If you’re looking to improve sales conversions for your consulting, coaching or training business, in this article, we’ll discuss one of the most crucial aspects of client acquisition – the discovery session. We’ll explore effective strategies to pre-qualify potential clients, speak with confidence, understand your value, and ask for the sale.
Now if you’re selling into organisations, you’re likely to have a series of exploratory conversations rather than one discovery call, and not necessarily with one individual, so bear that in mind. But many of the principles, steps and forms of words that I’ll be covering are the same.
So, if you’re ready to rock your discovery sessions and make more sales, let’s dive in!PREFER TO LISTEN?
Anyone in business selling high-ticket services or programs, knows that converting total strangers into raving customers predictably and profitably is the cornerstone of any successful business. It’s also pretty challenging! (Huge understatement!) It takes skill and it takes practice. So in this article, I’m sharing some pointers for how to set yourself up for success, not only during the call but also before and after.
#1 – Pre-Qualify Potential Clients
Picture this scenario: your ideal client schedules a discovery call with you, but when it comes to discussing your coaching offer, they quickly dismiss it. Sound familiar? Well, it might be time to revisit your closing strategies.
One of the key elements that helps with closing on a call is pre-qualifying the people you talk with. Here are some practical tips to ensure you’re connecting with the right prospects.
Tip 1: Reflect Your Ideal Client in Your Branding and Language
To attract the right clients, make sure your marketing content clearly communicates the type of clients you work with. For example, for myself I’m going to emphasise that you specialise in serving established business owners rather than new entrepreneurs.
This approach ensures your message reaches the right audience and maximises your chances of conversion.
A subtle yet effective way to pre-qualify potential clients is by using a short form as part of your calendar booking process. Ask questions related to the challenges you help with, focusing on the ones aligned with your ideal client profile. This way, you filter out applicants who may not be a good fit, saving time for both parties.
Tip 3: Be Transparent in Your Discovery Session Invitation
When inviting prospects to a discovery session, clearly state who you work with and provide an overview of their investment. This transparency sets expectations and helps potential clients self-select based on their readiness and affordability.
#2 – Crafting an Effective Call Structure
While pre-qualifying clients is important, having a well-structured call is super important. Let’s explore how you can create an effective structure for your discovery sessions.
Here are seven steps you can use to create an outline that flows naturally as a conversation and transitions elegantly into making your offer.
Step 1: Build Rapport
Take time to build rapport with your potential client. Connect on a human level. Ask open-ended questions to understand their background, goals, and challenges. This not only helps you connect on a deeper level but also provides valuable insights for tailoring your offer.
Step 2: Set the Agenda
Begin the main part of the call by setting a clear agenda. Outline the purpose of the call. It doesn’t have to be formal, just frame it in a friendly way to outline the topics you’ll cover, and the desired outcome. This helps establish expectations and keeps the conversation focused.
Step 3: Gather Information, Uncover Pain Points and Goals
Dive deeper into the challenges your potential client is facing. Ask probing questions to uncover their pain points and specific goals. This allows you to demonstrate your understanding and provides a bridge for later when you position your offer as a solution to their needs.
Step 4: Present Your Offer and Benefits
Once you have a clear understanding of their challenges and goals, and what they’re struggling with, you can confidently present your offer. Highlight the specific benefits they’ll gain from working with you and how your approach aligns with their needs. Clearly explain the investment required and the value they can expect to receive.
Step 5: Address Concerns and Objections
Be prepared to address any concerns or objections your potential client may have. Listen actively, empathise with their perspective, and provide reassurance or additional information to alleviate their doubts. Remember, addressing concerns demonstrates your commitment to their success.
Step 6: Call to Action
As the call nears its conclusion, it’s essential to guide the potential client toward the next steps. Clearly articulate the call to action, whether it’s scheduling a follow-up session, making a decision on the spot, or providing them with the necessary information to move forward.
Step 7: Follow-Up and Thank You
Finally, don’t forget the importance of follow-up and expressing gratitude. Send a personalised thank-you message or email to show your appreciation for their time and consideration. This thoughtful gesture helps maintain a positive impression and encourages further engagement.
#3 – Speak with Confidence
Now that you’ve pre-qualified your leads, it’s time to focus on your delivery during discovery sessions. Confidence is key when presenting your offer. Speaking confidently, and understanding your value are crucial aspects of a successful discovery call.
Let’s explore some strategies to help you communicate your value effectively.
Tip 1: Practice Makes Perfect
Gain confidence in stating your offer by practising. Stand in front of the mirror, smile, and repeat your offer until you can confidently transition to making the offer. For instance, I really like this framing:
“Based on what you’ve shared and our discussion, would you like to hear what I recommend?“ (Pretty much always gets a yes.) “My business coaching program is designed to help you solve the exact problems you’re facing. Would you like to hear about how it can help?”
When you’re telling them the details, you want to be highlighting those parts that match to what they said they needed. And once you’ve told them the details, you ask the open question: “How does that sound?” Avoid asking closed yes/no questions like ‘Does that sound good?’ because their answer won’t tell you how they’re feeling so far.
Then you move to tell them the price.
“Ok, so let me share that the investment is $5000 and today all that’s needed to secure your spot is a $500 deposit. Can you make that work?”
Rehearsing helps eliminate hesitations that might invite negotiations.
Tip 2: Embrace the Power of Silence
After presenting your offer, resist the urge to immediately fill the silence. Give your potential client space to process and share their thoughts first. Remember, silence can be powerful, allowing the prospect to contemplate and make a decision without unnecessary influence.
#4 – Know Your Value
Understanding your value is crucial to confidently communicate your fees, even if they may feel slightly expensive to you. Let’s explore strategies to strengthen your belief in the benefits you provide.
Tip 1: Recognise Your Unique Expertise
Reflect on the benefits your clients will experience by hiring you as their coach. Understand the unique value you bring to the relationship, which goes beyond just the cost of your services.
By fully grasping the impact you can make, you’ll feel more confident in stating your fees. And if you need a bit of a boost, go read through testimonials or feedback from past or current clients to bolster your sense of value.
Tip 2: Handle Objections Before They’re Raised
If you’ve done a few calls already, you probably have a good sense of what objections potential clients raise. Of course, they may fob you off by saying they’re interested but it’s not the right timing for them.
But if you’ve gone beneath the surface and asked what would make this a no-brainer, and what you can clarify to help them move forwards, it really helps you bring some of those points into play during the call, so they actually don’t get raised or can’t be raised as an excuse or otherwise later on.
#5 – The Art of Asking for the Sale
We’ve covered pre-qualification, confident communication, and understanding your value. Now, it’s time to discuss the final step—the art of asking for the sale. You may have made the offer and shared the price, but now you have to actually ask them to buy.
Yes, really – and if you want to up your close rate, this is something you really need to be prepared to do, rather than leave it hanging.
Let’s dive into practical tips to turn your discovery sessions into paying clients.
Tip 1: Keep Your Goal in Mind
Remember, a discovery call is for exploration, not coaching per se. Use this opportunity to diagnose your potential client’s root issues and assess whether you’re a good fit. Keep your primary goal in mind: to determine if you can help and if you genuinely connect with the prospect.
Tip 2: Diagnose the Problem
Uncover the core challenges your potential client faces. Sometimes, their initial perception of the issue may differ from the actual root cause. By identifying the real problem, you can align your offer more effectively and provide tailored solutions.
Tip 3: Confidently Ask for the Sale
Be proactive in initiating the sales conversation. Share your belief in the positive results you’ve achieved with clients facing similar challenges. Present the potential client with a choice of coaching options, such as a 3-month or 6-month program, or an entry level service before taking a fuller commitment.
Invite them to decide based on their needs, budget and timeframe. This approach clarifies the value, demonstrates outcomes, shows your flexibility and adaptability, and it also eliminates the option to simply say “no.”
#6 – Handling Objections with Confidence
In the process of conducting discovery sessions, it’s common to encounter objections from potential clients. These objections may stem from various concerns or uncertainties. It’s crucial to address these effectively to overcome resistance and move closer to a successful conversion.
Let’s explore strategies for handling objections with confidence and elegance.
Tip 1: Active Listening and Empathy
When a potential client presents an objection, it’s essential to actively listen and empathise with their perspective. Let them know that you understand their concerns and acknowledge that their feelings are valid. This demonstrates your commitment to their needs and helps build trust.
Tip 2: Clarify and Validate
Begin by clarifying the objection to ensure you fully understand it. Repeat the objection back to the potential client to show that you’re actively engaged in the conversation. Validating their concerns helps create an open and non-confrontational environment.
“I understand that investing in coaching can be a significant decision. It’s important to ensure that you’re comfortable with the commitment. Can you share more about what specifically makes you concerned about the investment?”
Tip 3: Use Curiosity to Get to the Root Cause
Dig deeper to uncover the underlying reason behind the objection. Often, objections are a reflection of hidden fears or doubts. By addressing the root cause, you can alleviate their concerns more effectively.
“I hear that you’re concerned about the financial investment. Can you help me understand what specifically worries you about the cost? Is it related to the return on investment, or are there other factors at play?”
Tip 4: Provide Value and Solutions
Once you’ve identified the root cause, focus on providing value and offering solutions that address their concerns. Emphasise the benefits and outcomes they can expect from working with you.
“I completely understand your concern about the financial aspect. However, it’s important to consider the potential growth and results you can achieve through our coaching program.
Our previous clients have experienced [specific outcomes], which have had a significant impact on their businesses. By investing in coaching, you’re positioning yourself for long-term success and a substantial return on investment.”
Tip 5: Overcome Objections with Testimonials and Social Proof
Utilise testimonials and social proof to demonstrate the positive experiences and results other clients have achieved by working with you. Sharing success stories can help overcome objections and instil confidence in potential clients.
“I completely understand your hesitation. Let me share a success story from one of our clients who had similar concerns initially. Hearing about their transformation might provide you with additional reassurance. Because they were unsure about the investment, but after committing to the coaching program, they experienced [specific results].”
Tip 6: Collaborate and Offer Options
Involve the potential client in finding a solution that meets their needs and aligns with their concerns. Offer flexible options or alternatives that may address their objections while still providing value.
“I value your commitment to making an informed decision. How about we explore some alternative options that could work for you? We could consider a shorter coaching program or a payment plan that spreads out the investment over several months. Let’s find a solution that best fits your circumstances.”
#7- Handling Different Outcomes: Yes, Maybe, or No
During discovery sessions, you may encounter different outcomes: a “Yes” indicating readiness to proceed, a “Maybe” reflecting the need for further consideration, or a “No” indicating a decline. Let’s explore how to handle each outcome effectively.
Yes – Sealing the Deal:
When a potential client responds with a “Yes,” it’s an exciting moment. Here’s how to move forward and finalise the agreement.
1: Confirm Their Commitment
Begin by reaffirming their commitment to achieving their desired outcomes. Ask them to rate their commitment on a scale of 1-10, emphasising the importance of their dedication.
“On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to achieving XYZ (the goal/desire)? This helps ensure we align our efforts and work towards your success.”
2: Outline Your Recommendation
Proceed by outlining your coaching program, training or consulting service that will help them resolve their specific area of need and deliver specific outputs and outcomes. Highlight the key features and benefits.
“Based on our discussion, I recommend our [program name], which is designed to specifically address the challenges you shared. It includes [mention program details and benefits].”
3: Confirm Fit and Investment
Ensure that the program aligns with their current needs and discuss the investment required. Clearly communicate the value they will receive in relation to the cost.
“How does that sound? Does it seem like a fit for what you’re needing to sort out right now? I want to share that the investment in the program is [mention the investment amount]. This investment will give you [reiterate program benefits and solutions].”
Step 4: Ask for the Sale
Once you have presented the program and addressed any remaining questions or concerns, confidently ask for the sale or signup.
“Are you ready to get this scheduled/set up? I’m thrilled we’ll be working together. Here’s what we need to do to get you started [outline next steps, payment process, and onboarding details].”
Maybe – Further Consideration:
When a potential client responds with a “Maybe,” they require additional time to think. Here’s how to navigate this situation.
1: Understand Their Need for Consideration
Respectfully inquire about the specific factors they need to consider. Offer assistance and address any concerns they may have.
“May I ask what you need to think about? Is there something I can help address for you right now while we’re on the call together? Is there anything else you need to know to make the decision to start working with me/us?”
2: Schedule a Follow-Up Meeting
Book a follow-up call within 2-3 days to reconnect and provide them with additional information or clarification. This allows them time to reflect and make an informed decision. It allows time for them to speak with other colleagues who are involved in the decision.
“Okay, are you okay to schedule a quick follow-up meeting in 2-3 days’ time? This will give you the opportunity to gather your thoughts and have any further questions answered.”
No – Graceful Handling of a Decline:
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a potential client may respond with a “No.” Handle the situation graciously and seek to understand their reasons.
1: Seek Feedback Gently
Politely inquire about their reasons for declining. Use this opportunity for market research and to gain insights into any aspects that may need improvement.
“May I understand why this isn’t a fit for you right now? Is it a matter of timing, cost, or other factors? Your feedback would be valuable to us.”
2: Appreciate Their Time and Offer Future Updates
Express gratitude for their time and the conversation. Offer to add them to your mailing list to keep them updated on any future promotions or changes that may align better with their needs.
“Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I appreciate your honesty. If your situation changes or if there are updates in the future, would you like to be added to our mailing list? This way, you can stay informed about any relevant offerings.”
Handling different outcomes during discovery sessions requires finesse and understanding. Whether it’s a “Yes,” a “Maybe,” or a “No,” adapt your approach accordingly.
Celebrate the wins, provide support during the consideration phase, and gracefully accept a decline while seeking valuable feedback. Remember, each interaction is an opportunity for growth and improvement.
And there you have it – the essential strategies for mastering discovery sessions and increasing your conversion rates. Remember to create a semi-structured outline for the conversation, pre-qualify potential clients, speak with confidence, understand your value, and ask for the sale.
By creating a well-structured discovery call and making sure you’re only talking to qualified prospects, you set the stage for productive and meaningful conversations with potential clients.
Remember to build rapport at the start, then frame the conversation by setting the agenda before moving to elicit information about their goals and challenges.
Only once you have clarity on what their needs are and what’s standing in the way, should you present your offer. That way you can present confidently, addressing concerns they’ve raised or might raise, and provide a clear call to action. The more you practise, the more elegant the transition to making your offer.
Essentially, you are using their goals, needs and gaps to determine if your program or service is a good fit to support them in achieving the results they’re looking for. You’re only inviting them to learn about your program and talk about how it aligns with what they said they need help with.
Handling objections with confidence is a crucial skill to master during your discovery sessions, as is responding positively and with grace to whatever the outcome is after making the offer.
By actively listening, clarifying concerns, addressing the root cause, providing value and solutions, utilising testimonials, and collaborating on alternatives, you can overcome objections and move closer to converting potential clients.
Remember, objections are opportunities for deeper understanding and building trust.
When you really get into the mindset of service to their best interest, you’ll feel far less anxious or uncomfortable about the sales transaction that may or may not take place.
By implementing these tactics, you’ll build stronger connections with the right clients and watch your signup conversions sky rocket. With an effective call structure in place, you’ll maximise your chances of converting prospects into paying clients.
Stay tuned for more valuable insights as we’ll be talking more over the next weeks about content, copy and courses and how to leverage the power and mitigate the risks of AI’s ChatGPT to survive and thrive in the digital marketplace.
If you want to accelerate your business journey, book a free discovery call with me and we’ll talk through where you’re at, what you need and whether the Leveraged Business Accelerator coaching program is a good fit for you. See what I did 🙂
Until the next time, ciao ciao!