Shift from Selling to Discovery Consultations

Discovery Consultations

Discovery consultations are more effective than a traditional sales conversation.

Entrepreneurs often resist selling to clients. But, they need clients if they want to remain in business. Well, it’s time to stop selling. That’s because selling rarely engages potential clients. Discovery consultations are a better approach. Since they focus on your client’s needs, they are more effective than a traditional sales conversation.

Ever talk with someone and they never bothered to ask anything about you? Instead, they go into great length to share details about their process. After awhile your eyes start to glaze over. Now that business owner may geek out over their processes and systems, but it’s probably information overload for you.

Don’t be that entrepreneur who unknowingly bores a potential client with the details. Discovery consultations, sometimes called consultative selling, shifts the focus from you to them. Basically, you ask great questions during this guided exploratory conversation.

This initial conversation serves a specific purpose. With great questions, you’ll discover whether your service can solve their problems. It’s pretty simple.

Let the Client Do the Talking

Pay attention to this section. Discovery consultations are not the time or place to fix their problem. Rather, you’re defining their specific problem.

There’s a phrase that telling is not selling. Although you may be enthusiastic to sign them on as a new client, control yourself. How? Create a list of specific questions. Then train yourself to listen to each answer.

Sometimes your client’s problem is a mystery. Consider yourself a detective who scopes out the underlying cause. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet

Sometimes the client’s problem is a mystery. Consider yourself a detective who scopes out the underlying cause.  Similar to a detective, you ask specific questions, keenly observe, and take detailed notes.

Develop Your Discovery Questions

Discovery Consultations Work

Ask great questions during discovery consultations.

Develop specific questions that effectively guide the conversation. The right questions elegantly start to unravel the core problem.

Not all questions are equally effective. Some questions simply require a basic yes or no response. While other questions, call open-ended questions, engage conversation. How you phrase the question determines whether you receive an explanation or a simple one word answer.

Discovery consultations include these four types of questions.

  1. What they want. It’s typically related to the specific reason they asked to meet with you. Ask great questions that expand upon their vision and what they want to achieve.
  2. The current situation. Discover their problems and frustrations. Remain patient as they explain their story. Consider the specific details you need to fully understand the scope of their problem. During this part of the conversation, I often find that the root cause of their problem is something other than what they think it is.
  3. The cost of remaining stuck. Create some questions that uncover how the problem affects them now. Don’t overlook the cost of continuing to tolerate the problem.
  4. Resolution. I’m always curious to discover what’s possible once we resolve the problem.

Remember, discovery consultations are client-centered. Focus on the client and their current challenge.

Follow the 70 /30 Rule

Your questions encourage the other person to talk. Strive for a 70 / 30 balance. During discovery consultations you only talk about 30% of the time. That means the potential client does 70% of the talking.

During discovery consultations you only talk about 30% of the time. That means the potential client does 70% of the talking. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet

Beware that some people are very talkative. If your potential client starts to veer off track, then gently redirect their thoughts to the question. Yes, this will seem uncomfortable at first. But the talkers know who they are and they’ll appreciate you redirecting them back to the topic.

Even if you’re not a natural conversationalist, this system works. You don’t want to interrogate them. However, you do want to lead with a string of specific questions.

Your Role in the Conversation

You’ll probably want to fix the problem right then and there. Restrain yourself. This isn’t the time for fixing things.

Instead, it’s meant to discover the problem. And if this is someone you want to work with.

The tone starts to change toward the end of the conversation. If you’ve asked great questions that uncover their problem, they’ll recognize the value of your service. At this point, you’ll hear “how does this work?”

You’ll need to decide whether the client’s needs and your service are a good fit. Two choices exist. Either you’re not a fit or you are.

your discovery consultations

With discovery consultations you decide whether a client is a match for your services.

If the Client is not a Fit

Sometimes the client’s not a match for your business. It’s only right that you let them know. Explain briefly that better options exist. If you know a business that can help them, then go ahead and give them a referral. They’ll appreciate your integrity.

If the Client is a Fit

If this is work that interests you, then the conversation shifts. Review their immediate needs and explain how your business solves their needs. Discuss the various options of how you can work together.

Be mindful that you want to remain client-centered all the way through. That means continuing to focus on what’s in the best interest of the client as you discuss how to get started.

Then guide them through the decision process. This is the most critical part of discovery consultations. You already established yourself as a trusted advisor. Now help them make the best decision possible.

Question, Listen, Take Notes

Leading a prospective client through an initial consultation requires you to lead with questions, listen to the answers, take detailed notes, and make a decision. You’ll find that prospective clients who are a fit with your business, will naturally want to eliminate their problem.

The key to a successful consultative meeting is letting the prospective client do most of the talking. Your part is to discover as much as you can about their current situation. Figure out how to lead discovery consultations and ask great questions.

Follow these recommendations for your business to be successful, and grow while keeping your passion alive. Are you tired of doing work for free because you don’t know how to charge for it? Discover how to get paid what you are worth and attract clients who understand your value. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to create value based pricing.