What is a Discovery Call?
A discovery call is the first meeting with a person. They are not yet a client. The session is usually offered for free and lasts about 30 to 45 minutes. The goal of the discovery session is to discern whether or not the person would be a good fit to work with you and then invite them to work with you.
The discovery session is successful if A) the person becomes a paying client or B) you decide that they are not a right fit to work with and refer them to someone who is. Not every person who books a discovery call with you will be a good fit. There is no shame in referring them on to someone who can better help them.
The purpose of a discovery call is to:
-Collect personal information
-Listen to their needs and pain points
-Identify their overall goal with the design project
-Determine the scope of the project
-Determine the budget the client has estimated for the project and educate the individual about what a realistic budget looks like when working with you based on the detail provided.
-Learn about their expectations
-Advise them about how you work, your process, communication and expectations
A discovery call is NOT:
A session where you give them specific and personalized tips on how to design their space.
A session where you give advice.
A session where you talk more than you listen.
6 Steps to a Successful Discovery Call
Step 1: Establish Pre-Discovery Call Credibility.
Typically, after a discovery call is booked, you’ll send the person a follow-up email that will include any forms or surveys you want them to fill out. Use the ‘in between’ time to establish credibility, to build rapport and to educate the person so they become a friend. In addition to sending forms, you can establish credibility and build rapport by:
Asking open-ended, fun and personal questions via email.
Something like “I’d like to get to know you a bit better before we meet. Hit reply and tell me what your favorite tv show is right now" or perhaps send a fun quiz to learn more about their communication of design style. People LOVE to learn about themselves. try a quiz template from Interact. When they reply to you, make sure that you reply back with friendly banter.
Send them high-value content that gives them the ability to have a small win.
Include a link to a helpful blog post, video or interview where you educate them on their problem and give
an actionable strategy that they can immediately implement.
Step 2: Create the Agenda
You start the discovery session by setting the agenda — which really means you share the next steps and explain exactly what’s going to happen during your time together. Walking the prospect through each phase of the discovery session sets the tone and allays any anxiety the person has because they know what’s coming up.
TIP: Seed the invitation to working together from the beginning. In other words, tell the prospect that you will be giving them specific recommendations on how you can move forward and work together.
Step 3. Establish the 'why'
The first piece of information you want to gather is WHY — why are they sitting across from you now?
What triggered them to make the appointment now? This is where you’ll need to dig a bit deeper. It’s important that you understand their motivation and their mindset — what are they thinking and feeling at the point of the first contact?
TIP: A good probing question to ask that allows you to go deeper is “why is this important to you?” Then stop talking. Let the prospect talk. Follow up with, “Is there more?”. Then stop talking and just listen.
Step 4: Create the Dream Outcome
After you’ve established the prospects ‘come from’ — their why now trigger, you want to understand what their goals are.
There is a gap between where the person is now and where they want to go. In order for you to close the gap (with your program or service package) you need to know where they want to go.
Of course you want to know their goals and what they hope to achieve but more importantly, you want to know WHY they want those things.
STEP 5: Invite them to work with you
This is the part that makes most people feel like they want to puke — this is the part where you ask for the sale so to speak.
By this point you’ve discussed their ‘come from’ — the why now trigger, their goals and you’ve run them through whatever questions you feel are most helpful to establish the gap. Now it’s time to invite them into working together.
You can transition into asking for the sale by starting with recapping the gap — why they are there and where they want to go. Then you give 1 – 2 specific recommendations based on their desired goal.
Focus on communicating WHAT, WHY & HOW.
What their pain points and struggles are with the current design.
Why they won’t be able to achieve their goal alone.
How you plan to help them via your system or process.
TIP: After you explain how you are going to help them, you give them two options to work together — OPTION A or B. This way, when you invite the prospect into transformation, they can choose between the two options and it’s not a yes or no answer.
STEP 6: Overcome Objections
Ah, the old “I need to talk to my spouse” or “I’d like to try it on my own” objections. We’ve all gotten them. And they suck. Objections are almost always based in fear and come up for a couple of reasons:
The prospect doesn’t feel the value of what you are offering so the price feels in-congruent. The person is scared to commit because they’ve failed in the past. They don’t really understand how you are going to help them. They aren’t in enough ‘pain’ to make changes. The prospect doesn’t believe they can actually succeed.
Let’s flip the script on objections and not take them personally. When you get an objection think of it as a ‘tell’ — the prospect is basically telling you where they are stuck. It’s your job to help them work through their fear.
TIP: Use the client’s exact language during the call. People want to feel like they are seen and heard. When they feel seen and heard, it builds trust. When people trust you, they are more likely to buy from you. It really is that simple.
If someone says, “I’m afraid I won’t make my investment back.” Instead of saying, “Yes you will!” or “Why are you so scared?” instead say, “Why are you afraid that you won’t make your investment back?”
Continue to ask questions (instead of convincing or stepping over their concerns) and slowly unravel their hesitations.
You’ll better serve them and help them get clarity about whether or not it’s the right fit to work with you.
Even better, more people will say yes. They’ll feel how genuine you are, trust you more, and get that you’re a good designer who cares and understands how to help them.
Feeling comfortable facilitating discovery sessions takes practice. The more you do them the better you get at them. Commit to giving a specific number of discovery sessions per week — offer them to anyone and everyone you can think of. If you need the practice then don’t be shy about it.
The only way to get better is to practice.
Send the client your contact and invoice within 24 hours of the consultation ending and remind them they need to sign your contract and pay a deposit to book their spot in your schedule.
Don't have a contract? No problem! We have you covered!
Templates: You can get one from www.thecontractshop.com.
How to Create Your Own:
Here is a Podcast Episode about how to create if a good contract & resources to do so.