Sales calls, discovery calls, consultations… whatever you want to call them — you may love them or you may hate them. Regardless, we all know they’re important. What happens on this call can literally determine whether a potential client works with you OR ghosts you and works with someone else. So successful discovery calls are going to play a key role in your business.
I used to hate sales calls. I had a few bad experiences with them early on in my business, and for a while, I left these calls feeling frazzled, vulnerable, and not sure if I was “confident enough” (even when I DID book the client). So, after about 5 years of consistently doing these calls (more if you count my freelancer days when I was so frazzled), I’ve learned some things that help you get that “sales call confidence” we all want. I’m sharing FOUR of those strategies with you today (plus, of course, extra tips throughout). So, get ready to feel CONFIDENT and totally book the client on your next sales call!
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1. Do the call on Zoom - not on the phone.
I may have already lost some of you with this tip but stick with me here, and let me explain! Zoom can be more intimidating than a phone call but it also can feel more relational to see someone’s face. That might give you a memorable edge over the other calls this potential client is having with competitors who only will do a 15-minute phone chat.
I used to do all of my discovery calls on the phone. Then I started working with international clients where that didn’t work as well. That’s where Zoom came in!
The zoom calls turned out to be successful discovery calls and were really effective. I ended up changing it to being my default method!
Since working as a designer or any service business in someone else’s business is so intimate, I think the face to face interaction from the beginning is so great!
I really recommend Zoom OVER in-person meetings with potential clients (even if they are local to you). Meeting in person might sound great in theory, but the reality is a “30-minute discovery call” can become 2 hours of your day and $10 dollars on coffee and food really quick. Not to mention if you pay for parking, plus driving time and gas. This is a much bigger commitment.
I do have a couple of exceptions to this:
- If you really want this client and know they’re serious.
- If you’re meeting at their place of business.
In general, making Zoom your default can lead to more successful discovery calls! If the potential client doesn’t want to use Zoom and prefers a phone call, that is totally fine!
2. Review their business and Internet presence before the call.
Always do your research FIRST! Never go into a discovery call planning to let the potential client just tell you all about themselves. NOPE. To have successful discovery calls, you really need to do some research first and even take notes.
If they already have an existing business with a website and social media, look over all of it. Follow them on Instagram and maybe watch their stories that day so you can comment on something you saw in it. I recommend even Googling their name to see what comes up.
Tip for web designers
You really want to stalk their existing website to get a scope for how much work this project could be. Look for things like:
- What software are they on now?
- How many blogs do they have?
- Do they look like they’re using a lot of plugins you’ll need to work with?
- How many pages do they have now?
- Do you think they’ll need to do brand photography or will what they have work well?
- Check out their site map to see all the hidden pages that aren’t linked in their navigation.
Come to the call with a list of questions that you want to ask them in order to give them an accurate quote.
I have a whole system I teach in Booked Out Designer for how to display pricing on your website and how to give an exact quote to an individual client ON THE CALL if at all possible. Head over to Booked Out Designer to learn more about this system!
If you have not researched them prior to the call and determined what questions you still have, then you are really going to struggle to quote them. You might feel like you need more time before you can tell them a number. This just delays their decision making.
I know giving a quote on the call is intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be when you learn how to feel confident with your prices.
3. Give them a quick win on the call.
Remember, you are the one that knows about the thing they’re hiring you for. They don’t. That’s why they are considering hiring you.
One thing you can do to set yourself apart from competitors is to give them a quick win on the call. This could be some kind of advice, answering a tough question, etc.
How does this help with successful discovery calls? It accomplishes a few things:
- You show them that you are an expert in this field by teaching them something.
- When they find value just from the consultation with you, they’ll feel even more certain of the value they’ll get from actually paying to work with you.
Tune in to the full episode to hear a great example of how this plays out!
4. You have to LEAD on the call.
Now, you might be worried that what I shared in tip #3 can go too far. And it totally CAN.
I’ve heard of people doing what was supposed to be a 20-minute discovery call and then it takes an hour because it turned into a “free pick your brain” session. Then they don’t even book you! Now you have spent around 2 hours total between the research, emailing, and the call itself with this person.
That really stinks. I get it and it’s happened to me before.
There are a lot of things you can do to avoid this and keep having successful discovery calls instead of terrible ones. A HUGE factor for this is how you show up to the call itself.
You should show up as the leader of the meeting, not them.
If they are leading or if they feel like you want them to lead, they might feel like they’re just supposed to ask you questions, which then can turn into a “pick your brain” session.
You call the shots and you control the flow. This shockingly actually means the potential client talks MORE than you do. In the first part of the call, they talk the most and you’re leading by asking specific questions that get them talking. Then the second half, you are talking more as you answer their questions and layout pricing information and other details.
This keeps the meeting on track and gives the potential client an idea of what it is like to work with you.
I hope these tips for successful discovery calls help you feel more confident the next time you are in front of a potential client! These calls don’t have to be scary and more practice will help you get better and better.
P.S. #dontmissthis: Booked Out Designer will be opening again on July 12th for new students to join the community! This program is the perfect place for brand and website designers who want to build a booked-out, in-demand design business. And, if you’re not a designer but you do another type of service business, I welcome you too with open arms, because I promise you’ll get so much from this program as well.
When you buy Booked Out Designer, you get the amazing COURSE (over 90 lessons of content), you get an incredible private Facebook community (with actual access to me!), group coaching with me, and some incredible surprise bonuses too. And, as I say in this episode, there’s an entire module JUST ON discovery calls in the course with 3 and half hours of training content for you. So, join the waitlist HERE today!
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