Discovery Call Interview: A Beginners Guide


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One of the terms you will frequently hear in the world of service providers is “discovery call.” Depending on where you are in your home business journey, though, it might leave you with some confusion and lots of questions. For example, what is a discovery call? How do you prepare for it? What should be discussed during the call?

Today I’m going to give you a quick overview of the discovery call process. I’m going to answer some common questions so that you can develop a confident understanding of what to expect when you launch your home business.

What is a Discovery Call?

A simple definition of a discovery call is it’s the initial call between you and a prospective client where you find out more about a client’s needs, and help them understand how you can meet those needs. This is the time that you spell out how you are the solution to their problem.

This is important because being the solution to a potential clients problem is the key to getting hired. 

A discovery call needs to be guided and structured, not a “pick your brain” session with 15 minutes of small talk before you dive into the topic at hand. You have a LOT to go over, and this is work time, so treat it as such and be prepared.

By structure, I mean that you can prepare notes that contain a list of questions to ask and points to discuss. Having these notes on hand will help you remember everything you need to say and avoid forgetting anything important.

How do you prepare for a discovery call?

At a bare minimum, you must know the lead’s name, business name, type of business, industry served, etc.  Check out their social profiles. The best tool to help you prepare is a discovery call intake form on your website.

Client intake interview question form

The discovery call intake form is a preliminary questionnaire that someone fills out when they are on your website. You can easily make one for free using Google Forms or Typeform (the free version) and should ask questions to find out all the necessary background info on the potential client. The form should ask about the client’s contact information, type of business, web address, and social media links, to name a few examples.

Abbey Ashley, the founder of The Virtual Savvy & The Savvy System (the best Virtual Assistant Training Program), recommends adding some in-depth questions such as:

  • Do you have workflows/checklists set up in your business? If yes, please describe them below.
  • What is the primary frustration that you feel is holding you back in your business?
  • Do you have an initial budget for hiring someone to help you sort out these frustrations and issues?
  • What issue brought you to contact me?

Having this information before the discovery call will help you be prepared. With the information provided, you will be able to create a structure for the call ahead of time. This will ensure that you are not wasting your time and winging it. It will also give you a big confidence boost.

Related Post: How To Find Clients For Your New Business

How Do You Schedule The Discovery Call?

As far as actually scheduling the call, you can decide whether you will simply call the client over the telephone. However, it really is expected that you will use a video application like Zoom.

What Questions Should You Ask During The Discovery Call?

If you have never conducted a discovery call before, you may be freaking out. Wondering how to even begin your call and transition to making an offer.  While not all calls are alike (some will be easier than others!), they should each have the same general framework. Create a checklist so that you know you’re not going to miss any key points.

Have you noticed that I don’t suggest having a script?  Save the scripts for a speech or webinar. 

Why You Don’t Need A Discovery Call Script

A discovery call should be more intimate and personal and focused on in-the-moment reactions. If you’re scanning a script to figure out what you’re supposed to say next, you may miss a chance to interject and have a regular conversation. This distraction could be off-putting to your lead. It may appear that you’re not paying attention to what she’s saying.

While you may find a method of conducting your call over time, here’s an easy example of how you can “structure” your call:  

Make your introduction: “Hi, how are you? Thanks for taking the time to get on a call with me. Today I would like to like to hear more about your business’ goals and discuss how I can help you achieve them.”

Get the conversation flowing by asking about their goals for the call. “What would you like to get out of this meeting today?”  Never assume. Ask questions to determine what problem your lead wants to solve.

Reiterate the type of business that the client has:  i.e.,” From your client intake form, I understand you [insert what the client’s business offers] and you serve [insert niche]. Is that right?”

Virtual Assistant Discovery Call Questions

Business owners are often overwhelmed with the idea of hiring Virtual Assistants. The Virtual Assistant discovery call will allow you to demonstrate that you are a good fit. You can discuss the services your offer and how they will your client. However, first, you have to dig deep to learn what their current workflow struggles are.

Ask Follow-Up Questions

Ask your follow-up questions. Get more insight into the business, by asking several direct questions based on the information the prospective client has given. For example, you can ask questions like:

  • I understand that you are looking to hire support in the area of [insert service needed], correct?
  • What is the biggest goal you have for your business in the next 3 months?
  • What is the biggest obstacle you have right now, keeping you from that goal?

The goal of your follow-up questions should be to get the prospective client to dish out what their biggest problems are. That way, you can pitch how you can provide a solution.

Discuss the budget. In your discovery call intake form, ask the prospective clients what their budget is. Then during your call, you can use that information to form your question. I.e., “You mentioned your budget for this project is [insert price]. Is that correct?”

Review your services and rate: This is where you will make your pitch. You will tell the prospective client the rates and packages you offer. Use the information you gathered and start to sell your services.

For example, if one of the client’s goals is to set up an organized management system for their team members, you can sell yourself by explaining how you would successfully accomplish that using an application like Asana or Clickup.

If the client is in need of a way to stay in touch with their customers, you can offer to set up canned emails and Dubsado. Again–whatever problem the prospective client has, reframe it to sell your services. Be specific and state how you provide a successful solution.

Answer questions: i.e. “Do you have any further questions about my services or do you have any hesitations about working with me?”

Diminish any doubts in the client’s mind by simply asking them what would hold them back from hiring you. This allows you to “close the sale” by giving them positive reassurance in the areas they are unsure about. 

If they have hesitations about your prices, have a plan in place!   You can spin their price resistance into facts about how your services contribute to their personal and professional well-being. You save them time and possibly increase their income! Mention the cost of doing nothing: talk about how not hiring help can hurt their business in the long run. They shouldn’t let things fall through the cracks in the areas where they need support.

The Last Thing You Need to Know about The Discovery Call

So you successfully conducted your discovery call, and the client wants to hire you. That’s great–but what’s next? Well, this is the part where you go over your onboarding process. This simply means you let the client know the steps they need to take in order for you to start working.

An onboarding process can include a combination of tasks such as:

  • signing a contract
  • paying their first invoice
  • worklow (i.e. systems you use to share files and manage projects, how they will be billed, office hours, the best way to contact you).
  • You can go over this onboarding process over the phone, but you should also follow up in an email stating all that information again.

And that’s it–these are the necessary steps to a successful discovery call. Whether you have a few clients under your belt already or are just getting started, implement these crucial steps! Get ready to get hired and start earning a consistent profit from your home business today!

For more information check out blog posts from these amazing Virtual Assistants coaches:

Abbey Ashley at the Virtual Savvy

Esther Inman from 90 Day VA

Gina Horkey From Horkey Handbook

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Hello there! I’m Jill, thanks for visiting my blog. I help women create work-life flexibility and financial stability by building a profitable online business they love.  Feel free to send me a message and let me know how I can help YOU!

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