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Anatomy of a Sales Call

In this real-world initial sales call, I’m the “prospect” considering a doing a paid training program. Granted, I’m not your typical buyer as a Business Development Coach and business consultant for over two decades. My purpose is to give you a rare opportunity to get inside a potential buyer’s thinking.

The Backstory

I’d signed up for a free webinar on a subject that interests me. I actually showed up because the promo sounded content rich.

A secondary unannounced speaker touched a few points on an unrelated subject that intrigued me. I signed up for a “Discovery Call” with Mike (not his real name)

Below is a diagnostic summary of how the call went. (I’ve bracketed my real-time thoughts)


His calendar invite included a rather long and very personal pre-call questionnaire. (Wow, this guy is serious. He doesn’t take just anyone into his program.) I answered all his questions honestly while feeling rather vulnerable. (could I trust him?)

Step 2 There was a must watch video before you could “qualify” for the call. (Do I have time for this? Wonder why he’s requiring it?) The video was about his story. Where he came from. Why he does what he does etc. I’d heard the same story on the free webinar. (Maybe there was a gem of wisdom at the end. It was “required”) I listened to the entire video waiting for the gem that never came.

The Call

Bonding and Rapport Building

Mike started the call saying “Before I tell you about my program, tell me a little more about yourself? (Does he want personal or professional? That’s a pretty open-ended question. My story is rather long. Didn’t he read the questionnaire?)

(Does he want the long or short version?) Not knowing what he wanted; I gave him a thumbnail professional overview.

At this point he caught me off guard by saying, “I don’t think you should do my program right now.” (I love his integrity. Yes, I can trust him to tell the truth. Who would say that and why?) I’ve said the same thing many times when my LinkedIn Marketing Campaign wasn’t a fit for a client. (I’m really impressed. He’s not trying to “sell” me)

The Call Breaks down

I knew him from the webinar, liked him before we got on the call or there wouldn’t have been a call. He’s already told me this wasn’t the right timing which built my trust. At this point, I’m definitely a future client.

Without skipping a beat, he asks, “Why did you reach out to me.” I told him that some of the things he said resonated with me. That’s when the call started going off track.

No matter what I said, he went back to his own story. Maybe he was trying to impress upon me that he understood and could relate. What I heard was a self-absorbed guy lacking empathy. (Does this guy have any depth or is his story all he has?) I knew his story from the required pre-call video.

He never asked me a “pain” question like “what’s my number one frustration? What

concerns me the most? It became rather obvious he had no authentic interest in me as a human being.

Business Model

At this point, he began to describe his program. I knew almost instantly that his approach wouldn’t work for me. It was a series of automated video lessons. The only time you work with him is with a weekly group Q & A call. (Nah, not going to disclose personal stuff to strangers)

His program was priced higher than most video series. Another content driven “do it-

yourself” program with all kinds of penalties for not doing it. (I really don’t like those types of programs. Never worked for me) The fee to work one-on-one with him was triple the automated program.

Convoluted close

He had said early in the call that he didn’t think I should do his program now because (his reason built my trust) Now he named his price, gave me an overview of the program. (Maybe I ought to stretch both my finances and mind-set regarding automated video programs)

Then he asked if I’d consider doing the other guy’s program as well. A subject that was not discussed during this hour call. They had a special deal going. I knew what the other guy charged for his stand-alone program. The two combined were less than half his normal fee (something’s not right here. Where did this come from?) It was a definite NO at this point. Rather than saying I’d think it over, I told him I’ be back in January. That was before I had a chance to debrief the call over the Holidays.

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