Are you a coach, consultant or a service provider? Are you sick and tired of trying to get people on the phone (or Skype) to get them to work with you? Are your discovery calls not resulting in paid clients? This blog post is sure to help.
Dig in and see which aspect of your discovery call you need to change. Or maybe you are approaching this in an entirely wrong way altogether. Let’s find out!
👉 For more tips and ideas, check out our guide to getting more coaching clients.
#1 Determine if they are a right fit
Think of a discovery as a meet-and-greet call where the entire goal of the call is to determine if you are a right fit for each other.
You won’t truly understand the importance of conducting discovery calls until you start working with a few clients who you should never have never said yes to. Trust me, this happens. Especially when you are a new coach and are very excited with filling your coaching practice, then you don’t pay real attention to the kind of people who show interest in working with you. You are keen to work with just about anyone.
It’s when the coaching begins, that you start seeing red flags. These people don’t turn up on time, reschedule forever and are late in paying invoices. Maybe there are personality clashes. They don’t take action and won’t seriously consider doing the things you advise on. Maybe they have a totally different philosophy when it comes to achieving their goals.
If you have doubts while speaking with these people or your gut is telling you to be careful, listen. You really don’t want to agree to work with someone and start resenting them the next time you see them.
You should have created an ideal client persona prior to getting on the call. Do you work with women, men, or it doesn’t matter. What about the age group? What about their income or industry level. What values are important to your client? What kind of temperament do you work best with?
Next look at your own style, strengths, and approach and communicate this on the call. Do you get straight to the point? Do you have a nurturing or no-nonsensical style of working? Do you only advise or tell them what to do? What happens if they don’t follow through? Making sure that you two are a perfect match will do wonders for their success.
#2 Make them free
Discovery calls should always be free.
The purpose of a discovery call is to get a person who is seriously interested in working with you to get a feel of what’s it like to do so (as I explained above). This person has probably spent some time consuming your free content. Maybe they have been on your list for a while. They have read your blogposts, watched your videos, and attended your webinars.
You are not looking to prove that you have got what it takes to get them the results you promise, there is an underlying assumption that they are already familiar with your work.
Maybe they have never coached with anyone before and so they want to make sure what the process looks like. Maybe they are not sure if they are making the right choice. This is a no-obligation call which they don’t have to pay for.
Don’t confuse a discovery session with a once-off coaching session which they pay for. Allow me to explain.
#3 Don’t coach on the call
Many people confuse discovery call with a free coaching session, but it is not.
When you offer a free discovery session, your primary goal is to assess if you are the right fit for the other person as I have explained above. You do not, and I repeat, do not coach on the call.
This is a mistake I made for the longest time. I would get people to book a free ‘clarity session’ with me and I spent the entire half an hour giving them tons of value. I would actually give them three things they could implement right now to improve things.
However, I failed to see that if I was telling them what to do, prior to working with me, I was essentially making myself redundant. If I told them their next steps and also how they would achieve them, I was basically giving away the farm and they were happy to go and work on that for a while. There was literally no need for them to hire me.
Do not confuse a once-off coaching session (which they pay for) and you working with them on a specific issue. These are often called a strategy session or a clarity call. People can usually book them using an online scheduler and you help them in a very specific area.
They might decide to buy a package to work with you on a strategy session, and you can certainly hope they will, but since they pay, you coach. That’s the difference between the two. Do not coach on a discovery call.
#4 Keep it short
This one is fairly simple, do not offer an hour long discovery call. These are way too long and you will run out of things to talk about, and feeling like you need to coach them. Trust me on this. Your discovery calls should be 20-30 minutes long which is plenty for getting a sense of the person you are talking to. Any longer and it will get awkward.
The beauty of keeping this call short is one, they understand that they only have a short amount of time with you and better get straight to the point. And two, they won’t launch into long monologues about their problem, and if they do, you can politely stop them saying you only have so much time together.
Because it is a short call, there is psychology at play here: they won’t feel obligated to sign up or feel guilty about taking up so much of your time. This even makes it easy to book a call knowing that even if they don’t book, they haven’t taken up hours of your time. This is a good thing, unless you want to be one of those sleazy, high pressure, hard-sell kind of marketers we all love to hate.
And finally keep in mind, you will not be converting all of these calls into business, only a percentage of people will book. This means you have to set time aside for discovery calls and actual time for coaching.
#5 Determine their problem
Get on the call and diagnose their problem. It may seem simplistic but people often seek coaching because of symptoms or surface problems.
For example, their product not selling is a surface problem, their actual problem is that they didn’t make the right offer to a big enough list. You, as a business coach, will educate them on what is causing their problem, and what they need to work on to get the results.
Another example, someone has not been able to lose the last 5 kg is a symptom. You need to diagnose the heart of the issue; what is it that is causing this problem?
Listen to the person talk and say what they need from you. Identify the problem. Are you the right person to help them overcome this and reach their goals or what they be better off working with somebody else? In that case, go ahead and refer them to a more suitable coach.
Look into their issue and see how much work it will take.
#6 Take them through your process
Take them through your process. Tell them what you will be working on. You don’t want to keep them in the dark. You want to get rid of any confusion as to how you will help them.
Also with every step you highlight, you give them confidence and hope. You inspire them, but most importantly you show the true value of working with you.
You may or may not have prices listed on your website. Even if you have, you’d be surprised to see many people book a call and discover that they didn’t expect to pay this amount.
The only (ethical) way to get them to agree to pay your rates is when they are able to see and get a clear idea of what happen over the next three months and know the exact results they are able to get. Tell them what will happen if they work with you. Take some time before you recommend a package so you don’t have to persuade them. The prospect convinces themselves.
#7 Get them committed
Get them to tell you exactly what they hope to achieve. Ask them to elaborate. By getting them to talk about their needs and the results they desire, you get them involved in the process.
By taking them through your process that will give them these results, you are painting a picture of the future. You are essentially saying to them, ‘Here’s what I can do for you. Are you ready to do it?”
You are slowly building commitment (Robert Cialdini). You are asking them to step up and show you that they are ready and willing to do this. They serious about working with you and won’t drop out or waste your time.
You are also saying while you know what needs to happen, it’s them who will make it happen. They have to do the actual work and if they don’t, nothing is guaranteed.
#8 Address objections
Keep it conversational and don’t turn it into a sales pitch. Your prospect is interested in working with you and this is why they have approached you. Ask what they need, put clarity on their issue, show what you can do for them and give them the next steps. In a perfect world, you will sign off every potential client but this doesn’t work like that.
Sometimes the prospect is not a right fit and that is okay. But sometimes you know you would absolutely love to work with them. You know in your heart that you can do so much and hopefully you communicated all that through your passion and a genuine, heartfelt desire to help them. But there still might be some objections you need to address (they are human after all).
Sometimes people come to you with limiting beliefs thinking if they are good enough, or would they be able to do it. You need to build their confidence throughout the call and assure them that it is totally possible. Other times, they are afraid to step out of their comfort zone, or scared of something specific such as technology, or speaking up, or showing up in public and need some reassurance.
The more confident, comfortable and inspired you make them feel, the more they want to work with you.
#9 Make a recommendation
At the end of your call, make a recommendation of what package will suit them the best. Explain to them what you will be working on, what they can look to accomplish every month and give them an estimate of how long it will take to reach their goals. At this point you are not making a hard sell, you shouldn’t have to.
In this free, short session, where you basically spent 10-15 minutes identifying the problem and then letting the person know what it is, you have created an enormous amount of trust with them. You have also managed to raise your credibility ten times over.
If they are the right person, they will jump at the chance of working with you. They know the problem, they know beforehand if they can afford you or not, they just wanted to hear from your personally to see if this is all true. Just give them the right option.
#10 Give them a call to action
Finally, give them the URL to your sales page, tell them where to click and how to book. If they still need any further information, give it to them. Don’t assume they know and understand everything. Remove any confusion so they don’t hesitate. Show how excited you are to help them. And thank them for choosing to work with you.
If you are sincere and confident in your desire to help your ideal client, they can see it and they can feel it. There is no need for slimy or icky persuasion strategies.
Just follow the process I have highlighted and always display your genuine desire to be of service. And transform your discovery calls. I promise!
And if you have any questions, thoughts, or personal advice let us know in the comments below!