You have probably heard of Discovery Calls, Exploration Calls or Consultation Calls before right? Me too and I used these terms until about a month ago when someone I follow on Instagram suggested we call it what it really is, A Clarity Call. Yes! This is that call you have with your prospect after they express interest in working with you.
I used to dread these calls. They made me so nervous and I always wished I could avoid them and just start doing work for a client. However, that practice ended in tears. You don’t want to embark on a project, or initiate a relationship without going through this very important call. When I finally figured it out, I changed the way I approached it all and call after call I started becoming less nervous, finding it easier to say ‘No’ to projects that were not a fit and most importantly serving my clients from a point where I had a clear understanding of their vision, mission, values and needs. I started following a process from booking to after the call had ended where I made sure both my prospects and I were clear on the requirements and relationship overall. Here are the major steps I followed then and still follow today.
- I schedule bookings for calls directly from my website. One of the very apparent Call To Actions (CTAs) I have on my previous website is the ability to book a call with me. It immediately opens up my calendar with selected time slots someone can choose from to book for a 30 minute call and it sends a notification to me to either approve or propose another time.
- I send an email to the prospect after booking the call detailing what they should expect from the call. I realised that many people hop on these calls with no idea what to expect and both the VA and the future client walk away from it feeling like they didn’t get exactly what they wanted from the call and particularly for the prospect, not seeing any value that could come from any further engagement. So, I make sure I share the structure of the call, some of the questions I will ask and the desired outcome of this call.
- On the day of the call, about 30 minutes before, I send reminders to the clients. These could be automatic using my calendar scheduler or, if I have the client’s number, I just drop them a quick reminder message. I do this because I know life happens, people get busy and to also remind my future client that I value their time and would also love if they valued mine by showing up for the call on time. Sometimes the client might have forgotten or may be facing an emergency, so it will be good to be reminded and will make a very good first impression for you on your client as their future VA.
- During the call, you need to follow what I like to call the 80/20 rule. I allow my prospect to do 80% of the talking whilst I listen. I ask them to share with me about their business, their vision, mission, short-term and long-term goals. I also ask about their challenges and areas they think they would want to fit me in. Most importantly, I ask them about the value they expect from our working together. It could be them not feeling overwhelmed, getting to spend more time with their loved ones, having better engagement with their online audiences or even getting more sales. At the end of the call, I share with them my process and rate estimate, how we will work together and also let them know of our immediate next action steps.
- After the call, within 24 hours, I make sure I write an email thanking them for their time, reminding them what we discussed and most importantly reminding them of our next steps. Usually that is our way of confirming a proposed scope of work or initiating negotiations around my rate.
The goal after step #5 is to make sure I remain at the top of my future client’s mind and to put the ball in their court should they need to make the next step. By rehashing their problem and shedding light on the value I will deliver, I want to make sure they don’t put it off as something that they will get back to some other time by installing some urgency to it so that they prioritse making a decision. At the end of the day, I want to have an understanding of my future client and clarity on the kind oof transformation they are looking for from our relationship. I also want my future client to have a clear understanding of what I do, my process and how we can move forward to the next steps.
…and that’s it! What do you think? What’s your process like as a VA/Freelancer/Consultant? Maybe you are a business owner finding yourself on the other side of this call: What has your experience been?