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How to Set Up a Successful Discovery Call Process

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Getting clients can be a challenging process, but integrating a discovery call into your sales process can make it significantly easier. Not only does it give you a chance to vet potential clients, but it gives you a chance to demonstrate how you can help.

Discovery calls are an essential part of doing business online as a freelancer or solopreneur, so it’s important that you build one that works for you. They might seem daunting at first but the more that you do them, the easier they become.

Let’s dive in and learn how you can set up a discovery call process that works for you and your business and the potential clients you come across.

What is a discovery call?

First of all, let’s tackle what it is. Discovery call is a bit of a buzzword that you hear businesses and sales coaches talk about, so you might be surprised to know that it’s actually a tried-and-true component of any great sales process.

A discovery call is essentially a free consultation where you meet with a prospective client and talk about the possibility of working with one another. Having a discovery call doesn’t mean that you’ve agreed to work together; it simply means you’re interested in talking — there’s potential there.

I recently held a discovery call with a potential client to see if my services as a virtual assistant could be beneficial. I learned a lot about his business and educated him about mine and how I could help him.

It’s your job to educate your client while you evaluate whether or not they’re going to be a good fit for your business. No one wants to work with less-than-ideal clients, and this is the time to figure that out.

Why do you need a discovery sales call for your freelance business?

Not every client is right for you. Whether you’re a coach, consultant or freelancer, a discovery call should absolutely be part of your standard process.

The discovery sales call is also the best time to determine whether or not you’re going to be able to help the client. You can’t be everything for everyone, so it’s important that you stick to what you know best.

You don’t have to (nor should you) take on every client who approaches you. You want to make sure you work with clients who you believe are a great fit and that you can help with your expertise.

10 Sample Discovery Call Questions

It’s your job to take charge of your discovery call. Make sure you’re asking relevant and important questions that are in-line with your business strategy and services.

The following sample discovery call questions are a good place to start:

  1. Tell me a little bit about your current situation.
  2. What challenges are you facing?
  3. What do you need to change?
  4. What happens if that doesn’t change?
  5. If it does change, how will that benefit you?
  6. What does success look like to you?
  7. What are you looking for in a [service provider]?
  8. What’s the biggest roadblock you’re facing with regards to this issue?
  9. What is your budget for this role?
  10. Is this on the top of your priority list?

While the answers to these questions can help you shape your strategy for the project, should you choose to work together, you will want to modify them to work best for you.

It’s helpful to write these questions down so you can check them off your list as you cover them. But do leave room for some spontaneous follow-up questions.

Perfecting your discovery call process

Your process needs to be tailored to you and your business, but there are a few steps you can add in to help you stay on track:

1. Plan ahead

A successful discovery call is one that’s well-planned. That not only means going over the request you received from your prospective client, but also doing some of your own research on them where possible and rehearsing what you’re going to share with the potential client about you and your business.

Make sure that while you’re planning your call, you take the time to lay out the agenda. This will help ensure that you stay on track and cover everything you need to during the call.

2. Record the call

There are three big benefits to recording the call. You can focus more on listening and less on notetaking so you can give your potential client your undivided attention. You don’t want to get caught up in jotting down notes that you’re missing crucial information.

Later on, you’ll have a recording to reference when writing your report and quote.

Lastly, you can use it to critique and improve upon for your next discovery call.

Please let your prospect know why you will be recording the call and ask if they’re okay with the call being recorded. Reassure them of the confidentiality and do not publish it elsewhere unless you have permission to do so.

3. Set your purpose

You should start every discovery call by setting its purpose for both you and your prospect.

Setting the purpose of your call can be as simple as starting your conversation with: “Thank you for reaching out to me and booking a call. The purpose of this call is to [describe the purpose here] and see if we’re a good fit…”

That way you’re both on the same page. When the conversation starts off on the right foot, you’re more likely to keep on it.

4. Ask smart questions

The most important thing you can do is to get to know your prospective client, and you do that by putting the right questions on your discovery call script. This allows you to uncover how you can help and whether or not they are the right fit for your business.

5. Close the sale

This is really your opportunity to drop your tried-and-true sales pitch. Don’t leave this up to chance—have it prepared and ready, whether that means writing the whole thing out or working from a bulleted list.

You can say something like, “I love everything I’ve heard and believe [state how you can help them], when would you like to begin?”

6. Follow-up

Your sales call isn’t done when you’ve said goodbye; you should definitely follow up. You want to give your prospect time to digest the information you’ve talked about, but you don’t want them to forget about it—24 to 48 hours is a great window.

Make sure your email is free of grammatical and spelling errors.

If you concluded during the call or afterwards that the prospect is not a good fit with your business, follow up with them too. Politely state the reasons why you feel this way and share any actionable recommendations that can help them.

Practice Makes Perfect

The more you conduct strategic discovery calls, the better you’ll become at them. They’re not as scary as they sound and are meant to propel your business forward.

Make sure you have the tools and resources you need to conduct them with ease and watch your business grow!

Psst! Shameless plug here but Trello is an amazing project management system to use for your discovery call workflow. I love them so much that I’ve created 16 done-for-you board templates that my mompreneurs love too! ❤️ Click below to check it out.

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