How to Convert Discovery Calls to Clients with Nikki Rausch

Episode #212 the Wingnut Social Podcast

According to Nikki Rausch, the objective of a discovery call is to identify whether or not you’re talking to a potential client. How do you determine that? How can you ask the right questions and move them to the next step in the process? How do you close a discovery call with a new client? Nikki shares her strategy in this episode of the Wingnut Social podcast!

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of Wingnut Social

  • [0:50] Why we’ve had a short break
  • [4:38] Wingnut Social Premium!
  • [6:45] Mini News Sesh
  • [8:52] All about Nikki Rausch
  • [13:37] Closing on discovery calls
  • [16:24] The process for cold leads
  • [18:51] The right questions to ask
  • [32:30] How to STOP providing free advice
  • [34:25] Buying signals to look for
  • [37:35] Always move the project forward
  • [38:36] What up Wingnut! Round
  • [41:00] Learn more about Nikki

Connect with Nikki Rausch

Resources & People Mentioned

Step #1: Pre-frame the conversation

What should you say to develop a rapport and get the filter running? Nikki emphasizes that the very first thing you want to do on your discovery call is pre-frame the conversation. It not only creates safety, but it establishes the flow of the call. The client may feel nervous or intimidated about talking to you. Pre-framing the conversation allows you to calm their nerves—and yours. 

So what does that look like? You thank them for chatting with you, share the objective of the meeting, lay out how long you’re scheduled to chat, and ask if that still works for them. Then you say “To make this meeting meaningful and productive for you, I’d like to start with a couple of quick questions. Is that alright?” It allows you to take the lead and weed people out quickly.

How do you structure it differently if it’s a cold call? Listen to learn more!

Step #2: Only ask questions you NEED the answer to 

Ask questions that you only need the answers to earn their business and to determine if they’re a good client fit. Many designers try to ask all the questions in the discovery call, instead of waiting until after signing the contract. This is a no-no. Tailor the discovery call to 7–10 questions whenever possible. So what types of questions should you ask?

  • What’s important to you about your redesign? You need to determine what’s important to them and see if you can solve their pain point. 
  • What is your budget or potential investment? You don’t want to talk to someone who has $500. This is the hardest thing to pull out of clients. They’re afraid to tell you because they think you’ll use their entire budget. Secondly, they just have no idea what the costs are.
  • Who—besides yourself—is involved in the decision-making process? You don’t want to have a full conversation just to find out you have to repeat it with a significant other.
  • What do you already know about [insert your firm name here]? It helps identify if they have inaccurate information about your business. Secondly, it allows them to be the expert in the moment. It creates a balance of power. 

Ask questions to reinforce anything they can be right about. Why? Most people like to be right. They’ll be more open to hearing what you have to say if you can say “You’re right…” Any remaining questions you have can be specific to their particular project.

How do you STOP providing free advice on a discovery call? Listen for Nikki’s tips!

Step #3: Look for buying signals

A buying signal is a verbal or nonverbal cue that people use to indicate interest. It often comes in the form of a question, like, “If someone were to hire you, where do you source the product?” It’s a huge buying signal. Another example? When someone brings up a negative experience. If they share that story with you, they’re looking for reassurance that you won’t do the same thing.

What else do you look for? What should you do at the end of a discovery call when the client is a good fit? Listen to the whole episode with Nikki Rausch to find out!

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