One of the best ways to ensure that your prospective new clients will be good matches for you is to put discovery calls at the top of your to-do list.
Why a Discovery Call?
Think of it as a meet and greet, or dating. You don’t walk up to someone and say, “Hello, will you marry me?” Instead, you take the time to get to know them.
As a service provider, you really have no time to waste. You don’t want to jump through hoops to get people to hire you. You also don’t want to deal with impossible clients who will never be happy no matter what you do. Discovery calls can weed out the wrong ones and land the right ones.
Write a Profile of Your Ideal Client
Are they a man, woman, age, industry, income, personality and style. Think how they will mesh with yours. Again, imagine a dating profile and you should be able to find good matches.
Create a Great Website
Put enough free content on your website to give people an idea of what it will be like to work with you. Include video and a meaty portfolio. Refer prospective clients to the website in the first instance before they schedule a discovery call.
Keep Each Call Short
No more than 15 minutes. Five minutes should tell you enough to say no. Fifteen should be enough to move the deal forward if you feel you are a good fit. Note: If you think for one moment they’re not right for you, trust your gut. Never take a job just because of money.
Determine who They Are & Their Most Pressing Problem
Create a script or list of questions you will ask each prospective client that will give you enough information about them to decide whether or not you can and/or wish to help them. Print out copies to use for each discovery call and fill in the answers as you go along.
Top questions to ask include:
- Tell me about your company.
- Tell me about your role. What do you do day-to-day?
- What tasks are you looking to hand over to a VA like me?
- What are your goals in relation to these tasks?
- Do you have a deadline for these goals?
- Have you ever worked with a VA before?
- In what ways can I make your job easier?
Look at their issue and see how much work it would take.
Decide on Any Red Flags
What will be the ‘deal breakers’ in any conversation? Examples might include impossible deadlines, issues over fees, and requests you behave in a dishonest manner, such as stealing all the content and code for a website in order to duplicate it for the client.
Depending on what you hear by this point, you can either politely end the call, or continue on in an effort to close the deal or at least end the call on a positive note.
Explain How You Work with Clients
Be clear about what you need. For example, if you are a PowerPoint specialist, you would need content, images and so on. Give an idea of turnaround time, revision requests and so on.
Be Clear about Costs
You may or may not have prices listed on your website. Even if you have, you’d be surprised to see many people book a call and balk at the cost. Come up with a ‘package’ deal that will work for them ONLY if you are genuinely interested in working with them.
Be Clear About a Firm Commitment
Mention that you will charge a $100 retainer fee so you can pencil them in on your calendar, to be deducted from your first invoice. This should sort out the serious versus the sneaky. This may seem pushy, but remember, the whole point of a discovery call is to get the information you need and open the door to closing the deal IF you wish to work with that client.
Discovery calls are one of the best ways to ensure there is a good match between you and any new client you wish to work with. A few minutes on the phone can mean saving hours of time and ensuring happy clients and a steady stream of profitable projects that will ensure your VA business is a success.