Episode 248

Nuts and Bolts of Discovery Sales Calls with Ben Pickard

In this episode, Ben Pickard joins me to talk about the nuts and bolts of discovery sales calls. We walk through our script and template for this conversation.

[00:00:00] Hello, fitness business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the Business Unicorns podcast, and he’s back again. It’s Ben Peard. Welcome back to the Podcast friend. Hi, y, thanks for having me. Yeah, I’m so excited we get to have another conversation. But before we dive into what we’re gonna talk about today, I do wanna take a quick moment to give a shout out to this free resource we have on our website.

Right now we know that as a gym owner life can be very overwhelming. You’re juggling a lot of hats, trying to build systems in your business. Thoughtfully and it’s hard to know what to focus on next. So we developed this thing called the Ultimate Gym Owner Report Card, and it’s a free tool. It’s a self-assessment on our website that you can go download right now.

And it helps you organize your thoughts and figure out what system you wanna work on next in the business. We use it a lot with Unicorn Society members, Ben, when we use it with folks you know that are in Unicorn society. What are some of the benefits you’ve noticed? Aside from the obvious of helping you make more money and save time the biggest one is helping people get outta their own [00:01:00] head.

And rather than have a menu of 17 things that need to finish in the next 17 seconds, it’s do these next things first cuz they’re gonna be the most impactful. Yeah. Yeah, said. It helps just really prioritize what is the next big thing I’m gonna focus on and let everything else fade into the background.

And so if you want that sounds useful to you, dear listener, go to our website, pi unicorns.com right now, and on the homepage, you can download our free tool. And I hope you have fun using it, cuz we have fun using it all the time. Let’s dive into today’s topic. When Ben was last on the podcast, if you haven’t listened to that episode, go listen to it.

We talked a little bit about lead follow-up and so we wanted to keep pulling that string and continue the conversation to talk about the first step. Typically, when you get a warmer hot lead, Is to get him onto a discovery call. So we’re to talk about discovery calls today and some best practices around what that call looks like.

Do you wanna start, Ben, by just walking people through, what the heck is a discovery call? What’s the purpose of having one and where does it fit into this timeline we’re gonna talk about? Yeah, absolutely. So discovery call is your [00:02:00] next step after following up with your lead, because as a friendly reminder, when somebody says, Hey, I’m potentially interested in your service, what do you charge through your website contact form?

They’re not ready to sign up yet. They’re not ready for marriage. You gotta do a little bit at dating and the best way to the equivalent of taking them out for coffee or something really low barrier, is get them on a discovery call so you can learn more about them. They can learn more about you, and you can see are they someone you wanna work with?

But also do they actually want to come work with you at your gym? Yeah, I love that analogy. It’s totally like the a first date. It’s like we’re not even really going on a date. It’s just coffee. It’s during the day. It’s not a full meal. You don’t even have to order food if you don’t want. We’re just gonna have a beverage together to see if we actually talking to each other.

And that’s exactly what we’re doing here. So it’s often the first step that you’re asking someone to take once they express interest. Let’s just go through the whole process. So even be. Even before you get someone on a discovery call, what are some things people should do when they’re preparing to get [00:03:00] on that call with someone?

How does people get into the right zone to be having these kind of calls? Yeah, absolutely. That’s a really important question and it’s funny cuz this was one of my. Favorite parts of running a gym? Like I got into fitness cuz I like helping people and I work like working with people. So before a discovery call, it’s really important to be like mentally, physically, and emotionally in a good state to serve.

At least that’s what I told myself. I put on my like servant leadership hat is what can I do for this person? How can I really get to know them? So general best practice would be one tactically like. Review anything that they’ve already told you. If they said they have knee pain in the contact form, you should have that handy.

You should also have a place to make notes cause you’re gonna need to make notes. But aside from that I always take a few minutes to be standing when I do the calls. Like pro tip, have a stand standing desk if you can. I always wanna be in that energetic state of how can I serve them. And most importantly, I am always smiling.

I have to like, There’s something about getting yourself in the state of, I [00:04:00] am excited to talk to this person that I swear they pick up on that through the phone and it makes the calls go drastically better. Yeah. Yeah, there’s like a brightness to someone’s tone when they’re like in a good mood, happy to talk to you, stoked to be having the conversation, right?

There’s a kind of excitement in energy in the air and people can totally tell that in your tone, whether it’s phone or video chat. I think it really makes a big difference to be, Be in that space. Yeah. Those are great tips. So review information, any information you have, get in the right kind of mindset to be in a mode to serve great tips.

So maybe just walk us through a big picture, like what, how long is this call? What are the kind of things you’re doing? What’s the agenda for a discovery call? Yeah. In a. Roughly perfect world, this wouldn’t go any more than about 15 minutes. I could be convinced arguments for less or more depending on your funnel, but generally speaking, the first step is always breaking the ice and setting expectations.

Hey Michael, thanks for dropping on the phone today. I’m really excited to chat with you. Just so you know, we got about 15 minutes today, so I’m [00:05:00] gonna have a few questions for you about what you’re looking for in a gym. You’re gonna ask me a few questions, I’ll tell you what we’re about and if it seems like a good fit, we’ll move to the next step, which is a consultation.

Does that sound good to you? So then the prospect knows, oh, this is what I’m getting into. I’ve, yeah, it’s like a bonus tip if it fits your funnel. Something I’ve used, which really helps a lot cuz no one everyone likes to buy, but nobody likes to be sold to is even outright saying. Just so you know, this is not a sales call.

Even if you love us, we do not take money over the phone. This is really just a chat to see if we’re a good fit to work together. Yeah, I love that it really helps deescalate any anxiety people have about being on quote a sales call. And I think this expectation setting at the beginning of the call is so critical because it tells people that you’re in charge, you’re an expert, you’re walking ’em through a process that you use all the time, and it helps you lead with confidence as opposed to getting on the call.

And what I see a lot of people do, which I think is terrible, which is just like you let them ask a bunch of questions, you let them drive the conversation. And if you do, the first thing they’re gonna ask is, [00:06:00] just. Tell me how much you cost. Tell me how much you cost, but I think what you’re doing is you’re grabbing the reign.

It’s here’s how today is gonna work. I’m gonna say some stuff. You’re gonna say some stuff. And I love how at the end when you were modeling it out there, you even got like a little small Yes. At the end. Does that sound good to you? Yes. That makes sense to you that’s small. Yes. Is a great best practice when it comes to sales.

Didn’t say yes a lot. Helps. Helps make sure that they’re continuing to commit so you can hopefully get a big yes at the end. Okay, cool. So they set expectations at the beginning of the call. Then what happens? Then the next step is if there’s any housekeeping that needs to be done. So for instance, if the next step after your discovery call is to move to something like a free or like super low price trial, maybe it’s two weeks free kind of thing.

You might need to like have a credit card file on file, highly recommended, give out free stuff without a credit card. Nobody shows up, give out free stuff with a credit card. Your show rates will be higher. There might be, your system might require you to have, first name, last name, email, phone number, address.

So you’re just tackling Hey Michael, I’ve got a, before we jump [00:07:00] in, I just have a couple like housekeeping things. Could I get your address and could I get, I got your first name, but could I get your last name? And I only got your phone number, but not your email. I’m just getting some of that outta the way and that’s gonna vary business to business depending on what is your next step and is what are the requirements of the software you’re using.

Yeah, I think that’s great. And I think just getting that of the way with the context for people Hey, I’m creating an account for you in our system so we can stay in touch. I’m gonna assume our conversation today is gonna go well and you’re gonna come try us out. And so I’m gonna put this in all this information in here just to make sure that we can stay in touch and you have everything at your fingertips.

And and for some of you I’ve also seen people do this at. Towards the end of the conversation once they’re moving on to a next step. I don’t think it really matters one way or the other, but I think, in, in our template, we like putting it up front. So in part, no matter whatever happens in the conversation, you’ve captured as much contact information about this person that you can.

So I think doing it up front, I think can really have good benefits. Yeah. Yeah, so keep on going. So we set expectations, we gather any contact information to make sure we can create a [00:08:00] profile for them in our system. Then what now is the fun part? This is where we’re going to be peeling the onion as we like to say, or you’re asking powerful conversations.

So you’ve probably got anywhere from two to four questions depending on how much the person on the other end of the phone likes to chat. But these are questions like, so what would you wanna accomplish working together? What have you tried before in the past? Why do you think that might not have worked for you?

If I could wave a magic wand and we decided to work together for a year, what are the things you’d like to have accomplished in order to feel like our time together was well spent? This is where you’re really putting on your like coaching hat. I truly believe that good coaching and good sales are.

The same thing. So you’re really putting on the like, how do I really get to know this person? What are their like hopes? What are their desires? What are the greatest fears? How can I serve this human being? And what are some of the obstacles we might meet along the way? So if anyone’s taken coaching conversations yet, very similar questions.

If you haven’t. It’s really just You’re asking open-ended questions in the spirit of them sharing [00:09:00] more and more powerful things with you, which you can then use as ammunition later on in the call to help if you’re a good fit for their needs to help serve their needs. Hey, I heard you got back pain and knee pain, and those are two of the things that are holding you back from your strength and weight loss goals.

Just wanted to let you know 50% of our clients have back and knee pain, and we actually have good referral partnerships with other physical therapists in the area. So I know that this is a big obstacle to you, but this is actually our bread and butter and I think we can really help. Yeah.

Yeah. I think there’s so many great tips in that and which is, have really good, a handful, two, three, maybe four predetermined really good open-ended, powerful questions. And then I think maybe the most important thing I would add to that is, and when people respond to those open-ended questions, let them talk.

And write down what they say. Cuz later you’re gonna repeat those things back to them and use it as leverage to get them to move to the next step. And I think all too often people think, oh yeah, I’ve done this a million times, I’ll just remember it. You won’t remember it. You have to take notes during these calls to write [00:10:00] down in their own words what did they say to you?

And you can, when you can reflect back their challenges, their opportunities, their goals, their dreams. Their issues in their own words. As Ben said, it’s gonna be much more powerful. So I think, take some good notes, my friend. It’s really important. Okay, so lemme just go back and say, we set expectations for the call.

We did some housekeeping, got their content information. We started to peel the onion, asked them lots of good questions. We’re gonna start repeating back those answers to those questions, letting ’em know that we heard them and that we listened. Where do you go from there? The next step is move to the next step.

Move to action. So this is where you’re going to, after you’ve probed and listened and reflected and validated, you’re going to move towards what is the next step for your business. So this is either a very cheap or free trial or for a lot of us. The next step is going to be actually a strategy session or a consultation.

So it’s going to be actually getting that booked. Hey Michael, based on what we talked about today, sounds like this is a really good fit. The next step is get you to get your consultation [00:11:00] booked. In that it’s gonna be about 60 minutes and we’re gonna dive into a little bit deeper. What we talked today, talked about today, talk about all of our pricing options to make sure we’ve got the right fit for you and get all your sessions booked.

So for that consultation, I’ve got A and B, which one do you prefer? Yeah great. So we’ve already got clear on their goals. We already we’re validated back to them that we can help them achieve those goals. Now we’re saying the next step is to come in, right? To actually come into the gym. And whether it’s a consultation or a free or cheap trial or low barrier offer that you’re helping them get set up on the next step.

And I think, Ben, you models it really beautifully, which is just here are the two times, which one is it? We’re not saying point your calendar. When are you free next week? Like we’re really driving them to a next step with confidence. And I think you, you know that the way you said that.

Did that really well. It’s often at this point in the conversation where people will start to have some some objections or some maybe some friction in having them move forward. I’m not really ready yet. Tell me your [00:12:00] rates or, I’m not really ready yet. Explain to me more about the training you do, or, I’m not sure I can really start for a few months, so how do you handle some objections at this point? Oh, that’s a really good question. So provided that you have an avatar of your ideal client and who do you serve, I do think this is the point in the conversation where it’s appropriate for you to have a very well practice, very well role played pitch, and it’s not gonna be a pitch to get them again.

To sign up for your 12 month commitment. You’re not asking for marriage on the coffee date or they’re running and screaming, but for instance, what are the obstacles that other people like them have faced? And you’re squishing all of those past favorite clients you’ve had into one person, and you know that these are the top three obstacles you’re gonna get.

And admittedly, it’s been a long time since I did a sales conversation for a fitness business but this is where I would have that pitch to be like, here at Lean Strong Fitness, this is what we do. Here’s who we help, here’s how we help them. And it’s always. I’ll always be including some of what they said as their objections and goals as well.

So if they said they wanna lose 20 pounds of fat, it’ll be like, we help [00:13:00] people lose fat, up to 20 pounds, sometimes even more. But it’s very specific to them. But you’re having a little bit of a pitch. And the reason I say that is by having that it can help get, you’re anticipating their objections and getting some of them out of the way beforehand.

Yeah. When it comes to pricing, I don’t like telling people price until you get to the consultation because I’m a believer that until you’ve had a chance to truly build value, any prices too much. But we also know that there’s nothing worse than being like, Hey Michael, how much does this cost Dodge the question I’m not sure, but how much does this cost dodge the question I’m just like, what the fuck is this shit am I signing up for?

So my kind of rule of thumb is on the third time they ask, I will give them a. Our rates vary because this is totally custom based on your goals and needs. We’re actually gonna dive into that. All of our pricing is completely transparent, but to give you a ballpark, we start at X dollars per week. Does that fit your budget?

Yeah. Yeah, [00:14:00] I think that’s great. I think it’s a great way. I would even say, I don’t even know. You need to wait till the third time they ask. You can say that the first time. I think, you know if cuz the last thing you want to people to think is that we’re being shifty. And it’s really just like that.

We’re gonna get to that information, we’re gonna share all that to you and we’ll, Start by telling me what’s your budget? And if they share their budget, say, okay, actually, we have things in that price range. In fact, our things start at X number of dollars per month that could be useful to pre-qualify at this point.

So I think I love the idea. And just zooming back out, wanna repeat what you said earlier, which is most of you listening to this, you know what the most common objections are. And for most gyms, it’s time, money, and fit. Either don’t know if I’m gonna have the time to do this, I dunno if I can afford it, or I don’t know if I’ll be the right fit for the kind of thing you do.

And yours might be slightly different based on your avatar, but I think, to Ben’s point, I think it was really great advice to say, go figure out what your top three are and have. Rebuttal. Have a way to to have that conversation and bring some evidence to the table. If they’re worried about having time, be like how much time do you have?

Do a little digging and then share some [00:15:00] examples. Okay? We have a lot of people who are also nighttime nurses just like you, who need to sleep a lot during the day, and what they tend to do is, They come in our ear early afternoon classes at four 30 before they have their meal and go to their nighttime nursing.

Or they people come with this kind of budget. Yeah, we have memberships in that range. What they tend to do is larger classes because they’re more affordable for visit, you know what I’m saying? I think it was great advice is go determine in advance what your most common objections are and then bring some evidence to the conversation to show that you actually help people with those same kinds of challenges, with those same objections.

And I think you can use. Real life clients as examples to help them overcome any fears they have about time, money fit. Yes. Or any other objection you can think of. Yeah. Let’s talk about what does it look like for this conversation to have a great ending. Like how do you wrap this conversation up in a way that makes them leave Feeling like I was really taking care of and I feel confident putting my my, my health in this person’s hands.

Wonderful question. That’s exactly what I was thinking. My, the. The spirit and [00:16:00] the feeling that I’m trying to elicit over the course of a discovery call is to get them excited and enthusiastic to take the next step with us. Because again, at this point they haven’t, yeah, given us any money. They at most have committed to a free thing.

But I want them to be, I want them to feel like this could be as powerful for them as you, I know and listeners, that it can be for them. So I think part of it is setting that intention, which comes from the beginning, that you’re carrying that through the conversation that people will pick up on that.

But then there’s also some really important tactical stuff that needs to be done. I always like asking, do you have any other questions for me? I want them to feel taken care of. It should feel like a casual conversation, but still driven by an agenda. The person on the other side of the phone shouldn’t know that you’re actually walking them through a checklist.

And then there’s also some important pieces to clean up. If you’re booked their consultation, be like, Hey Michael, we’ve got you booked for Tuesdays at 4:00 PM I’m gonna get you in the system as soon as we hang out on the phone today. You’re gonna get a confirmation email of those times with a link to book it in your calendar.

If for some reason you don’t get that and it goes to spam, here’s my number. [00:17:00] Please give me a shout. And then you’ll also get a couple reminder texts beforehand. Here’s what you need to prepare in order for that. But I’m giving them some of the if I was putting myself in somebody’s shoes who hasn’t gone to the gym for a while, I’m probably nervous as hell being on this call.

I probably, I might’ve even thought about having this call for two years and didn’t take any action due to guilt or shame or fear of all sorts of other feelings. So I wanna really make sure that they have. Hey, here’s your travel checklist. Here’s what you’re gonna need. Remember to show up to the airport this many hours in advance.

Here’s the gate you’re going to go to, and then on the backend, do all that shit promptly. Do not forget and put them in the system two days later, and then they’re like, this first, it seemed like everything was great, but I didn’t get the shit like, what the fuck? Yeah. Yeah. Said. I think there’s so many great takeaways there for listeners, right?

Is to make sure all their questions are answered, that they’re all any questions they had or curiosities, they have been exhausted, right by you. And then do a really great recap to say, here’s what your journey’s [00:18:00] gonna look. Like next. And I love all the examples you gave of here’s the emails you’re gonna get, the texts you’re gonna get, you might even go to, so far as lemme tell you, how about parking works at our gym?

Or, anything at all that makes it easy. There’s construction happening, you’re, there’s gonna be a detour on the way to the gym. Like anything you need to tell them about how, what their first experience coming to you is gonna look like, helps make sure that they’re they can picture themselves doing it.

When you paint a vivid picture, it really helps them see themselves walking into your gym. And then of course you’re gonna send a million fucking reminders because everyone’s life is busy and everyone needs that. Yeah. Yeah. Our gym, we actually do have construction in our area where I live, we have winter season and we have construction season.

It’s unbelievable. And our gym to get to our parking lot is a little bit weird. So we actually included in the confirmation email here’s what to look for as you’re coming in. Go here, and stuff like that, that I’m just thinking. How can I remove every possible obstacle to make this person’s journey with us as easy as possible?

And that’s where you’ve got some freedom to get creative and have fun with it a little bit too. Yeah. Good for you.[00:19:00] I think we did a, you did a great job of walking around through this. This was really awesome, I think super valuable conversation. If there’s anything else you wanna say about discovery calls we didn’t touch on?

Yes. None of this listening to this podcast, dear listeners, probably sounds like rocket science. You’ve probably done a million consultations and have your version of peeling the onion. You know how your software works. And the piece I’d wanna instill in you is like truly practice this cuz you’ll always come up with some lines that aren’t like cheesy or slimy sales, but are true to, how your best customers have described your gym and.

The difference between someone who’s good at this and someone who’s new is I think making it just sound real and genuine. And that only comes from getting your reps in. And I know how awkward it is to practice in front of the mirror, but please practice in front of the mirror, practice with your mom, practice with your dog, practice with team members at your gym, but really get good at getting your reps in for this so that when you do have somebody on the phone, you can give them that feeling of Excitement and like this could [00:20:00] actually make a huge difference for them because I know everyone listening to this believes in fitness.

That’s probably the main reason we opened gym, and if you don’t get really good at this, you don’t have an opportunity to show all these perspective people. What makes you truly different? Yeah, beautifully said, my friend. I think that’s exactly it. If we wanna help people and do the work we wanna do, we have to help them get in our doors.

And sometimes this is what it looks like to inspire people to get out of their own way and invest in themselves. So I think those are all really great. I’ll add one more thing is yeah practice and also videotaped yourself audio record yourself. We did that a little bit on our most recent Unicorn Society retreat.

We videoed people having conversations and watching yourself is awkward af and you will have just as good as feedback for yourself as anyone else would ever give you. And so it’s a great way to get the reps in. Thanks so much for this, Ben. I really appreciate it. This was a great, and maybe our next conversation will just continue playing this thread and offer the next.

Yeah. A walkthrough of a consultation next. That’s fine. So [00:21:00] stay tuned for that. Dear listeners let’s leave it there. Friends, if you found this episode valuable please go leave us a review. Go leave us five stars and give us a review anywhere you listen, ideally on Apple Music, but any platform cause it’s how we find more listeners just like you.

And so thanks in advance for leaving us a kick ass review. And email us. Let us know what you wanna want us to talk about or who you want us to talk to next on the podcast. It’s just our first name’s, Michael and Ben business v unicorns com. Thank you. Thanks for a great chat, Ben. See you on the next one.