How does it feel when you receive a call and people ask you questions whose answers are readily available on your LinkedIn or social media, or things that you are expected to already know because they are public information? Uhm.. quite frustrating. The truth is, discovery calls require work before you jump on, he the call. When Jumping on a call with a potential client you want to be equipped with a “toolkit” and what I mean is the information and knowledge that will allow you to ask the right questions, detailed questions and situational questions that demonstrate exactly what your prospect is going through, the challenges and potential struggles. If we look at the B2B world of sales, knowing your prospects' role, company, the industry, their background will allow you to have an intelligent conversation and move the conversation into further exploration.
Here are the top 5 things you should know about your prospect prior to jumping on a call:
- What is the existing relationship? Did anyone from your company ever speak with this prospect in the past? If so, what was the outcome?
- What is the company structure? You want to know this to determine how the company is organized, to know what team the person is on, who they report to, who is potentially a key decision maker.
- What is some recent company news? Know major updates, changes or press releases that are coming out on the company. This will help build your credibility.
- Who are their competitors? You want to research their industry, understand who they compete with in the market and identify if potentially any of those competitors are already your customers? This will give you great leverage when you finally speak to the prospect.
- Shared Connection – do you share any connections with the person you will be speaking with? You can see this quite easily on LinkedIn and sharing mutual connections can be a great way to progress the conversation.
Now that you’ve done your research, you won’t be jumping on the call unprepared. So what’s the next thing we should think about? Well, In any sales process you need to have an end in mind, or what you're going to achieve. For a Discovery Call, it’s basically answering the question Are there value opportunities for us to explore? Or quite simply...Does it make sense for us to continue talking? And as I said earlier, no is a perfectly ok answer and your prospect should feel comfortable to know that it’s ok to say no.
So how do you set this end in mind with the prospect? How do you ensure that both parties – you and the prospect are on the same page? Here I want to introduce you to the power of a well-written agenda and your ability to precondition the meeting. This ensures that when you jump on that call both parties know what to expect and gives room to make any changes if necessary. So here it goes, here is my example of such an email that I would send to the prospect at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. Feel free to tweak and use this sample for your communication. The client's name in this scenario is John.
I’m looking forward to speaking with you tomorrow.
Typically, a good outcome of our meeting together is to decide if we should keep talking.
I was planning to cover:..
An overview of your current process – Outcomes, Challenges and Tech Stack...
Next steps, if any...
Does that sound like a good use of time? Let me know if you'd like to add or change anything.
All the Best,
See what I’ve done there? I didn’t talk about our company, what we do and I only included it as the last bullet point “ Our approach”. I also gave the prospect an opportunity to add or change anything and confirm that this is the best use of his time. This is essential, as we know time is a commodity and absolutely no one likes it when their time is wasted. This also ensures that by jumping on the call you have a structure in place, you won’t ask random questions but rather follow a structure that will allow you to naturally get to the place where you answer that all-important question – does it make sense for us to continue talking.
Typically, you will find that the prospect will write back to this email either to say yes that’s perfect or yes and I would also like to talk about XYZ. This is great as it allows you to come to the meeting prepared! And preparation, my friends, is key!
In our next lesson, I’ll walk you through the structure of a discovery call so you can avoid jumping back and forth.