As an online service-based business, discovery calls are a critical part of your client onboarding process. They give you a chance to interact with a new client, to ascertain their needs, as well as giving you both an opportunity to see if you want to work with each other!

It’s therefore important that you spend your time well and ensure you get the most out of the discovery call. To do that, you need a clear strategy plan for your discovery calls and your overall client onboarding process. After all, the discovery call is taking time out of your working day and it’s unpaid – with the possibility of a paid client at the end of it.

Here’s how to effectively and efficiently run your discovery calls.

#1: Don’t wait until the discovery call to get the basic information

Ask the basic questions at the time of booking a discovery call. If you’re using a scheduling program such as Acuity of Calendly, set it up to have a few questions, such as website and email address, the social media platforms they’re on and which service they’re interested in, if you offer more than one. This enables you to do a bit of research, prior to your call.

#2. Set the expectation, prior to and during the discovery call

The purpose of the discovery call is to get an overview of their needs, discover if you can help them, and to see if you both feel like you’re a good fit. It isn’t to find out everything you need, to start the job now. You need to get to know them and their needs – and this is why you have the discovery call. You don’t want to spend this valuable time listening to the exact job requirements – that’s what the follow-up/onboarding call is for.

Take time, at the beginning of the call, to let them know:

  • The purpose of the call
  • How long the call is for
  • What you will be covering
  • Why you’re asking the questions
  • What happens, after the call has ended

This helps to keep you both focused on why you’re having the call, and it also allows you to stay in control of the call – as we’ve all had discovery calls where the focus has been hazy, and the time has just run away from us!

#3. Have a list of questions already drafted out

You don’t necessarily need a complete script, but it’s a good idea to know what you need to ask, to get the most information from them, in the allocated time. Questions you can ask include:

  • Tell me about your business
  • What are your business goals for the next 90 days?
  • How do envisage working with a VA will be for you?
  • What are your biggest issues right now?
  • What is your ideal solution to those issues?

Having a list of questions ready, means you’re less likely to feel lost or unsure of what you need to know. It also gives you something to ask, if you get stuck!

#4: Take notes during the discovery call

The idea of a discovery call is for you to ask a few questions but, primarily, to listen and take notes. So, please take notes! If you’re relying on remembering everything – you won’t. It’s far better to take more notes than you need, as opposed to not taking any.

# 5. Limit your discovery call to 30 minutes

Your time is valuable, as is your clients. By limiting your time you’ll also stay focused on what you need to know, rather than going off script and talking about anything and everything!

By following the tips above, you’ll ensure you have a successful discovery call and everything you need, to start a great relationship with a potential new client.

Read the VACT blog: “Top tips to confidently handle client consultations” –

What are your thoughts around discovery calls? Do you agree with the tips above? Maybe you spend longer than 30 minutes on your discovery calls? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on them – so do please leave your comments in the contents box below!