Last year, as my son finished his sophomore year of high school, I ran into a dilemma. See, as a mom, I had always dreamed of sending my son to college. I was excited about taking him to check out colleges, applying to the ones he liked, looking for scholarships, helping him decide on a major.
I imagined the day when I would be dropping him off at his first dorm room (probably crying) and four years later, watching him walk across the stage to get his diploma (also probably crying then as well).
The problem? He’s not interested in college AT ALL.
So, as any invested parent would do, I decided to enlist some outside help. I knew that if I pushed the issue, I’d just get eyerolls and attitude. His school really wasn’t doing much to encourage him either, so I went in search of a college counselor who could talk to him about his options without too much pushback (or so I hoped).
After a brief google search, I found a woman locally who offered some services that sounded exactly like what I needed.
I filled out her contact form, and shortly after, she called me to set up a consultation! That’s exactly how I tell my clients to handle prospects, so I was impressed. This was going to be a great consultation!
You can call it a consultation, or…
You can call it a discovery call. You can call it a sales call, a strategy session, a breakthrough call, whatever you want, really.
But the reality is that before every sale, you have to have a conversation.
I know countless coaches, online marketers and other business owners who HATE discovery calls. They don’t know how to deliver them, they don’t know how much time they should take, and they hate that feeling of “always trying to close.”
Even worse are the tire-kickers who waste your time asking a million questions, just to tell you that hated phrase “Let me talk to my spouse about it, and I’ll get back to you.”
The thing is, clients hate discovery calls like that too! How hard do your eyes roll when someone immediately gets on the phone with you and starts pitching? We all know when someone is just trying to get in our wallet: it makes us feel like they don’t see us, they just want our money.
In fact, that’s exactly how I felt when I finally got on the phone with the college counselor.
The first question she asked me on our consultation call was “What services are you interested in?” It completely caught me off guard, and I stumbled to remember the options from her website. I ended up mentioning her all-inclusive package, and she eagerly spent the next half hour pitching me.
You don’t have to guess how that conversation ended: even I use the “I’ll think about it” excuse sometimes!
When used correctly, discovery calls are an amazing tool.
Conversion rates for online sales pages are typically somewhere between 2-5%. Comparatively, my coaching clients aim for an 80% close rate.
Discovery calls also give you the ability to start forming a relationship with your client right away, so that when they sign the contract, you’re able to hit the ground running. It’s one of my favorite ways to turn prospects into clients.
So how do you deliver a discovery call that doesn’t make you want to hide from your calendar?
I’ve got four tips for you that will take your cringe-worthy consultations and turn them into dream discovery calls.
I blame a lot of the sales training out there for this one. Almost every single one screams “ALWAYS BE CLOSING”. The problem is, everyone hates that. It feels awful for you. It feels awful for the client. So STOP DOING IT.
Stop thinking of it as “closing” clients.
Instead, think of it as making a connection, and determining if this is someone you can help and want to help.
This conversation is not just about making sure their needs are met, it’s about making sure they are a good fit for you as well.
In fact, I sometimes don’t even offer my services on discovery calls because I’ve figured out through the process that this wouldn’t be a client that I want to work with.
Stop focusing on the singular goal of closing, and start paying attention to make sure this will be a mutually beneficial relationship for all.
Stop Winging It
I can tell almost immediately if someone is going to wing their consultation call.
A dead giveaway is a 15-minute call. These coaches are so tired of tire-kickers that they think a 15-minute call will keep those people from wasting their time, but when a conversation goes well, they let it drag on for 45 minutes to an hour. It ends up disrespecting the client’s time (I know if I plan for something to be 15 minutes and it’s an hour, I’m irritated no matter how nice the person is).
A good consultation call for wellness services takes time – usually 45-60 minutes.
You should have a good script of questions that will identify your client’s pains, problems, and needs, and bring any red flags or deal breakers to the surface.
Stop Worrying About Being Liked
Your business is NOT a popularity contest. This call is not about you being liked or chosen AT ALL.
Instead, this conversation is solely for the purpose of identifying the client’s needs, pain points, and hurdles while determining if your services are the right fit to help them reach their goal.
That’s what they’re coming to your for: Can you help them get them from where they are to where they want to be?
That’s how you actually make the sale: by guiding them through a process that shows you understand their problem and that you can help!
What if I told you that you never ever have to make another sales pitch, and you would get more and better quality clients for it? It’s true!
A discovery call is NOT an opportunity for a sales pitch, it is an opportunity for you to learn more about the client and their situation. You are the expert here, they are coming to you to assess their problems, determine what they need, and show them how to reach their goals.
If your program is a perfect match, the conversation will dovetail into a beautiful “That sounds great! Can you help me with that?”.
This conversation is about the client and their goals and what they actually need to achieve those goals – which often different from what they think they want. So ditch the pitches, and start connecting authentically.
If that college counselor had asked me “What prompted you to reach out?” I would have had the opportunity to tell her all about my son, and our struggles, and what my goals were.
Instead, we were both trapped in a conversation neither of us wanted to be a part of. She lost the sale and I went on to find and hire a different college counselor who took the time to make me feel understood, even if my son has still ultimately decided that college is not the path for him.
Now it’s your turn. Use these guidelines to develop an authentic sales conversation that converts your prospects into great-fit, long-term clients.
If you’d like some help turning your discovery calls around and designing your sales process to get great-fit, long term clients and the steady predictable income, click here to schedule your own personal discovery call with me! We’ll talk all about your business and how you can start powerfully and predictably converting your prospects into awesome clients.