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Craft your opening

Now that you have a plan for what the discovery call entails, it’s time to build out what you will actually say, ask, and agree to during the call. 

Begin by building rapport with the potential client

There’s an old saying that goes like this:‍

“People don’t buy from businesses; they buy from people.” 

By building rapport, you’re establishing a connection between your personal and professional lives, showing that you’re not just an intelligent choice but an easy one, too. 

So how do you build rapport authentically? Rapport stems from either sharing similar experiences or finding common ground.

Remember when we asked you to “stalk” your prospect on LinkedIn and jot down similarities between you two? This is where that information will come in handy. You can use a commonality to build your kick-off line/opener.

Here are a few examples:

I see you live in [city/state], I’m thinking about planning a trip there soon, is October a good time?

I noticed you went to [college/university], I was there back in xxxx. Did you study [subject related to their role]?

I noticed on LinkedIn you recently got promoted to [current role]. That’s so exciting. How’re you liking it so far?

The more authentic the connection, the more genuine you’ll seem, and the more likely you are to stand out.‍

However, it’s not always easy to find common ground with your prospect with a simple internet search. If you don’t have anything in common or noteworthy to discuss, generalized ice-breaker questions will do – just make sure it’s not “how’s the weather” or other water cooler questions people are tired of answering. You can try:

I'm excited to chat further about this project. Before we dive in, how’s your morning going?

Thanks for jumping on this discovery call with me! I couldn’t tell from your profile – what city are you calling from?

Head to your workbook. Using the information you have about your prospect, go write your rapport builder script.

How long should the chit-chat be?

Make this portion of your call 1-2 minutes tops. In order to do so, perhaps your comment on their response and then simply transition into the agenda. When you spend too much time building rapport, you may come off as more “chit chatty” than focused and run the risk of losing track of the 30-minute time restriction. 

Transition out of chit-chat and into the agenda

After your opener, share the agenda with the prospect at the beginning of the call. Here is an example of a transition: 

  • Great! Well, I want to be mindful of your time so shall we jump right in? On today’s agenda.…

  • That sounds great. Well, first off, I want to thank you for meeting me today. I’m excited to talk shop with you. On the agenda today….

Be sure to get their buy-in by asking “Does that sound good to you?” This lets them know you are driving the conversation – which can take the pressure off of them – but also gives them a chance to adjust the agenda should they feel the need to.  

Head to your workbook and write your transition script, flesh out your agenda script if you need to, and include a buy-in question.‍

Additionally, you can discuss timing with them

For example, you can add: “I have us down for 30 minutes, how does that work on your end? Any hard stops I should be aware of?” 

If you see the meeting is going to run long, you can do a time check with them. No matter why it may run long, you can add a courtesy “it’s coming up on 30 minutes, how are you on time? Do you mind if I ask one more question?” followed by a “Great, thanks! Just want to be respectful of your time.” 

Timing is hard when you’re still getting the hang of running calls. Plus, some clients like to talk freely or really feel they need to get lots of points across – or you may simply be on a roll discussing their current problem! 

However, try not to go longer than 40 minutes if it is a 30-minute call – as you need to be respectful of the schedule. Plus, this way, you’ll come across as someone who knows that their time is valuable and should not be given away too freely. 

Expert tip: Don’t book back-to-back discovery calls. Nothing cuts off a good vibe like a hard stop when things are going well! 

Let’s take a look at the beginning of Alex’s script. Alex is going to build rapport and get the conversation started‍

Hi, [name]. How are you doing? I see you’re based in Buffalo, New York. Did you grow up there?

[their response]

Lovely, I actually have a visit to Niagara Falls planned for the summer. Have you been?‍

[their response]

That’s amazing to know. So, shall we dive right in? The goal of this meeting is to see if it is a good mutual fit.

[their response]

On the agenda today is the following:

To hear an overview of your business, learn about your company’s writing needs, and discuss the current landing page project. I’ve got some questions here to make sure I understand what you need.

Then, I’d love to tell you more about myself at Alex Inc., what I do, and how I can possibly be of service to you. 

Then, of course, I’d be happy to answer any lingering questions you may have or we can solidify next steps.

Does that sound okay to you?

In this step, you built your first agenda which gives you a chance to show you’re ready to have a professional relationship built on mutual trust and understanding.

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