If you want to land a client in 35 minutes – or less – using Zoom, the first step is to become a great listener.
Because a free account on Zoom limits you to 40 minutes per call, you have to be hyper-focused on what your prospect wants and needs, so you can close the deal in the time you have. That starts with successful listening.
Successful listening is a combination of knowing the right questions to ask, making a personal connection with your prospect, and offering the right solutions.
In this article I’ll walk you through the steps top copywriters use to expand a single discovery call into a profitable long-term relationship. Plus, I’ll share a simple, but powerful, system you can use to structure your calls for the best outcome and that helps you stay focused.
Developing a Successful “Speed Dating” Mindset
To present yourself as an authentic – albeit professional – potential new partner, you must approach the entire process with the right mindset.
I get into this mindset before going on a discovery call:
“I’m a professional filling a unique need for my clients. My clients are lucky to have me, which gives me equal value and rights with any prospect – no matter how big or impressive their business is. Because I have equal rights, I’m responsible for guiding this conversation to the best possible outcome for us both.”
This mindset helps you show up as calm and confident, which makes a good first impression and keeps you focused and positive throughout your call.
Anne Hill – a copywriter with multiple top-level retainer clients thinks of discovery calls like speed dating. All you’ve got to do is:
- Show up on time
- Make a good first impression
- Ask the right questions
- Decide if you’re a good fit for each other
- Lay the groundwork for a strong future relationship
- Offer solutions to their pain
“But, what if I can’t stop being nervous?”
Don’t worry! It’s natural to be nervous, especially when you’re starting out. In a way you’re walking a tightrope, trying to be professional but real, honest but authoritative, and focused but friendly.
The important thing is to think of each call as an experiment, as practice for the next call. Even if some don’t work out, others will. And you’ll get better each time you do it.
You can also practice on other copywriters. That will give you a chance to get used to the Zoom environment, practice with the controls, and try out your taglines and elevator pitches on trained – but encouraging – ears. As you grow more comfortable, you’ll gradually be able to turn your nerves into energy and focus.
Preparing for 35 Powerful Minutes
Successful financial copywriter Elizabeth Blessing always stresses the importance of being prepared.
You may have only 35 minutes while on the call, but you’ve got all the time in the world before your call. During this phase, you need to prep the structure of your call in such a way that will get your prospect to open up and be honest with you.
Do your research. Look into what makes your client tick.
Remember, this is a speed date. You’re just trying to find out if there’s a connection, a good fit, and a reason to take the next step.
Good Questions to Get Started With
Remember, the goal of any question you ask is to get your client talking.
- What’s their story?
- How did their company get started?
- What are their values?
- Who’re their customers?
- What’s their biggest problem?
- What’s their vibe?
If you can find the answers to these questions beforehand, then you need to look for connections to your own story. Maybe you both stumbled into the health field by accident. Maybe you both went to the same university.
If you can’t find the answers to these questions, then that’s where you start on the call.
One thing your research should turn up is some problem with their current marketing. Rather than calling them out, try a friendly question:
“I noticed that you haven’t made an entry in your blog for eight months; did you move into a different strategy?” Nine times out of 10, they won’t even have a strategy, and this question will trigger a download of usable pain points.
If you’re stuck for questions or you’re uncertain of your process, a great place to get started is with the Client Intake Form in AWAI’s Essential Templates program.
Presenting Yourself As an Authentic Pro
Before you get on a call, look in the mirror.
Do you look like a competent, cleaned-up, put-together professional who would make a great addition to their team? Do you seem confident, comfortable in your own skin, authentic, and trustworthy?
There are three areas you can level-up in before your next client-making Zoom call:
If what you’re wearing makes you feel good, you’ll light up. This is a matter of balancing your personal style with comfort and giving a professional, put-together impression. Top priority goes to what the camera sees, secondary is what makes you feel powerful.
Other than being a good listener, this is arguably the most important part of your 35-minute speed date. Because this is where you truly show up as an authentic person. It’s all about your attitude, the brightness of your eyes, and the speed of your responses. A couple of great ways to up your energy on calls are:
- Take breaks between calls, so you can move around
- Stay standing during a call
- Listen to music that makes you feel your best
- Schedule calls for your optimal mental hours
Master Your Environment
Set up your environment to be professional. Make sure there’s good light on your face, your microphone is working, and your background looks good.
One tip Anne Hill shared is to not use Zoom filters. A digital background is fine (although a view of your office is probably better), but a filter might put your lips out of sync or give you clown eyebrows. (Remember that time when a lawyer accidentally turned on the cat filter during a virtual court session and couldn’t turn it off?)
How to Structure Your Call for Success
You don’t want to run out of time. Keep an eye on the clock, so you can control the pacing and focus of the call.
Those first 15 minutes are the most critical, because that’s where you’ll find your personal connection and gather the information you need to make a decision. Based on the research you did before the call, you should have three or four questions you plan to ask during the call.
By the halfway point, you need to have a feel for this prospect. Can you help them? Do you even like them?
If a client isn’t a good fit, you need to look at letting them go with a smile.
Making the Sale
If this prospect is a good fit, you need to use the last 15 minutes to make the sale. Elizabeth Blessing suggests saying something like: “I feel like there’s a good fit between us, and I feel like the next step is to send a proposal.”
On the off-chance they’re a good fit but not ready for a proposal, you can offer to send them something else, like an article, a special report, or your info packet.
Next steps are always your responsibility, so be prepared ahead of time.
The last five minutes are where you really take control of the relationship. Quickly summarize the most important parts of the call, including how you plan to help them.
Thank them for their time – it’s a good moment to emphasize any points of connection you found at the beginning. Something like: “It’s always fun to talk to a fellow gardener.”
Then clearly state what you will do next. If you’re sending a proposal, state when they’ll receive it and what they need to do when they get it.
And you’re done!
If you stay focused on getting to know your prospect and uncovering how you can help them, in 35 minutes or less, you can have a new client who’s ready to sign a proposal and send you a first payment.
And remember, the more of these types of calls you have, the easier they get… and the easier it is to get to yes.