As an introvert, discovery calls may not be your favourite thing! For me the actual discovery bit is fine. It is the initial small talk that I find the most difficult. I either leap straight to business which all feels a bit abrupt or I lean on my British heritage and start talking about the weather.
But one of the reasons discovery calls aren’t as scary for me as they used to be is because I have put in to place some strategies to make them less daunting occasions. If you are struggling with discovery calls, these six strategies may help you too.
1. Have a script.
Off the cuff conversations are not my strength. I usually end up rambling away without ever saying what I really need to say. But give me some structure and I am much happier. It also helps that once the introductions are over, my first questions are to the lovely person who has made time to talk to me. It is all about them telling me about their business. The potential client is hopefully ok with this as I am asking them about something they are passionate about. (Ever noticed how us introverts are quiet until you ask us about something we really care about).
As part of the script, think about what questions they may have of you and have some answers prepared. Sure you won’t be able to second guess every question but if you have some answers sorted it does make it less scary.
2. Take the pressure off
When you are first starting out in business this can be difficult to do. You are so keen to make that sale. But like job interviews, when you start to see the purpose of the call as being a way to work out if you are a good fit for each other the pressure comes up to some degree. You are checking out the client as much as they are checking you out.
3. Ask questions before the call
As part of my process for people booking in for a call, I ask people to answer a few simple questions. This allows me to do some research beforehand so that I can think about any particular questions I want to ask and also get a general idea of whether I think I can help someone or not. If I really think someone is not going to be a good fit for me – for example I don’t normally work with people who have ecommerce businesses then I can either cancel the discovery call (I rarely do this) or have a conversation with the person and then after listening to what support they need recommend someone who is a better fit for what they need.
It is all about doing the best for the person who has taken the step to get in touch.
4. Preparation time before the call
Because I like to do a bit of research before my calls and so that they don’t suddenly appear in my calendar when I haven’t had time to get in the right mindset for a discovery call, I don’t allow people to book discovery calls with less than 48 hours notice. This also takes into account different time zones – if people book in the middle of my night I still have a reasonable prep period.
5. Limit the number of calls you do per day
I now actually enjoy discovery calls – I love talking to people about their businesses. But I also know that as an introvert, as much as I love them, I know I am only really effective for so many discovery calls in a day. After that (in my case 3 calls max.) I need to take a break and do some quiet tasks like writing blogs posts, planning or just generally reflecting on life, the universe and good coffee.
6. Schedule time between calls
In the past I have done back to back calls and I just end up flustered. I need time between my calls to process what we have talked about. Otherwise I feel rushed and not very well prepared which I just hate. (Yes I may have slight control issues along with my introversion!) Now I allow at least half an hour between calls to get a cup of tea, review my notes on the next call and have a quick chat to my pups. It means I am not short changing the person who is on that second call!
To ask questions before the call and to manage my call schedule I use acuity scheduling. It has inbuilt functionality that allows you to ask questions when people book a call, to limit the number of calls you take in the day and the space between calls. You can find out more about acuity here. (This is an affiliate link and I will gain a small benefit if you sign up but there is no cost to you and I am only recommending it because I have found it to be a great system to use.)
There are other scheduling tools out there. I have personally used any but I have friends who use calendly and it has similar functionality to acuity in terms of questions, scheduling limits and time between calls. You can read more about calendly here.
I would love to hear in the comments what you have done to make discovery calls a positive experience for both you and your client.