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Optimize for success

Nice, you’re prepped and ready to tackle your first (or next!) discovery call! The next step is to operationalize this so it’s always something you do to move the client down the sales funnel.‍

Where in the sales funnel does the discovery call belong? 

1. Inquiry received (via email, website form, social media DMs, etc.)

2. Exchange of 1-3 emails to pre-qualify the candidate and make sure there could be a match before getting on a call.

If you don’t know the prospect (i.e., it’s a “cold” lead), you don’t have a website yet, or the prospect doesn’t know much about what you do, but they heard it may be a fit, it may take more email rapport before you invite them on a call. If they have seen you before via content on social media, via referral, etc. (i.e., a “warm” lead), it could be offered after the first inquiry.‍

To pre-qualify: You may ask for a bird’s eye view of the project, their estimated budget, timeline, and more. This may also be done automatically via contact form on your website.

If it’s a decent fit that sounds interesting to you, you offer a discovery call!‍

Create a checklist in your workbook of what you need to do next.

Tips for setting up the call

  1. Take control of the sales process by providing a few times that work for you. 

  2. If they have already asked you for a call, pick a specific date, and offer ~3 times that work for you. You can confirm time zones by asking them or by looking on their LinkedIn.

  3. Don’t just ask them, “Let me know what works for you!” It can come off unprofessional and causes more work for your prospect. 

  4. Once you’ve decided on a time, send them the invite to a 30-minute time slot. Don’t forget to include the link to the meeting room in the invitation. 

Take steps to minimize no-shows

Although it’s unusual, there may come a time when you have the discovery call scheduled weeks in advance. In that case, send your prospects a heads-up email a day or two before the meeting day. It’s easy to forget one-off meetings in the thick of our day-to-day workload.

Many online tools nowadays can help minimize such hiccups for you and automate your sales funnel. Check out the following recommendations: 

What do you do if they are a no-show

Allow a 5-minute grace period. If, after 5 minutes, the prospect hasn't arrived, send them a short and sweet email. 

Hi [Name], 

Hope all is well today! I’m here in the meeting room for our chat today. [Here is the link] again in case you couldn’t get a hold of it. Speak soon!

If they don’t show up after 15 minutes, you can chalk it up as a no-show. In that case, send one final note. There is no need to guilt trip or even assume why the person didn’t make it that day by saying something like “I know you’re busy!” or “maybe something came up!” Simply be gracious and offer to reschedule. ‍

Hi [Name],

It seems we missed each other today. I’d still love to get the chance to discuss X and Y with you. Let’s schedule a call for next week. Here is my Calendly link to book a new time that suits you.

As always, let me know if there is anything I can answer for you here.

Other considerations

Taking notes

You will want to take notes during the call. Taking notes can help you:‍

  1. Put together a more powerful proposal or email follow-up that details their needs word-for-word

  2. Have a written history of what they asked for (which can come in handy with possible scope creep in the future).‍

Many people get caught up in taking notes, rather than managing the conversation. If this sounds like you, note-taking software could help you. Instead of you stopping and starting or looking off-screen to write things down, AI-powered tools can transcribe the call automatically. 

To have your camera on or not

Having the camera on during your discovery call can make a world of difference in building rapport and trust.

“27% of the time*, a sales discovery call that never progressed after the first call had at least one of the parties (either the sales rep or the prospect) who hadn't turned their cameras on.” - Avoma.com

While you can’t make the prospect turn on their video, you can set the tone by having yours on from the get-go and keeping it on, regardless of their choice. ‍

Last, but certainly not least, send a follow up

This should be an overview of the call and any materials you said you would share. 

Hi [Name],

It was great speaking with you this afternoon.

Below is a quick summary of what we discussed on the call today:

1. Your company’s exciting new product launch

2. Facebook ad sets that point to new landing pages

3. Lower-than-ideal conversion rates on past landing pages

I’m confident to get the selling points just as you imagine them on the page. As promised, I am attaching a detailed proposal for your review. 

Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Exercise: Write a sample follow-up email. You can fill in the discussion points and selling points after your next discovery call. ‍

Every conversation is organic and will take its own unique shape. Don’t worry about firing off question after question, but rather the big takeaway here is that you are prepared so you can navigate through the conversation and cover the important topics. 

And keep in mind one important thing: your prospects want you to do well! They are rooting for you to succeed because no one likes spending their precious time interviewing service provider after service provider. So don’t overplay the seriousness of these calls and remember that it’s just two people making sure they are a good fit. You got this!

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