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Five Steps To A Discovery Meeting

Image of Tiffany Joy Greene, M.B.A (aka Manic Maple)
Tiffany Joy Greene, M.B.A (aka Manic Maple)

There are five steps to a discovery meeting, which include prospect intake, qualification, prospect meeting preparation, prospect meeting, and follow-up.  As you can see, a discovery meeting starts before you meet with the prospect.  The actual meeting does not even occur until the fourth step.  A discovery meeting is considered the first initial meeting with a prospect, which can occur virtually or face-to-face.  During a discovery meeting, you should ask questions to understand the needs and pain points faced by the prospect.  Once you fully understand the prospect's needs and pain points, you can discuss how you can effectively meet their needs and ease or eliminate their pain points.  Also, you should give a lot of time to the prospect to ask questions.

Initial Prospect Engagement and Discovery Meeting

What should you do before a discovery meeting?

  • Research
  • Plan
  • Agenda

Research

Before the discovery meeting, you will want to be as prepared as possible for the meeting.  Create a questionnaire for you to complete before the discovery meeting.  Make sure you know or have the following before the discovery meeting:

  • Where did they hear about you? (i.e., website, referral, seminar, etc.)
  • Ask why they would like to meet with you? (This will give you the opportunity to learn beforehand what their needs or pain points may be.)
  • Ask them to provide you with as much information as possible before the discovery meeting.  For example, if you are an IT provider, you may want to ask that they share with you their current IT provider agreement and infrastructure plan.
  • Google the prospects to find them on social media channels, websites, or news outlets. This will give you a handle on who they are before you formally meet them, as well as help identify what things you and the prospect(s) have in common.

Plan

To run a successful discovery meeting, you need to have a plan.  You need to read and study the research you collected above.  You need to understand your client(s) as much as possible before conducting the discovery meeting.

Additionally, be prepared with your discovery questions.  Discovery questions are designed to obtain the context you need to begin formulating a strategy to achieve a solution.  You are looking for clarity and justification around the wants, needs, dreams, and pain points, so come prepared with questions around those areas. 

Create a standard set of questions, but you, undoubtedly, will come across unique situations that will require unique questions.  Be prepared to produce questions based on the gaps you find in the existing documentation.

Agenda

Do not think that agendas are only for corporate meetings.  When there is no agenda, it translates that you do not care.  Therefore, the prospect inevitably feels that the meeting may be a big waste of their time.

The agenda should be simple, and it should be shared with the clients before the meeting.  The agenda can be shared via email, text, or phone call, depending on the prospect’s preference.  When you share with the prospect the agenda ahead of time, it does three things: 

  1. Shows that you are serious 
  2. You have a plan
  3.  The meeting will not be a waste of time

Additionally, the agenda allows you to clearly think and articulate what you want to get out of the meeting, as well to outline the next steps.  A sample agenda for the discovery meeting could include:

  • Introductions (5 minutes)
  • Learn more about your wants, needs, dreams, and pain points (20 minutes)
  • Discuss your approach to your solution (10 minutes)
  • Demo of solution. This is where you should show an example of your solution and how it works. (10 minutes)
  • Answer questions. (10 minutes)
  • Next steps. (A minimum of 5 minutes.)

What should you do during the Discovery Meeting?

Introductions

Build rapport by introducing yourself.  Tell them about your purpose or your why, and share some personal information about yourself.  Make sure to give the prospect enough time to share a little bit about themselves with you.  

Last Time We Communicated

Indicate the last time you communicated with the client.  It could be from a seminar, webinar, email, text, phone call, etc.  Mirror back the questions or concerns they shared with you when you last communicated, and answer their questions.

Purpose

Highlight the purpose of the meeting.  Indicated that you would like to understand their needs, wants, dreams, and pain points better, as well as give a sense of the solutions you provide.  The purpose of the meeting is for you and the prospect to decide if a business relationship is worth exploring.  

Review Agenda and Follow Agenda

Review the agenda with the prospect, so they can have a good sense of the direction of the meeting.  Make sure to follow the agenda during the meeting.

Discuss Your Solutions

This is your opportunity to discuss your solutions with the prospect.  Make sure to highlight values and unique selling proposition.  Ideally, you would like the prospect to clearly understand why you have the best solution for them.  

Demo Your Solutions

It may sound cliche, but seeing it is believing it.  This is your opportunity to show them how your solution works.  For example, if you are website developer, this is an opportunity to show a website you designed, as well as how easy it is to update.

Answer Questions

Open the meeting for the prospect to ask any and all questions.  However, remember to periodically check in with the prospect during the meeting to answer any questions they may have right on the spot.  

Next Steps

If you do the necessary fact-finding, research, and qualifying before the first meeting you will shorten the sales cycle.  If you do the necessary homework before the discovery meeting, depending on your industry, your discovery meetings may have a 50% to 60% conversation rate.  Always ask the following at the end of the first meeting:

  • Ask for the sale.  Be prepared to give them a contract on the spot.
  • If they are not ready to sign, remember it is ok if they to "think about it".  Ask them if there are any questions that you could answer for them.  Also, if they need more time, book another meeting before they leave.  If they don't commit to a follow-up meeting, the odds of conversion are low.  However, ask if you can follow up with them in a few weeks and do it.
  • If they currently don't subscribe to any of your content, ask them to subscribe before they leave.  Remember, your content will keep them in the sales funnel.

 

 


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