70. One came in as a 90, and let’s say the experience doesn’t meet their expectations, and they both drop 40 points. That means that one of them dropped from a 70 to a 30, and one dropped from a 90 to a 50.”

“Now, neither of them had their expectations met, and we know that for a vacation, it’s impossible to meet the expectations of the picture they’ve painted in their head. You’ll never get them to that level, but because you raised their anticipation, you got the one person to a 50 and one person to a 30 who you didn’t raise anticipation for.”

“The higher you raise the anticipation before they have the first experience, the more happy the average customer will be.”

So, Drew advises people to stop worrying about whether expectations measure up to the anticipation you’ve built. The goal is to get them so excited that no matter what the expectation is that you meet, the experience gives them a better feeling because they were so excited walking into it.

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