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Navigating Free Discovery Calls with Ease

Navigating the ever-changing business landscape means forging genuine connections with prospective clients.

I've gathered a golden nugget of wisdom from chatting with numerous small business owners: securing a free discovery call with a potential client massively boosts their chances of booking a full appointment. So, it's no surprise that you'll often see "Book a free discovery call" as a standout call to action on many websites.

But here's the thing—while discovery calls are a fantastic way to deepen connections, there's some hesitation around them.

The main worry is that rather than sticking to 15-30 minutes, they can sometimes stretch far beyond their intended duration.

In today's blog, we're diving into the world of free discovery calls. We'll explore their significance and share some tips on how to keep them productive and time-efficient, all in the name of propelling your business forward. Let's get into it!

What is a “free discovery call”?

A "free discovery call" is essentially a short conversation offered to potential clients at no cost or obligation. 

Often, asking clients to book an appointment or join a program or course without talking to you first can create a barrier. A free, short call can help overcome this barrier.

Why run free discovery sessions?

The purpose of a discovery call is to understand the client's needs, challenges, and goals. They also provide an opportunity for them to meet you, hear your voice, get to know you and ask questions. 

They’re a valuable tool for building trust and demonstrating expertise without the potential client's initial financial commitment.

And, importantly, they’re a chance to make sure there's a good fit in terms of services offered and client requirements. (It’s okay to say “no”, if they’re not a good fit!)

The challenges of running free discovery calls for your business

Keeping calls within the allocated time can be tough, especially when your clients share detailed personal stories.

The other main challenge is juggling discovery calls with other business responsibilities requiring efficient calendar management.

Let’s look at some tips to help manage these challenges.

Running effective discovery calls

Here are some strategies for keeping discovery calls within 15-30 minutes.

1.  Structured Questionnaire: Use a pre-call questionnaire for clients to fill out. This can cover basic information and allow more focused discussion during the call.

2. Set Expectations Upfront: At the beginning of the call, inform the client about its duration. For example, "I'm glad we're connecting today. Just to let you know, we have about 15 minutes for this call."

3. Agenda Setting: Start the call with a quick agenda overview. For instance, "Today, I'd like to understand your goals, discuss your main challenges, and see how our services might be a good fit."

4. Focused, Closed Questions: To keep the conversation on track, ask specific, concise questions that require brief answers.

5. Control the Conversation: Gently steer the conversation back if the client goes off-topic. You can say, "That's really interesting. Could we focus on [specific topic] to best use our time?"

6. Time Checks: Politely interject with time checks. For example, "I see we have about five minutes left. Let's talk about the next steps."

7. Summarise and Close: As the call nears its end, summarise key points and suggest a follow-up. For example, "Based on what we've discussed, [brief summary]. I suggest we schedule a [next step] to dive deeper into this."

8. Use a Timer: Keep a visible timer or clock to stay aware of the time.

These strategies help maintain focus, provide value within the allocated time, and respect both the provider's and the client's time.

Calendar Management Tips

To manage calendar bookings for free discovery calls effectively, consider these tips:

1. Online Scheduling Tool: Use an online scheduling tool like Calendly, Acuity Scheduling, or Google Calendar. These tools allow clients to see your availability and book slots themselves, reducing back-and-forth communication.

2. Time Block Scheduling: Block specific times in your calendar exclusively for discovery calls. This helps you manage your time efficiently and prevent overbooking.

3. Limit Availability: Limit the number of calls per day or week to balance with other work commitments.

4. Set a Booking Cut-off Time: Establish a cut-off time for booking calls, like no bookings less than 24 hours in advance, to avoid surprise appointments.

5. Buffer Time: Include buffer time between calls to avoid running late and to prepare for the next call.

6. Automated Reminders: Set up automated email or SMS reminders for clients to reduce no-shows. Include instructions or links needed for the call.

7. Sync with Personal Calendar: To avoid double bookings, ensure your business calendar syncs with your personal calendar.

8. Regular Review and Adjustment: Periodically review your availability and adjust based on demand and other commitments.

Implementing these tips can help streamline the booking process, making it more efficient and less time-consuming.

Follow-Up Email Strategies and Timing

It’s important to follow up with your client after your discovery call. Effectively following up after a discovery call can significantly increase a client's chances of booking your services. 

Here are some suggestions for what to include in the first follow-up email :

Send a follow-up email within 24 hours of the call. This will keep the momentum going and show your professionalism and interest.

  • Recap the main points discussed during the call, demonstrating your understanding of the client's needs and goals.

  • Include detailed information about your services, packages, or programs that align with their needs. Attach or link to brochures, service descriptions, testimonials, or case studies if available.

  • Make it easy for them to take the next step. For example, you could provide a link to book their first session, a sign-up form, or instructions on proceeding.

  • If applicable, offer a limited-time discount or bonus for clients who book within a certain timeframe.

  • Create a sense of urgency by providing a deadline for any special offer or for booking their first session.

  • Give them various ways to reach you (email, phone, social media) for any further questions or clarifications.

  • If the client seemed interested but hesitant, suggest a follow-up call to address any remaining questions or concerns.

  • Your tone should be warm, inviting, and encouraging, making them feel supported and understood.

So, how many times would you follow a client up?

Typically, the following sequence works well. It maintains professionalism without appearing too pushy and allows you to move on without spending forever following up with a client. 

1. Initial Follow-Up Email: Send this within 24 hours after the discovery call to recap the discussion and provide additional information.

2. First Reminder: If you haven't heard back, send a follow-up email or call about a week later. This serves as a gentle reminder and allows the client to ask any further questions or clarify doubts.

3. Second Reminder: If there's still no response, a final follow-up about a week after the first reminder is advisable. This should be your last attempt to reach out; you can mention that it's the final follow-up for now.

If they're interested but not ready now, they might contact us later when the time is right.

Free discovery calls are more than preliminary chats; they're the first step in building lasting client relationships. 

With the right approach, these calls can be effectively managed, benefiting your clients and business. 

Remember, the key is in the balance – understanding your client while respecting your time and professional boundaries.

Imagine website copy is so compelling that (right) people can't help but click the "book a call" button. What impact would that have on your business? 

Give me a call, let's have our free discovery call (!) and see how we can get your website saying the right things to attract your dream clients. 

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