Fatigue from too many discovery sessions is very real!
More precisely, too many discovery sessions with the wrong type of prospect are extremely tiring.
The biggest bugbear of any marketing consultant is spending time speaking to prospects when the lengthy calls do not “go anywhere productive” or end up anywhere close to a sale.
However, for all marketing consultants, these discovery sessions are a vital part of the business.
Calls or meetings with prospective clients provide marketing consultants with the detailed data that they need to create an accurate, revenue-generating proposal.
The difficulty comes in ensuring that these discovery sessions are worthwhile and that they will turn a prospect into a client.
The Problems With Discovery Sessions
Discovery sessions have a huge amount of potential, but there are some pitfalls to avoid;
1. No Destination and No Framework
After the pleasantries, the discovery session can end up in no man’s land.
A list of questions run through the marketing consultant’s mind before, during and after their discovery sessions:
- Who is meant to take charge of the call?
- Am I supposed to sell myself and my services or focus on understanding my prospect’s problem?
- How can I show my experience without giving away too much free advice?
How to Avoid This Pitfall
For successful discovery sessions that hit the mark every time (and avoids unnecessary confusion) then it is wise to follow a structure.
Using a discovery session framework of conversation prompts can make sure you fill in all the knowledge gaps without making it sound like an impersonal script.
2. The Patient Directs The Doctor
It is normal for prospects to ask questions, but if they are leading the conversation and steering it in their direction, then you lose your standing as the one with expertise.
Making sure that you prepare yourself with an impressive portfolio or explaining a few similar projects that you have worked on in the past can establish your expertise.
Once the prospect understands your background, they’ll feel more comfortable telling you what they need and trusting you for the advice you can give.
How I Use Discovery Sessions To Turn Prospects Into Extremely Happy Clients
So, after getting the issues out of the way, how do you have a great discovery session?
These are the five key steps that I take in my discovery sessions.
1. I Focus On Getting To Know The Prospect
Asking lots of questions and encouraging lots of interaction is a great way to get the prospect to open up and so that you know exactly how you can help.
While I make sure to always be the one in control and leading the conversation, the prospect should be the one doing most of the talking so that I can build up a detailed picture of them.
Typically, clients will love being asked about their business, and it can be an excellent way to build rapport.
Remember, the most successful salespeople are the ones who don’t make it feel like a sale.
Instead, I let the client unburden themselves, and conclude by explaining the best measures for the client to take. It is my aim to leave prospects feeling positive from a fantastic interaction with a clear mind on what to do and how I can help.
2. I Don’t Give Away My Insider Secrets
My advice and expertise is my business, so I don’t give it away too soon or all for free. Sometimes, it can be incredibly hard not to chime in with help when the prospect talks about their problem, and I can see the perfect solution.
Instead, if someone asks me for advice, I politely explain that the purpose of this discovery session is to get to know them in detail. Once I have all of the information, I am in a much better position to give the client the best possible advice.
3. I Use Open-Ended Questions
Questions that result in yes and no answers do not help the client or me. Instead, I try to keep the questions broad and open-ended to encourage the client to talk more. My aim for most discovery sessions is to gather a list of around 20-30 goals (sometimes more for big projects).
Some excellent open-ended questions I use include;
- What’s your vision for six months’ time?
- Where would you like to see your business in one, five, ten years?
- What is stopping you achieving your goals now?
- What else? (this is simple but very effective)
- What are the roadblocks in your way?
- What are you happy within your business?
- Can you describe the state of the current business?
- How would you like this to progress?
4. I Summarise And Conclude
When I think that I have all the information I need (and I’m not afraid to ask for more to ensure I get the best picture possible), I start to prescribe the client by summarising their goals.
For example, I say:
‘So you want to achieve X, but you are struggling because of Y’.
I do this because putting the goal and issue in such simple terms may be something that the prospect hasn’t been able to see.
I will also use phrases such as ‘does this sound right?’ or ‘would you agree?’ to ensure the client and I are definitely on the same page. It also shows that I completely ‘get’ their business.
Furthermore, it gives the client a lightbulb moment, where they can finally see the issue and the goal clearly.
Once I give the client this lightbulb moment, and they reply with; ‘Yes! That’s exactly what we need’ I can then smoothly respond with; ‘That’s great, shall I pop you over a proposal?’
With this, I have made a big leap into transitioning this prospect into a client and can end the day feeling positive about a job well done.
5. I Set Up a Proposal Presentation Meeting Quickly
There are many advantages to setting up a proposal meeting quickly. For a start, the great discovery session is still in the client’s mind, and they’ll often want to strike while the iron is still hot.
I like to set up a proposal presentation meeting and construct the proposal straight away is that I have the enthusiasm from a great discovery call and can’t wait to help them to achieve their goals.
To ensure I have this momentum after every discovery session, I have a proposal template that I use, which makes it much easier and speedier to write than starting from scratch.
This process allows me to set up a proposal meeting within a day or two of the discovery session.
In fact, I never send a proposal, I always present it in person.
And, if that is not possible, I record a presentation video with a link to that video embedded in the proposal.
Complimentary Digital Marketing Discovery Session
If you want to experience a discovery session in action and see how I conduct my own discovery sessions, then book a strategy session with me.
In this ‘find out for yourself’ session, I’ll show you the techniques I use to ensure a discovery session is both helpful to the clients and myself.
Don’t hesitate, book your digital marketing discovery strategy session using the form below: