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How To Run A Discovery Sales Call: 5 Questions To Turn Prospects Into Paying Clients

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So you’ve been reaching out to prospects left and right… morning, noon, and night…  and working your butt off to land your very first client… and you FINALLY got a bite… now what?

First of all… CONGRATULATIONS!

I know that it can be super difficult and stressful trying to land your first client. 

I mean it’s seriously ALL THE FEELS, am I right? 

But now, after dozens of client outreach emails, messages and referrals… you finally got a response from someone…

And you’re freaking out, and wondering… “uh-oh, NOW WHAT?!” 

Well keep reading because in today’s post I’m sharing my tips on how to run the perfect discovery call (aka sales call) including the 5 questions you must ask to turn that prospect into a paying client!

Hey Posse! What’s up, it’s Alex. And I’m coming at you this week with an article written just for all of you brand new… hot off the press… freelancers who are about to embark on your very first client discovery call… EEEEEK!

Leave me a comment below to let me know you’re here! And if you’re new to the crew… welcome!

I put out a new copywriting and marketing tutorial every week… so if you want more practical tutorials and how-to guides like this one… make sure to check out and subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you never miss a new video from me. 

Let’s get straight to it, shall we?

Get out your pen and some paper, because I’m about to give you the exact steps I follow to close a new client… and you’re definitely going to want to take some notes. 

So first thing first, as soon as you get a positive response from a prospective client, request a Discovery Call with them ASAP!

You want to get them on a face-to-face video call so that you can start building a relationship with them right away. YES even if you’re camera shy… this is a very important – no, NECESSARY – first step! 

Remember that it’s easy to say “no” over email before any rapport is built, but once you get them on a call… it becomes more and more difficult for them to brush you off. 

You want to show them as quickly as possible that you’re a rad human, who genuinely cares about THEIR success…

That’s right, and I seriously cannot stress this enough… This call is about THEM. Not about you. This is the secret of any successful sales call you guys.

If you’re a talker (guilty 🙋🏻‍♀️), you’re going to have to make sure you check yourself throughout the call… 

They don’t want to just hear your sales pitch, so none of this “I, I, I,… me, me, me” stuff,  okay?!

Ask about their needs, expectations, and goals… 

Do they need content, do they need copy, are they looking for someone long-term or short-term?… 

It’s okay to go in with a list of questions that you want to ask (and I’ll cover 5 of my go-to questions later on in this post)… but remember the goal isn’t to complete a templated checklist.

The goal of a discovery call is to build rapport with the potential client…

To get a better idea of who they are, what they do, how you can help them solve a problem… and perhaps most importantly, if you vibe with each other.

Ok so here are my…

Tips For Setting Up The Call:

In your request for a call, ask them what time zone they are in and for 3 times that work in their calendar this week. 

Don’t do this whole “oh I dunno, what works for you?”“OH I DUNNO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?!”

Once they get back to you with 3 time slots, pick a time that also works for you and then schedule a 30-minute call in your Calendar and send them the invite. 

It’s important for you to take charge and lead the way here. 

Going back and forth, and not giving any direction does not give a very good first impression.

And plus, the goal here is to make their life EASIER… leaving all the decisions up to them will just add one more thing to their do-list and, more than likely, the call won’t happen.

And whatever you do guys…

DO NOT SEND THEM A CALENDLY INVITE TO “GRAB A SPOT IN YOUR CALENDAR!”

That is one of my biggest pet peeves. I know it’s easier for YOU, but it’s very impersonal and implies that you’re SO busy that you’re not able to prioritize their needs, when you are the one looking for work.

I like to use Calendly when there’s an equal power dynamic, but if you’re a brand new freelancer, and they are a well-established business owner, show them that you’re willing to make ANY time work.

Trust me, this simple step goes a long way. It will make you look more dedicated, flexible and easy to work with…

And shows them that you’re a take charge person who will make their life easier… and that’s exactly how you want them to feel!

Now here is a Copy Posse Pro tip:

Title the call invite “Discovery Call <Your Name> + <Their Name>”

That way when they see it in their calendar, they know exactly what it is and who they are going to be talking to. 

Do NOT title it Discover Call with <Their Name> because then that’s what they see in the calendar. They are not having a discovery call with themselves…

Ok. So the day of your call finally arrives… yay! Arrive a few minutes early so you’re already on the line when they pop on. Do not make them wait!

The very first thing you need to do (after saying your hellos and exchange pleasantries, of course)… is asking them for permission to record the call.

Of course, most will be able to see when and if you push record, but asking is very professional and courteous. 

A simple… “Oh hey do you mind if I record this so that I don’t miss anything?” is casual and easy…

And 99% of people will say yes to that! I’ve never had anyone say no. 

This is GREAT because then you can go back and use their EXACT words when you’re following up with them after the call (without trying to remember it all in your head).

Ok so, after you push record, you can start by asking them a few simple questions… 

The 5 Questions You Should Ask:

Now, it’s totally fine to go in with a list of questions that you want to ask, I do…

But your conversation should be very organic. You don’t want it to sound like you’re grilling them. Let the natural ping pong of questions happen. 

Your job is to be curious about their company and brand, ask the right questions, and listen, listen, listen… 

And here’s another COPY POSSE PRO TIP: Don’t ask yes or no questions! This will inevitably lead you to do more talking than your prospect.

So instead of asking: Are you looking to hire a copywriter?…

Ask: Tell me more about what you’re looking for in a copywriter.

And don’t ask multiple questions at once! Ask one at a time and allow their answers to naturally lead into the next question.

So, with those tips in mind, here are 5 of my no-fail questions to ask during your next Discovery Call!

And after that, I’ll share the single most important thing you must do after your discovery call to show up professionally and powerfully, and get dat money honey. 

#1 What goal are you hoping to achieve?

This is a broad question, but it’s a great icebreaker. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get the conversation flowing naturally in one direction or another…

It’s also a great way to suss out their expectations. Are they looking for a magical cure to a tanking business and think copywriting is the answer? Are they looking to rock an upcoming launch? Are they looking to uplevel their brand messaging? This is so important so you know how to guide the conversation.

#2 What is your mission and why did you start your company?

This is a really good question to ask, that will give insight into who you’re (potentially) working with. 

Ask them how they got started in their industry, what they’re most passionate about, and why they do it?…

This will give you a really good feel for the type of business they are, what they stand for, and ultimately if you guys stand for the same things!

If you’re resonating with the things they’re saying… that’s a good sign of a good fit!

#3 What kind of copy do you need?

It’s basic, but important. In order to know if (and how) you can help them, you first need to understand the full scope of the project. 

When they answer this question, really dive deeper into the specific types of copy they need.

For example, if they need website copy, do they need home page copy, about page copy… and so on.

If they need sales copy for a launch, do they also need sales emails? 

If they need it all, ask them what they need done first.

Having a clear scope and list of priorities will majorly come in handy later when you follow up with them.

#4 Who is your ideal customer?

Yesssssss, as always we return to the customer avatar!

Believe it or not, there are actually people (and entire companies) out there who have no friggin’ idea WHO they are selling to!

So this is a great time to get inside the head of your client’s audience…

If they don’t know the answer, just do a little digging to see if they at least have an idea of what type of person they envision buying their product.

And also let them know that you can HELP THEM BUILD an entire customer avatar from scratch, which will drastically increase their conversions and brand success…

And make you look even more profesh.

#5 What is your ideal timeline?

This is more of a nuts-and-bolts question… But it is important to discuss briefly. 

If they want a long-form sales page in 2 days?…

Um, sorry… but that’s probably not going to work, and they most likely have no idea how much work and research goes into a well-crafted sales page!

This is your opportunity to gently educate on the amount of time that’s required for the copy they need.

Now, there are a lot of other questions you can ask of course, so let your conversation naturally flow. 

Once you have the answers you need to send a quote for the scope of work…

You can wrap up the call.  

And just like at the beginning (when you wanted to make things as easy as possible for them)…

You want to continue to make this process as easy and seamless as possible for them, assuming you DO want to move forward…

So at the end of your call let them know that you’ll follow up with a quote, writing samples (if they haven’t already requested them) and a timeline of deliverables. 

When you tell them that YOU’LL follow up, you’re giving them one less thing to worry about, and one more reason to trust you!

Simply say…

“Great thanks so much! It was a pleasure talking to you! I’ll be sending you a follow-up email with the next steps.”

Follow up the SAME DAY via email. Thank them again for their time, let them know you want to work with them and help achieve their goal.

This is where the recording of your call will come in handy… 

Outline what you can help them achieve. Make sure to include the specifics they asked for, in their own words, to let them know you were actually listening when they spoke, and that you’re 100% on board with them!

Map out the project scope and the deliverables, making sure to list them out individually… 

And don’t forget to communicate the timeline you expect to finish the work in. 

You can also use this as an opportunity to offer anything else you can help with (YES, this is where you can finally sell yourself, lol!)

So if they need help with a Sales Page, but you noticed they don’t have the other necessary components of a sales funnel (like targeted Ads, a landing page, or emails), let them know that you’d be happy to negotiate those into the project as well, to ensure maximum results and conversions.

Showcasing a deep understanding of THEIR business and sales funnel will help them feel supported and is the single most important thing you can do to get that YES!! 

Watch This Instead:

Until next time, I’m Alex. Ciao for now! 

 

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