What To Do About “Discovery” (AKA Sales) Calls In Your Business

Let’s face it–most online entrepreneurs are introverted and HATE doing “discovery” calls. (A “discovery call” for anyone not familiar with the phrase, is a free call where you get on the phone with a potential client to see if you’re a good fit to work together, you overcome any objections they have to saying yes and then you sell them into your coaching program.) We’re told and taught by pretty much every course, coach and program out there that these calls are necessary to be successful in business.

I know, because I used to buy into that same belief. Used to, being the operative words.

When I first launched my coaching business in October 2010, there weren’t really any business coaches or online business programs out there.

And for me, that was actually a good thing, because without knowing what I didn’t know, I couldn’t get caught up in what other people said I should be doing in my business. Back then, since I was just “winging it” online and trying to figure things out as I went along, when I downloaded the idea for my very first private coaching program, I didn’t know I was supposed to do discovery/sales calls.

So I didn’t do them.

I actually just sent an email to my list and told them about my new private coaching program and that I had five spots available. I only sent two emails and within 48 hours, all five of my coaching spots had sold.

No sales calls. No messaging me on Facebook or IG for more details. Just a couple of simple emails with a call to action to reply back if you wanted one of the five spots and then I sent over a PayPal link.

Done and done.

When I quit my day job to take my writing and coaching business full-time in March 2012, I still didn’t know what I didn’t know, so I continued to promote and sell my private coaching through email. And it always worked.

But then in 2014, I joined B-School and I started working with private coaches and learning more about how to “properly” run and operate an online business, and one of the big things they talked about was doing discovery/sales calls.

So I started doing them. I started promoting a free discovery call so people could get on the phone with me to learn about my program and see if we were a good fit to work together. I booked quite a few discovery calls every week.

The only problem was, I freaking HATED doing these calls!!!

Not only did I hate having to schedule a time to talk to someone for free, but I also hated how I felt while I was on the call itself. It was hard for me to try and get to know the potential client and suss out where they were stuck and what they needed help with because all I was worried about was that at the end of the call, I would have to try to sell them into my program and overcome any objections they threw on the trail.

Most of the time, I didn’t try to overcome anything. If they objected or said they didn’t have the money, I would just say OK and that was it.

After a while, I just stopped trying to book these discovery calls.

I didn’t promote the link. I didn’t tell people about it. And I also didn’t get any new clients because I had stopped promoting my coaching via email.

Then in early 2015, I got better at doing these calls and I started to get people saying yes to my coaching. I still fucking hated doing them, but I thought that’s what I was “supposed to” do, so I did it. Begrudgingly and with a lot of procrastination and resistance leading up to it.

But eventually, I got sick of it. I was over wasting my time on the phone with people who didn’t have the money, weren’t willing to invest in themselves, or who weren’t ready to say “Yes” and sign up.

So I decided to find a way to make discovery/sales calls feel better.

I created an intake form that would have to be filled out before someone could schedule a discovery/sales call with me. On that form, I asked them the same stuff I would typically ask in the sales call–what do you desire? Where are you at right now? What’s challenging or stopping you? Etc.

And at the very end of the intake form, I added two mandatory questions:

> Are you ready to say YES and get started working with me if we both determine it’s a good fit? (select Yes or No)

> Are you aware that this is a paid program and the investment is [insert investment amount for this program]? (select Yes or No)

If the person who filled out the form didn’t say Yes to both of those questions, I wouldn’t get on the phone with them. I would just send them to my blog and free Facebook group. I was no longer willing to waste my time on time wasters.

By creating this intake form and then adding those two final questions on it, I felt a lot better and more confident going into my discovery/sales calls. I knew if the person said Yes to both being ready to get started and knowing what the investment was AND they showed up to the call, then it was very likely they were going to sign up. All I had to do was tell them about the program and answer any questions they had.

With these changes, I felt better getting on the call (and I closed way more sales).

But even with all of those changes, I still HATED doing discovery/sales calls. And I knew this, yet I still forced myself to do them.

Then in early 2016, I met and worked with a coach who did things differently. She NEVER did sales calls. She ONLY signed coaching clients via Facebook messenger. AND she was making millions of dollars every year in her business.

Something shifted for me in that moment. I realized that I didn’t have to do things the “proper” way. And I actually had more success and ease with selling my coaching back before I started doing the discovery/sales calls anyhow.

So I made a decision: NO MORE SALES CALLS!!

I put an end to the discovery call right then and there. I was done and I didn’t care if I never got another coaching client again (though I suspected that wouldn’t be the case).

I went back to what I was doing in 2010, before I knew what I now know about the coaching industry–I started signing clients up via email again.

Since I wasn’t going to do any more sales calls, I figured it would be a good idea to have an actual sales page where I put all the info for the program, including the FAQs I most got asked on the discovery/sales calls I had done. I even made a video where I introduced myself and detailed what my process was, what it was like to work with me, who should or shouldn’t work with me, etc.

And then I simply put a link to the contact form on my website, so anyone who was interested in working with me as a client could email me to sign up.

Since 2016, I have signed up ALL of my clients via email or Facebook messenger, including for programs that cost several thousand dollars.

The ONLY time I would get on the phone with someone prior to them signing up to work with me was for projects that were $10k or more. For anything less than that, it was email or messenger only.

Still to this day, I DO NOT DO discovery or sales calls of ANY KIND!!

And the simple reason I don’t is because I don’t want to and they don’t feel good to me. Period. End of story.

I no longer try to convince myself I have to do things how the coaches or the programs or courses say I do. I no longer worry that a potential client will walk away if I won’t get on the phone with them prior to signing up with me (those aren’t my soulmate clients).

I just do me in my business (and life), and everything is better because of it.

The truth is, you DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING you don’t want to do in your business (or in life). You get to decide. You get to do what feels good to you, regardless of what anyone else says or does.

But you have to accept that truth for yourself and then own it and live into it and not back down on it, no matter what.

Unless, of course, you actually want a business where you have to do things you don’t wanna do?

Though I highly suspect you don’t. You wouldn’t have read this far down on this post if you did.

Dream life or bust,

jen

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