It’s a rare occasion that I don’t close a prospective client on a discovery call. 

I don’t say that to brag. Believe me, I spent my fair share of calls filled with imposter syndrome, doubt and desperation oozing out of me. When I first started out as a digital marketer, I agreed to any and every project that came my way at whatever price was offered.

Even if it was something I didn’t enjoy doing (like social media platform management).

Or didn’t really know how to do (like build sales funnels).

I burned out in six months. 

It wasn’t until I dialed in on what I really loved doing and was good at that things changed for me. I fell in love with my clients. Work became fun again. And discovery calls got a whole lot easier.

Today, I close around 80 percent of my discovery calls. Of the remaining 20 percent, most don’t sign because they’re looking for a cheaper option, which is completely understandable. I don’t try to sell someone into something they can’t afford – that’s just not my style.

The Key to Closing is in the Questions You Ask

So how do I do it? Am I some super-celebrity rockstar with a huge reputation? 

Nope. Except for within a few niche communities, I’m sure most people have never even heard of me. I’m just an Iowa housewife who happens to be good with words and discerning human behavior who loves helping entrepreneurs and business owners sell their stuff. I love it to the point that I’m pretty well obsessed with helping them get inside their ideal clients’ and customers’ heads. Sounds creepy, I know, but it works.

The thing is, they don’t know that before they hire me. 

They don’t know how well I’m going to do on their sales copy. I can show them examples of my work, and give them client testimonials and results, but until we work together, there are no guarantees. Yet I rarely have a discovery call that doesn’t result in a signed proposal, and I’m convinced a great deal of the cause for that are the questions I ask them on the call. 

There are 5 main questions I always ask the prospective client on a business call that knock their socks off and make them want to work with me above other writers, even if they’re more well-known than I am.
Question #1:  Is your offer a converting offer?

There’s a huge difference between writing for a brand new offer, an offer that has converted but has never seen paid traffic, and an offer that’s consistently converting with paid traffic. Each scenario requires a different approach. 

Why this is important:  It’s important for you to know this at the outset so you can meet the client where their offer is and set reasonable expectations as far as turnaround time, revisions, and testing and optimization. Reasonable expectations are good for EVERYONE. 

Question #2:  How large is your list?

The size of the list is a great indicator of where the campaign needs to start. Conversions aren’t just about sales, they’re about list building, webinar attendance, and challenge enrollments. 

Why this is important:  If the list is small, the client will want to start with list-building. Emails are owned traffic, and owned traffic is money in the bank. It’s much easier to get conversions from someone on the email list than a random person hopping in the funnel from social media.

Question #3:  How warm is your target audience?

Most of you probably already ask about the target audience on the discovery call (if you don’t, start now!), but do you ask where they are in terms of their engagement? Even entrepreneurs and business owners with huge lists struggle to sell if the list is dead cold.

Why this is important:  A warm audience buys faster, easier, and with much less financial investment. List size is important, but don’t ignore the fact that a small hot audience will outperform a large cold one every day of the week. Pitching to a cold audience can result in poor sales conversions. Nobody wants that.

Question #4:  What campaigns have you run before and how did they perform?

This won’t apply as much to a prospect with a brand new business or offer, but knowing what has worked and what hasn’t for the prospect can help you get a quick feel for what their audience likes and doesn’t like as well as what marketing has proven effective. If they’re new, that’s really important to know too. See question #1. 

Why this is important:  Knowing what they’ve done before gives you a place to start and a baseline for growth and improvement. It also gives you a look at where to start in terms of optimization where things aren’t working and where to not reinvent the wheel for things that are working.

Question #5:  What are your average conversion rates?

There are several different stats I ask for – cost per lead, cost per click, and cost per acquisition. I also always ask for the landing page and sales page conversion rates. Most prospects I talk to have never had a copywriter ask them about conversion rates before. Sometimes they themselves don’t have a clear idea what their baselines are. 

Why this is important:  Asking about their conversion rates lets the prospect know that you’re about results and that you understand that the data tells the story when it comes to what’s working and what’s not. They will feel like you are on their team working towards a common goal instead of just looking to get paid.

The discovery call process is not just an interview. Yes, it’s an opportunity for the prospect to ask you questions, and they should. Let them guide the discussion and ask you whatever questions they like, but the discovery call is as much for you as it is for them. Make sure you sneak these five questions in. 

These five questions serve two purposes. Not only do they really impress the prospect and show them you know your stuff, but the answers provide you with information you need to be able to make informed suggestions for their campaigns and even decide whether the client is a good fit for you or not.

More from Christa Nichols

Want another list of questions I always ask my clients once we start working together? Grab my FREE 8 Must-Ask Questions guide. Inside you’ll find eight questions I always ask about my clients’ target markets. These questions help me write copy that follows the five stages of sales copy – and it WORKS. Click here to download it now: 8 Must-Ask Questions For Copy That Connects And Converts.

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