How to run discovery calls with no stress for your funnel business

How to send more project proposals

By the end of this blog, you’ll be able to run discovery calls and quick initial meetings with leads and prospects and feel confident that they’ll lead to to the next stage – usually paid consultation or a proposal.

Marketing funnel proposals

One of the reasons that discovery calls and initial meetings suck, is because you have to put all that information into a proposal.

That’s why I’m giving away my marketing funnel proposal template and some free training so you can write proposals in minutes, not hours.

Fill in the blanks, send over the document and create super fast high converting proposals that your customers will love. Enter your name and email below to get it sent straight to your email address.

Difficult discovery calls

Have you ever sat down with a prospect, started a discovery call to see what they need and felt that it get’s very confusing?

I used to feel confused at the end of first time meetings.

“Now what the hell do I do? Do they want me to send a proposal?”

I’d even sometimes get confused DURING the call.

“What are we talking about? Are we supposed to be looking through my portfolio? Am I giving them advice?”

Loosing control

It’s even worse when your prospect takes charge of the conversation.

“Why don’t you show us your portfolio? Should be be using Facebook ads? Can you tell us what you’ve worked on before?”

When you sit down with a new lead or prospect, your initial feelings will be that you need to impress them and demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.

There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with that, and if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all a little afraid that the prospect will either realise we’re not as good as we sound (impostor syndrome). Or they won’t be impressed with what we’re got to say.

Now what happens?

Sometimes I’d get back to my office or get off the call and think “I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to put in their proposal. I don’t know anything about the project or their business”.

It’d be embarrassing to have to set up another call, so you either never send anything or send a lousy proposal.

When I used to sit down with prospects I’d do anything I could to avoid silence or them thinking I didn’t know what I was doing.

So if they asked to see my portfolio, or asked a question. I’d answer it. And that’s the problem.

In order to have discovery calls where YOU’RE in charge and you get all the information you need – you have to do the opposite of what you’re doing now.

You shouldn’t be talking

Sales people are professional stalkers, not professional talkers

Grant Cardone

This is where most funnel builders and consultants go wrong.

They think that the customer want’s to hear all kinds of advice and direction from them.

Hell, even the customer thinks they want the expert to talk. But it doesn’t yield results.

Instead, you need to ask questions. Lots of questions.

Ask the right questions

Talking non-stop, showing and demonstrating everything is overloading them with information. They’ll walk away feeling a little impressed, but they’ll forget it the next day. Or sooner.

Your job is to leave them thinking “we absolutely need to see a proposal from this person. I can’t wait to read it!”

As counter-intuitive and scary as it sounds, when you do all the talking your customers will not be as convinced, excited or clear on what they need to do next (ask for a proposal).

Instead, you’re going to ask lots of questions.

How to have great discovery calls that end in a proposal request

Here’s how to have great discovery calls, make sure you’re always clear on what to do next AND make sure that the customer is super keen on you.

1. Ask questions

Ask questions and make it clear to the customer that you want to understand as best you can, their situation.

People love to talk about themselves and their businesses. They’re looking for you to lead the conversation, so don’t be surprised when they react well to you asking lots of questions.

Have you ever had a great interaction with a sales person? There might only be one time you’ve ever thought that, but it does exist.

When people walk away from a meeting or a call with a fantastic sales person, they feel uplifted, clear on what to do and they’ll happily buy from that person.

Often, we don’t even realise we are being sold to. Because the sales person is doing such a good job.

Have you ever had an awful experience with a sales person? Most people have. I want you to think about the difference between the two sales people.

Why would one feel positive and energising? While the other seems hard work and confusing? Questions.

Without fail, the salesperson that asks the right questions and REALLY wants to get to know YOU, will leave you feeling positive.

A salesperson that just talks about themselves or the product, usually drives people away.

We’ll get to the questions you need to ask in a minute. But you need to realise that you MUST ask questions.

2. Refrain from offering advice

The hardest thing to do, is to not give advice or feedback on their ideas.

We naturally want to please our customers, and our instinct is to tell them everything we know. We think that if we demonstrate our knowledge and experience, they’ll be impressed enough to buy from us.

The problem is that we’re not pitching yet, we’re discovering. Our job is to close with an offer of a proposal, not a full purchase.

Sometimes yes, it will go all the way to a full purchase during your first meeting. It happens! It’s just rare. So take the pressure off and allow yourself to ask all the questions you need.

If a customer does ask for your feedback or advice, respond with “great question, I’ll get around to that in a bit. I just want to make sure that I give the best advice possible so I’ll ask a few more questions if that’s OK?”

3. Use this framework

The key to understanding everything you can about a customer and their project, is understanding their journey.

Where are they now? Where do they want to be? What’s standing in their way?

  • Where do you want to be? What are your goals and where do you want they business to be in the future?
  • Where are you now? Compared to your goals, what do you have now?
  • What’s stopping you from getting to your goals? What roadblocks or problems are you experiencing that are preventing you from reaching your goals?

By keeping it open ended and broad, you’ll discover a lot about your customers during your meeting.

The framework helps us understand more than just their goals and gives us a better perspective on where they’re coming from. It’ll also make it easier to make recommendations on how to get to their end goal.

You need to keep asking “what else?” during each stage of the process. Just keep asking questions and even when it feels awkward, keep asking!

I like to get between 20-30 goals (sometimes as many as 50 if it’s a big project) and I’ll keep asking until they genuinely don’t know any more.

I’ll ask how they want to feel, what do they want to become? What do they want the business to become? Who do they want to impress? What’s their vision for 90 days time? What’s their vision for 10 years time?

The more examples I have, the better I can help them.

For example:

  • Increase revenue to $1.5 million in sales
  • Attract 500 new customers
  • Grow team to 8 people
  • Launch new website
  • Convert product to digital version
  • Grow email list to 15 000
  • Produce more YouTube content

Those goals are very different when we compare them to two different “current” stages.

Customer 1:

  • Current revenue $1m
  • 2000 current customers
  • Current team 6 people
  • New website in development
  • Handful of documented products
  • Email list of 12 000
  • Produces 1 YouTube video per week

Customer 2:

  • Current revenue $300 000
  • 100 current customers
  • Team of 2
  • No website at all
  • No products
  • Email list of 1000
  • No YouTube content

By understanding where customers are today, we’re better equipped to advise them in future.

Stick to the framework and keep meetings to a tight 45 minutes. Discovery calls don’t need to be an hour or longer.

Keep asking “what else” for each stage and get everything you need before closing with a prescription.

4. Prescription

So you want to get to [future goal]
Because you want to [their why to the goal]
You currently have [where they are now]
And you’re struggling with [roadblock]
Does that sound right?


So you want to increase revenue to $1m per year
Because you want to sell the business
You currently have $650 000 in revenue
And you’re struggling with attracting new clients?
Does that sound about right?

When they respond with “YES! Oh my god that’s so clear!”

You say “awesome, would you like me to send over a proposal?”

Leave the meeting, get a celebratory Starbucks and write up a proposal.

Super fast marketing funnel proposals

I used to hate writing proposals. I’d put them off until the last minute and then forget everything I learned in my meetings.

That was until I started using the fastest proposal template on the PLANET. It now takes me minutes to write a high converting, powerful and easy to read proposal.

The best part? It’s easier to fill in than a gym membership form.

I’m giving away my Marketing Funnel Proposal template here. Enter your name and email below and I’ll send the full proposal template with some training on how to use it.

Start sending proposals in minutes, not days. Convert more customers and land more deals TODAY.

What if the customer is really talkative?

I totally understand and I’ve had this problem myself with other customers. The key is to be polite but firm.

I find sending a quick agenda over before very useful. Also, I will always start the meeting with “I’m glad I could find time to meet you! I’m excited about the project. I’ve got another call straight after this so I’ll try to keep it tight!”

That usually frames the meeting as I’m in control. If customers keep asking me questions, I’ll repeat that I need to understand as much as I can about their business before I offer any advice.

If they keep ignoring me and asking questions. It’s usually a sign that they can’t follow direction and I’ll probably find and excuse not to work with them.

I’ve even walked out of meetings where the prospect clearly just wanted some free consultation.

You’re valuable, but don’t give it away

You are a highly valuable consultant and expert. But you’re now in a place where you have to take the reigns from the customer.

They’ll want to lead the meeting if they can, and it’s your job to control that.

You’re a fantastic funnel builder and I believe that you can help more customers than ever. Make sure you access the marketing funnel proposal template below and start building those funnels!


Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.