Let me say straight off that I almost never like discovery calls and therefore almost never do them…
If you don’t know what a discovery call is, here’s a quick non-dictionary and definitely non-popular definition:
Discovery calls (aka sales calls aka strategy sessions) are those conversations you have with a prospect where you push on all their pain points and then try to sell them something.
I know, I know, I know…
If you’ve ever taken any kind of discovery call training for entrepreneurs, you have probably heard things like:
“Discovery calls aren’t bait and switches. You might not even make an offer if it’s not a right-fit client.”
“Discovery calls are a valuable service to your prospect in and of themselves.”
“Discovery calls aren’t sales calls. You aren’t selling, you’re serving.”
Here’s the thing:
All of the above is actually true.
The problem is that when discovery calls are set up the wrong way, they still can FEEL like a bait and switch. They can still FEEL slimy.
To you. And definitely to the person on the other end of the phone.
Online Entrepreneurs: How to Make Discovery Calls Feel Less Gross
My big problem with the way most people teach discovery call processes (aka strategy sessions) is, sorry, they DO feel like a bait and switch for one simple reason:
YOU know there’s a good chance you’re going to make an offer.
The person you’re talking to doesn’t.
That’s a bit deceptive in my book no matter how you slice it.
If your prospect thinks they’re getting on the phone for a free session or a free coaching call and they have zero idea that you might be pitching them something…
…I mean I know that’s how we’re all taught to do it but I personally don’t think it’s cool for 2 reasons:
1) You feel like you have this weird secret the whole time and that weird energy is going to make it harder for you to sell your thing.
2) You’re actually shooting yourself in the foot. Wouldn’t you rather have someone on the phone who’s already willing to invest with you if it’s a fit vs. someone that you have to convince during that brief time that they can’t live without you?
The Root of the Problem: Rigid Discovery Call “Formulas”
I love a good system as much as the next girl, but discovery call formulas that give you scripts, series of questions to ask, and fill-in-the-blank templates…
…Those are the problem.
I know it can seem like a step-by-step script is helpful and there’s no question it IS helpful for some of us, but if you’re having trouble connecting with others and landing your sales messages during your discovery calls…
Trust me, it’s that dang script.
Think about it:
Let’s say you were having a conversation with a friend who was struggling with something. You listen to everything she tells you, you validate the parts that are crappy and you give her gentle, well-timed advice when it’s asked for.
In other words, you pay attention and respond like someone who cares would respond.
You get to do the EXACT same thing with your discovery calls and strategy sessions – really!
Don’t worry about “pushing on the pain.”
Don’t worry about “overcoming objections.”
Don’t worry about “fast-action discounts” and the like.
You don’t need any of that. You get to just show up as you. Here’s how I recommend you do that:
3 Simple Steps to Easier Discovery Calls That Actually Close
Step 1: Set up your discovery calls more transparently.
You don’t have to be slippery about this.
You can say something like, “This isn’t a coaching call and it also isn’t going to be a big hard sell or pitch-fest. My plan for our time together is to figure out what’s getting in your way with X and if my services are a fit to help you with that or not.”
“But wait,” you may be thinking, “I’m worried if I tell people I might make an offer, they won’t want to get on the phone with me.”
My friend, disclosing the fact that you have stuff for sale before you ever get on that call is one of the fastest, simplest ways to pre-qualify your discovery call prospects.
If they have zero interest in opening up their wallets to get help with their problem, why on earth would you want to have a discovery call with them?
When I do strategy sessions/discovery calls now (which is once in a blue moon because it’s not my fave way to sell), it is extremely clear up front that we are getting on Zoom to see if the thing I’m selling is the right fit for you or not.
I don’t push. I don’t not take no for an answer. What I’m doing is giving my prospect space to tell me their specific troubles so I can diagnose whether or not the program they’re already interested in is a good fit for them to move forward.
This has made my close rate jump from 10% to 80%. And I only talk to people who are excited to talk to me about buying something.
Here’s why my close rate jumped so significantly:
I used to have the WORST time really focusing and listening during strategy sessions because I was all distracted and flustered by the fact that at some point I was probably going to make an offer…
…In fact, the more ideal the prospect actually turned out to be, the more nervous I’d get.
Siiiiiiiigh… I don’t miss those days.
…But if your prospect knows there might be an offer coming, it totally takes the pressure off of you and enables you to calm down and actually LISTEN and CONNECT. And THAT makes it sooooooooo much easier to sell.
Speaking of listening…
Step 2: Listen to the person talking.
Once it’s time for the discovery call, ask them what made them decide to talk to you today.
Then listen. Really listen.
When you have a clarifying question or you want them to explain something more, ask them to do that. Just the same as you’d ask a friend to elaborate on something.
Take lots of notes. Write down their exact phrases – you will need them for Step 3.
If they say, “I am so embarrassed by my acne,” don’t write down “acne” or “skin issues.” Write down, “so embarrassed by my acne.”
The awesome thing about Step 2 is if you do Step 1 correctly, then Step 2 is a piece of cake. (And if you do Step 2 correctly, Step 3 is ALSO a piece of cake! So much cake!)
Step 3: Repeat their words back to them if & when you’re making your offer.
This part takes a little practice, but this is my secret sauce for making discovery calls stress-free and easy to close…
Here’s what you do:
When talking about your offer, use the words THEY used to describe the things they want and the things they’re struggling with.
Don’t overthink this.
Don’t go all marketing-y on me.
Just. Use. Their. Words.
So if you’re talking about your healthy skin system, don’t just say, “The program is really all about giving you clear skin.”
Instead say, “The program is really all about giving you clear skin so that if you’re embarrassed by your acne, we can get rid of that acne once and for all.”
See what I did there?
I know it’s simple.
Also, it works really well.
Using their language when explaining your offer makes them feel things like, “Wow that’s exactly what I need” and “It’s like you’re inside my head!”
You’re not psychic. You’re just listening.
Online Entrepreneurs: Get My Simple System for Making Discovery Calls & Strategy Sessions Simple:
Step 1 = Be transparent that you may make an offer.
Step 2 = Listen.
Step 3 = Use their words in your offer.
Need to calm down when selling?
Need to get over that whole, “I love what I do but I hate the selling part?”
There’s a freebie for that. Download my Simple, Stress-Free Selling Mini-Guide:
I really hope you’ve found this post helpful. If you have, please do 2 things for me:
(1) Leave a comment below and
(2) Share this post with 1 or 2 people you think would really benefit. Thank you!
I appreciate you,
This is why I don’t do discovery aka sales calls. It feels unauthentic and I hate that. I do better just talking with people about what they need. Thanks for sharing this.