Getting on the phone used to be a privilege. I’d have to fight for my phone time and I’d spend hours on it, when given the chance. I’d be chatting away to a friend I’d seen that day in school and the line would beep and it’d be another friend I’d also seen at school. My ear would get sweaty and suction-cupped to the phone.
We were much more open to making a phone call in the ‘good old days’.
It wasn’t just that I was a typical teen. My parents did it, too. If they needed a repairman or a pizza or any reason at all, we’d pull out the yellow pages, pick up the phone and get the help we needed.
Then the phone sales started and we’d pick up the phone to someone from a call centre trying to sell us Windows protection when we owned a Mac without Windows.
Somewhere in that transition, we stopped wanting to pick up the phone.
Is it a lost cause to ‘hop on a discovery call’ these days?
If you’ve downloaded my guide to Five Automations to Save You Ten Hours, you know that I don’t take phone calls lightly and I don’t stand for juggling time to make them happen, either. Having these boundaries in place increases the value of a discovery call.
I ensure that every call, no matter how short is given the gravity it deserves. If I’ve got your attention for fifteen minutes, I use it. I want to hear all about your business, your goals, your challenges and the successes that lead you forward on your path.
But when I speak with potential clients, I often hear from them that they have had some seriously bad experiences on discovery calls, which makes them hesitant to get on the phone with ‘just another salesperson.’
Entrepreneurs who schedule a call with any kind of consultant or service provider are often looking for direction, reassurance and validation.
Unfortunately, many of the people I chatted with reported that the discovery calls they hopped on were all about the pitch, that the experience didn’t feel personalized to their work, or that the people they were hoping would provide direction, reassurance or validation just seriously did not get them.
These people did NOT want to be sold too, and yet for the majority of them, these discovery calls ended with them feeling disappointed, and like they just wasted some serious time.
To ensure small business owners feel heard, I don’t have any time to pitch on a discovery call.
I will genuinely spend 95% of the call in curiosity and brainstorming. I’m just SO not a salesperson because I hate being SOLD to. And this works for me.
If you sell anything as a consultant, coach or service provider, and you are already offering or are considering offering discovery calls, these are my top tips for not annoying the #%$@ out of those who decide to spend their time on a discovery call with you.
- Don’t provide false scarcity.
This is not a high stakes life-or-death situation. Be realistic about your availability, but don’t pressure an immediate close.
- Don’t propose a package that doesn’t fit your client or their budget.
If you’re trying to engage without listening or consideration, you won’t close the sale.
- Don’t do all the talking.
Be curious! You’re learning from the subject matter expert in these calls.
- Don’t make things up on the spot.
If you don’t know, research and follow up. If your client pressures you for an immediate answer, follow up immediately after the call.
- Don’t be offended if you aren’t a good fit.
Think of it as a close call rather than missing out, and thank goodness you had the call in the first place. Be sure to make recommendations for someone who would be a good fit!
BONUS: To encourage more folks to jump on calls with you, consider asking for feedback from your call. Then share that on the ‘Contact’ page of your website.
If you are successfully helping your potential clients during the discovery call, they’ll start seeing the forest for the trees. They’ll feel they can build something tangible and have the clarity to do it.
There’s another reason you may be hesitant to offer discovery calls – you don’t have an efficient onboarding process for new clients. If you’d like to smooth the way with automations that do the work for you and a process that warmly and effectively welcomes your customers, I can help you set that up. Book a discovery call with me to get started.