How do I keep a lead focused on the conversation and not get off topic?

You will come across, if you haven’t already, in your freelance business, where people who want to talk and talk and talk. It’s going to happen. Whether that’s on initial sales calls or kick-off calls, or weekly status calls.

People want to bounce ideas around, they want to share thoughts about future plans, they may even talk about what they did on the weekend.

But as a professional, it’s your job to protect your time, which protects your profits. And I want to share with you 2 things that I use to keep the conversation going.

But before I do, you may be at different spots in your freelance career than I or a colleague of yours. You’ve got different needs and questions. Well, I’ve got the answer for you. Minifigs and Gremlins! You can get a customized playlist of Ask Rezzz episodes based around you, your business, and your experience. Head on over to askrezzz.com today to get your custom playlist made by minifigs and gremlins directed by me of course, that are handpicked especially for you.

When you have a phone conversation or video chat, always set a time limit and an agenda for the call.

These will be the 2 lifesavers for you to keep the conversation on point, focused and effective.

This is especially true with sales calls.

When you are on a sales call, often times the lead will want to unpack and explore their project with you.

They want to start defining the requirements of their project with you on the line.

This is a surefire way for you to lose time and money. It will turn a half hour call into and hour and a half.

Before you hop on the call, define the parameters of that call. For example, that it’s a 30-minute call to talk about any specific questions about the project and if at the end of the call the next steps are not clearly defined, another call will need to be scheduled.

For me this is where I transition into paid discovery. I explain that this initial call is a free 30-min conversation, but if at the end I can’t define the scope of work, then we will need a paid discovery session. I go into what that would look like, which in a nutshell is a paid 2-hour session in which we deep dive on the business and outline the scope of work.

Because I let the lead know this prior to getting on the call, I’ve framed the conversation in a way that if they want to take the conversation over and talk off topic, then it could potentially cost them money to move forward.

Now during the call that doesn’t mean that I’ll be some warden to keep things on track and only focus on the topic of conversation, but I will be mindful of the time.

I’ll say things like “we’ve got 10 mins left for what we scheduled for this call” and “I want to respectful of your time today.” “Is there anything else that we need to cover?”

Things like that will prompt the conversation back on track if it’s been astray.

It’ll also trigger my email that I know they read before. Why, because inside that email is the link that they used to scheduled this call we are on.

So there’s never any excuse for going over time unless we both allow it.

There’s not a surprise that the next step in working together could be a paid engagement.

Everything is said up front and center, which keeps me, them, and the topic of discussion on track.

To sum this up nicely.

  • Set the agenda and email it along with the link to schedule the call
  • Set a time limit for the call
  • Set expectations about what could happen as potential next steps

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