This is not a drill. When someone books a discovery call with you it’s an opportunity to grow your business. It’s a compliment to what you’ve created but don’t take anything for granted. Both of you are sacrificing valuable time to be on this call so make it work overtime for you.
Here are the ways you can improve the process even before you get on the discovery calls so that you confirm you’re the right fit to work together.
WHAT IS A DISCOVERY CALL?
Yes, we’re going all the way back to the beginning. Too many of you are spending time on discovery calls that never should have taken place.
The purpose of a discovery call is to confirm that the services you offer are aligned with the needs of the client. It’s a chance for you to highlight what you do creatively as well as your process.
And it’s also a chance to have a face-to-face or voice-to-voice discussion and just ensure that you don’t see anything glaringly wrong in each other that would prevent you from going any further.
It should not be used to discuss budget, timelines or design style.
3 QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK BEFORE THE DISCOVERY CALL
1. WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
The way you ask this question is by sending out a Pricing Guide before the call. In a perfect world, you’d have this sent out via automation as soon as someone submits an inquiry. If you don’t have something like that setup, send out a good old-fashioned email with the pdf attached.
What this does is outline for potential clients what it will cost to work with you. It should include a minimum expenditure for renovations, new build, or both if you offer both services. You don’t need to break it down by category just have a general statement, for example if you’re a kitchen designer you can say:
“the services we offer requires a minimum expenditure of $100,000 for a full kitchen renovation. Design fees are an additional $15,000.”
If you’re saying to yourself, I’d rather have a call so that I can help the client understand my value and they’ll be ready to up their budget, stop right there.
It’s not your job to convince someone to spend more money than what they have. Furthermore, if you do, you’ll spend the entire project discussing the budget because this client will always be nervous about having to spend more than they’re comfortable spending.
Instead, look for clients who have the budget and are excited to work with you.
2. WHAT IS YOUR TIMELINE
If you’re booked for the next 4 months but you’re about to hop on a call with someone looking to start next week, that’s a poor fit.
You’ve just wasted a minimum of 30 minutes that could have been used for one of your current client projects.
There are a couple of ways you can alert potential clients to your timelines:
- If you have a contact form on your website, add a question about timelines. If the answer to that question is next week when you’re booked for 4 months you can send an email asking if they’d be interested in being added to your waitlist. Sometimes it’s a yes and sometimes it’s a no. You don’t need a discovery call for that.
- If you don’t have a contact form send out a questionnaire prior to the call and make sure this question is included.
- If you’re consistently booked out for 4 months, add some text to your website and social media channels letting clients know your typical timeline.
3. WHAT STAGE OF THE PROCESS ARE YOU IN?
What if you’re being called into a project that is mid-way through construction? Maybe the previous designer didn’t work out and you’re going to be jumping into the fire.
I know some of you will be happy to go ahead. Perfect. But if you’re not one of those people, make sure you know before the discovery call. There’s no point in having a call if you don’t want to be involved in partially completed work.
Use your contact form or your questionnaire to gather this information.
Once you get clarity around these 3 questions you’ll know that the time spent on the discovery call is important. This will eliminate the wrong fit and allow you to focus on the best fit for you.
Ok, you’ve made it to the discovery call. In order to be as organized as possible and maximize the time you have, create a checklist that you can use as a guide. You don’t want to sound robotic so don’t read from it like a script but use it to keep you on track. Here are a couple of other ways you can prepare and be your best self during the call.
TIPS TO MAKE YOUR DISCOVERY CALL A SUCCESS
1/ ORGANIZE THE CALL LOGISTICS – It is your job to arrange the zoom details or confirm the number you’ll be calling. Don’t wait until 5 minutes before the meeting to send a zoom link. If it’s a phone call be sure you have the phone number available so you’re not scrambling to find it at the last minute.
2/ BE PREPARED – hop on zoom 5 minutes early to make sure everything is set up and you’re not distracted. And test your microphone. Fiddling around with technology is not a reassuring sign that you’re in control.
Look over your questionnaire or contact form to reacquaint yourself with the project details. Be ready to focus your attention fully on this client for the next 30 minutes.
3/ TAKE GOOD NOTES – it’s a skill to master but listening and taking notes at the same time will help you after the call ends. You might have to switch gears right back into work mode and if it’s another day before you’re ready to follow up you could forget details that matter.
4/ FOLLOW UP – it’s surprising how many people don’t do this and it could be the thing that separates you from other candidates. Send an email a day or two after the call outlining the services you offer and the price. Without applying too much pressure, ask the client to let you know of their decision.
Even though there’s no commitment at this stage, it’s important that you show up like a professional for every discovery call. It could be the only opportunity for this client to figure out if you’re the right person for the project.
Good luck, you got this!