Salesforce Discovery Call Prep for Freelancers or Independent Consultants
June 25, 2021
I’ve said it several times over: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
And the discovery call is your opportunity to do much more than have a good conversation. In fact, if you show up to the discovery call with nothing more than information submitted to you on the contact us form, one could argue that you’ve already lost the battle. This is time to blow people out of the water with your professionalism and show them you are one step ahead of the game. Because remember, you may not get this chance that often, especially if you are a new Salesforce freelancer or independent consultant that’s just starting out.
Discovery Call Mastery: It’s all about the breadcrumbs
A successful Discovery Call is all about laying the groundwork to pickup clues and pieces that will paint a picture of the prospect’s challenges. What you’re hoping to do is to establish yourself as a professional and use bread crumbs the entire process to gauge what the detail entails and how serious they are about moving forward. We’ve covered in other articles what a Discovery Call is all about, but it’s worth stating again that the main purpose of the Discovery Call is to listen.
But if you lay the groundwork to lead the way in the conversation, then you’ll have them talking about exactly what you want to hear, making the most out of the short time you guys have together. And most importantly, leaving that great first impression.
Tip #1: Implement a Pre-Discovery Form
The first step comes well before you even get a Discovery Call scheduled in the calendar. It’s the Contact Us Form where you capture their initial information. Now, in an example where a lead comes from your (potentially simple, but) very effective and clean website, one of the immediate things that usually happen is some sort of auto-responder email. Take that moment to your advantage.
There are numerous studies that show that a Contact Us form on your website should stay simple, and that the more fields you add, the lower the chance of someone completing it. But there’s nothing to say that you cannot send a second form in the auto-respond. In fact, our partners at FormAssembly provide us with the tools to do just what when people reach out to join us at forceAnywhere. (interested in joining? fill out a Contact Us form and watch this strategy in action)
How it works
The concept is extremely simple. In the auto-responder email, or before the call (if the Lead Source is other than the website), describe how someone will be in touch with them soon, but in the meantime, if they have a few minutes to spare, take the time to fill out the form below to help you better prepare for the Discovery Call.
This will crucially do two things for you:
- It’ll make you look like a pro, by taking the time to be considerate of their time and allowing them to opt-in to providing more information.
- Whether they fill it out or not is a clue about how serious they might be. If they are serious, they’ll fill out the form and provide you the details. If they don’t fill out, it isn’t a clear sign that they aren’t serious, but it tells you that you should be very attentive to a few more breadcrumbs here and there when you ask them about budget/timelines/etc to better understand how organized they are.
- Oh, and bonus: if they do fill out the form, guess what? You now probably have a lot of new information that you don’t have to waste time asking about in the discovery call. Making the call far more efficient. And being efficient makes you look? Yep, professional. (what a rockstar)
Tip #2: Be Researchable
Bradley covers it well on the video when the point is brought up to have a website. As of 2021, we live in a brave new world where access to information is everywhere. Twenty years ago, someone went to the dealership and had to count on the sales representative to teach them everything about the cars they are selling. Today, you already know everything you want to know about the car by the time you set foot in the dealership. In a Salesforce Discovery Call it should be no different: you only have 15-30min, so make the most of it and don’t waste their time.
Since you’re here to listen (and most importantly build trust), you need to make sure that any tools you have to describe your consulting practice, your expertise, your referrals and testimonials, are all easy to find. Let them learn more about you before the call, and at most during the call offer them the opportunity to explain your background. If they say yes, take the opportunity. But be brief if you do: you’re here to listen. Can’t state that often enough.
This means that your website and social media platforms should be set up to allow them to research you carefully. This is especially important when you’re starting out. In some cases where you perhaps are being introduced to a prospect by a Salesforce Account Executive this may not be as important, because the word of the AE may carry a lot of weight in their recommendation of you, but nevertheless it is always a good practice to be researchable so you can stay focused on gathering information from them instead of using precious time explaining yourself that could be used to understand their challenges instead.
Tip #3: Focus on your Moderator Craft
This final one is about fine-tuning your skills. We’ve stated that you only have 30 minutes at most in a Salesforce Discovery Call, so the point here is: how are you going to make best use of this time. The inevitable problem that everyone encounters during their initial Discovery Calls is that the conversation can side-track with discussion that are not relevant, or as the common phrase is used: “getting too much in the weeds”. The challenge here is getting too focused on a specific problem and not dedicating enough time to fully understand the overall project that you’re about to undertake.
If you’re doing a Sales Cloud + High Velocity Sales implementation, and you spend 15 minutes documenting a series of Email Alerts that get sent to the Sales Rep, and then the Sales Manager if there are leads that are not being followed up with on time, you’ll have a proposal with a very elaborate automation rule, but you will miss the general concept of the entire rest of the project. At the very least, that’ll probably lead to a lot of follow up questions or a second Discovery Call, which may not be extremely professional. And remember: you’re the moderator of the call. You should not be embarrassed to stop them early if need and switch back to another more broad subject to make best use of the time together.
Have a Checklist of the Basics
The key thing in the Discovery Call (and to becoming a great Salesforce Independent Consultant), is to understand the basics of what you want to walk away from that meeting with. We’ve discussed in other videos our agenda for a Discovery Call, where we use the ChAMP method to determine the Challenges, Authority, Money and Priority. Everything is simple, for square boxes, and I can look at them in my notes during the call to make sure I properly understand each category clearly. I’m not focused on specifics just yet (I’ll certainly jot down notes if they mention it), but overall I just want to make sure that I have all of the bases covered for this initial call.
Having this visual guide is an essential part of our processes because it can be a clear indicator to help me avoid missing a step if I am nearing the end of the call and have not discussed something important yet.
Summary: Mastery is an Art
The bottom line is, it’s tough to judge your skills in Discovery Calls because you don’t often hear a lot of others conducting their Discovery Calls, so it’s difficult to improve on it if all you have is your own material. However if you start reminding yourself to listen to the breadcrumbs, try to start connecting the dots. In most cases you may not find a silver bullet or a clear red flag, so you have to consistently work to structure your process in a way that every question you ask, or every step of your process helps you continuously validate if all of the responses they give you are congruent. All while they get to do most of the talking. This will help ensure a great first experience and provide you with a lot of clues to understand how serious of a project this is, if this is a project that will require a lot of hand-holding or not (which isn’t a bad thing, so long as all parties recognize that early on through clear expectations), and so forth.
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