How Not to Dread the Discovery Call?

May 3, 2023

There is no lack of opinion about the dreaded discovery call. But as soon as you start thinking about the call as an opportunity to build a relationship rather than a chase for the sign-up, the entire focus changes. So does the success rate.

90% of the proposals I make will result in a signature on the dotted line!

My secret weapon?


(and my honed-in proposals, but that’s a topic we’ve covered in the last few weeks. You can find the podcasts and blogs here and here and here.)

As for the topic of discovery calls…

There’s no lack of opinion.

Some people are adamant it should be called a SALES CALL. After all… that’s the purpose , right?

And then, some people think we should use the phrase STRATEGY CALL. Their reasoning is that you should talk about how you will approach the service you are offering.

And yet other people say it should be none of these names.

  • Because you don’t want to give away your know-how before you’re also guaranteed to be paid for the service. 
  • Also, no-one wants to be discovered.
  • And a sales call… well … some of us are not exactly a fan of closing the sale before the call has ended. 

One thing we all agree on …it’s a make-or-break moment in the sales process.


But what does that mean if we can’t even agree on the correct name?

I say… YOU DO YOU!

If a sales call works for you, you go, girl!
If you prefer to keep your knowledge close to your chest, then that’s what you should do.

My podcast isn’t called Business Your Way for nothing! 😂

My Discovery Call Is For Building Relationships

Me,… I take my inspiration from Patricia Fripp.

Here’s what she says:

“To build a long-term, successful enterprise, you don't close a sale, you open a relationship.”

Which sums it up perfectly in my book: I like to think about THE CALL as a relationship building moment.

I allow 45 minutes.

During that time I have one main objective, and it isn’t sales.


If the answer to that is YES, we take it further, with the above mentioned success rate as a result.

Interestingly, there is NO hard sales strategy, or rigid sales script involved.

What’s more, unlike most people, I DON’T DREAD MAKING THESE CALLS!

How To Do A Discovery Call?

So how do I approach a discovery call in such a way I don’t feel like the sleaziest sales person on the planet?

As an agency owner, I like to think of ‘Sales As A Service’.

What I mean by that is that my service is going to help my clients. As soon as you change your discovery call from the I am selling something to you, to I am helping you, the entire focus shifts!

The Consultative Sales Process

Over the years, I developed my own approach to doing a discovery call.

I later discovered it’s also how Matt Church designs his framework. Considering we both landed on the same idea, there must be something right about it. 😉

The name I like to use is The Consultative Sales Process.

It has 3 phases:

  • The pre-call phase
  • The call phase
  • the post-call phase

Each of these phases has 3 ingredients at the core of a successful discovery call. They are:

  • The conversation: You need to know what to say. Obviously!
  • Your mindset: What you think will trickle through in the conversation. Like it or not!
  • Your energy: The conversation is not just about the right words, but also HOW you say them.

What you need to get from that is that your mindset and energy are just as important as what you are going to say during the call.

Here’s how this pans out:

Before The Discovery Call

  • Mindset - Ultimately, the aim of the call is to decide if you and this client are a good match. The rest is just a numbers game.
  • Energy - Be sold on your own solution. Unless you believe in your service, you're never going to convince your potential client you can help them. When you believe in yourself, you'll show up in that energy.
  • Conversation - Be upfront about the purpose of the meeting. Both you and your potential client need to know what's on the agenda.

During The Discovery Call

  • Mindset–If you did your homework before the call, you know what you have to offer and what type of people you want to work with. Now‘s the time to be selective.
  • Energy - Dance with the energy of the conversation. Be present and joyous. This also means being generous - the prospect wants to walk away from the meeting feeling they were seen and heard. Read this again-it’s important!
  • Conversation - Look for the clicking points during the conversation, the moments were you truly relate to each other.

After The Discovery Call

  • Mindset–This is when your prospect decides whether or not you will make a good team. The rest goes back to the pre-call mindset- it's just a numbers game.
  • Energy - Don't be attached to the outcome. What will be, will be. 
  • Conversation - Make the invitation if you know your service can help your prospect. Invite them to work with you by sending your proposal. Remember to think about it as sales as a service. If you end the conversation without making the invitation... you're doing them a disservice.

The Next Step: The Proposal

So, where to go from there?

Let’s assume…

You nailed the discovery call! You also decided they are your kind of clients and your services can help them. It’s time for some action: It’s proposal time!

I have a few words of caution, though:

  • NEVER just say you'll send them a proposal. It’s… too fluffy. What you need is a solid call to action, to make sure your prospect doesn’t get tempted to put the proposal in the bottom drawer and forget about it.
    INSTEAD, be specific that you expect them to review and sign the proposal so you can get to work. Be clear that your proposal is the formality that needs to be completed before you can start the work.
  • If you’ve been on the proposal journey with me, you’ll know that one of my biggest take-aways is that your proposal needs to be aligned with the call they just had with you. What I mean by that is, you NEVER send a proposal that is all about you, your history, your work, what you do, and your credentials.
    INSTEAD, your potential client wants to know you understand their problem and their pain. They want to be confident your solution is the answer to their problem.

If you are keen on upping your proposal game and get your potential clients excited to work with you, then my FREE IRRESISTIBLE PROPOSAL BLUEPRINT is the perfect place to start.

  • If the potential client says YES, be sure to get their commitment by signing the proposal (including your terms of service). Also send them an invoice before starting your onboarding.
    If they say NO, simply thank them for the opportunity to share your offering. Make sure you have a system in place that helps you to stay in touch and continue to nurture the relationship. Because... they will come back when they're ready.

And just like that, we’ve come full circle.

Remember that quote from Patricia Fripp?

When you focus on building relationships instead of chasing sales, you will never count another discovery call failure. Instead, you open a relationship and an opportunity to work together. Now,… or in the future.

Keen To Learn More?

Regardless of the name you give to THE CALL, I hope this episode has given you some food for thought. I hope you gained some insight in what you could do to improve your discovery calls. Or maybe I changed the way you think and feel about discovery calls. I call that a win!

But on the off-chance discovery calls are not featuring on your strategy plan (yet), I encourage you to BOOK A CALL WITH ME

I help service providers like you… 

  • package up your expertise 
  • build a system to feed the sales engine
  • feel proud about what you’re doing


Let’s cross the T’s and dot the I’s so we can get your business working to its full potential!

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