Check out the updated version of this blog here: How to Lead a Successful Sales Call
Back when I was running my OBM Agency, I’d be inundated with discovery call requests every September. It seems creative entrepreneurs feel that same “back to school” tug to get down to business! I couldn’t complain – new business? Hell yeah! But there was a time when this rush of discovery calls (or just the thought of the call!) really stressed me out.
The ultimate purpose of a discovery call is to see whether or not you and your potential client are a good fit for one another and then closing a deal if the relationship is beneficial. You need to understand their biz goals, pain points, and priorities so that you can determine how best to serve them (or not, if you see red flags cropping up!).
Early on in my online biz, I hadn’t implemented a solid and repeatable system for making that crucial good first impression and staying organized in the process. If I nailed the call, sometimes I dropped the ball on following up with the potential client. Sometimes, I felt myself wasting time on consecutive calls with clients that were NOT my ideal client avatar. Other times – I just felt unprepared, and that killed my confidence.
However once I nailed my discovery call process, I felt like I could do them standing on my head! Ultimately, I realized that by not buttoning-up this process, I was wasting not only my valuable time, but also my potential client’s time.
A super important part of any online business is knowing how to execute a discovery call properly. So here are my four simple strategies for getting the most out of discovery calls in your online business (and landing your ideal clients with ease!).
Use a Discovery Call questionnaire
This was one of the easiest changes to implement in my own discovery call system. And it’s without a doubt the one thing I kicked myself the hardest for not setting up sooner!
Before I even commit to a discovery call with a potential client, they are required to fill out a questionnaire that outlines their current business status and business goals. This strategy could work for any online business – whether you’re an OBM, a VA, or a coach.
However, when I was first starting my business, I didn’t have a questionnaire, and although my process wasn’t perfect, it was a great learning opportunity for me. I spent time working with clients of all shapes and sizes. Over time, I was able to narrow in on my ideal client avatar and start to identify which types of clients wouldn’t be a good fit for myself and my team.
So if you’re just starting out in your online biz – go wild! Talk to as many different types of potential clients as you can! But if you’re scaling your business or it’s growing and you no longer have the time and money to invest in “learning experiences,” implement a questionnaire that will weed out your ideal clients from your not-so-ideal clients.
Do your due diligence prior to the discovery call
Before you hop on a discovery call with a client, you MUST do your due diligence. If you’re an OBM or VA, this should be a no brainer. But from my experience, many OBMs and VAs really drop the ball on this one.
It’s easy to think that it’s enough to go into the call eager to learn more about your potential client’s business. This is great, but it’s not enough. You should be spending at least 30 minutes prior to each discovery call swotting up and combing the internet for your potential client’s online presence. How does their website look? Do they have a business account on social media outlets? Is the copy on their blog up to par or did you catch a couple of typos right away?
These are the kinds of insights that prove your added value to your potential client. You need to be able to point out changes and improvements you would make to their business before they even get a chance to start rattling off their hopes and dreams. This is what will set you apart from your average OBM or VA from the superstars!
Take detailed notes. Or better yet, record the call!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a discovery call and a few weeks later, the client contacts me to sign a contract and get started. You think you’ll remember all the details, but you simply won’t!
Taking ultra-detailed notes throughout the discovery call is the only way to ensure that you have a record of ALL the projects your new client wants accomplished, all the platforms they use, and all the promises you made.
In order to stay super organized, I also record all of my discovery calls by holding my meetings on Zoom. You can easily make all of your video calls auto-record so that you capture everything right from the get-go. It’s a great way to look back for clarification if your notes just aren’t clear enough. And better yet, if you’ll be delegating the client to a team member, it’s easy to keep them in the loop with what’s been said. They won’t have to weed through your stream of consciousness notes – they can just sit down and watch the meeting in real time!
Follow up immediately with an organized welcome pack
After every single discovery call I hold with a potential client, I send a “thank-you” email with my welcome pack. Will your welcome pack change the mind of a client who has already decided they won’t be hiring you? No. But can it sway a client who’s still on the fence? Oh YES!
Your welcome pack should be a resource for your potential clients. It outlines all of the perks to working with you and all the down-and-dirty details they need to familiarize themselves with before signing on. What’s your turn-around rate on emails from clients? How often do you hold strategy calls? What are your hours of operation? What are some benefits and freebies they get when they sign on with you? Allllll that good stuff!
Don’t miss an opportunity to go the extra mile and introduce the potential client to the inner workings of your business. A super organized and upbeat welcome pack can be the difference between a lead that fizzles out and onboarding a brand new client!
Now over to you: What lessons have you learned about making the most of your discovery calls? Share your favourite tips and strategies in the comments below, I’d love to hear what works for you!
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