How To Lead A 30-Minute Intro Call

Posted on August 25th, 2023 to Uncategorized

Imagine you were invited to have a call with a potential client you’ve been pursuing for months, maybe even years. 

You were granted 30 minutes with the busy executive, and all seemed to go well.

Only you couldn’t touch on all your recommendations, nor did you have the chance to ask some crucial questions. 

As a next step, they asked you to send a proposal.

Grateful for your time, you spend hours crafting the proposal and hit ‘send,’ excited at what’s to come.

As the days drag by without a response, you feel completely powerless over the outcome.

The longer you wait, the more dejected, dismissed and disrespected you feel. You start to second-guess yourself, and wonder, ‘where did I go wrong?’

All too often, this scenario plays out for subject-matter experts who’ve been sought out for their expertise. 

The problem?

It’s impossible to get all the insight you need, tailor a solution to their pain points and challenges and pitch yourself in a 30-minute discovery call. 

In this blog post, we’ll cover how to approach a 30-minute call, what to focus on in the time you have and how to accomplish your main goal — to book another call.

Yes, another call!

Common Problems With 30-Minute Calls

In the fast-paced sales world, the 30-minute call can be both a blessing and a curse. 

On one hand, it offers a valuable opportunity to connect with busy buyers and potentially secure their interest. 

However, it also presents a challenge — how do you dig deep enough to uncover the critical pain points and challenges that hold the key to transformative solutions?

In the next few sections, we’ll delve into the limitations of a 30-minute call before suggesting how to get the most out of these important first impressions.

Problem #1 – Potential Client Dictates the Process

One common issue that arises is the expectation from buyers that a mere 30-minute download of their problems will be enough for you to craft a comprehensive proposal. 

While you may be capable of dashing off a proposal with limited information, doing so can turn you into a mere vendor rather than a strategic thought partner. 

This approach often leads to smaller deals and less impactful engagements, as it fails to demonstrate the full extent of your expertise and potential.

Problem #2 – Pressure to Get It All In

The time constraints of these meetings can put immense pressure on you and your clients. 

You might attempt to cram every detail about your business and services into those fleeting minutes, inadvertently overlooking the most crucial aspect of any successful meeting – listening. 

Active listening is the key to understanding the nuances of your client’s needs. Without it, you risk missing out on valuable insights that could set the stage for an extraordinary partnership.

Problem #3 – You’re Relegated To A Small Contract

It’s virtually impossible to peel back the onion about everything you need to put into a confirmation proposal versus a thought starter. 

A confirmation proposal reflects everything you’ve already confirmed with the client, while a thought starter includes elements that haven’t. 

Read more about a confirmation versus a thought starter here.

Let me give you an example. 

I was speaking with a founder recently about a business proposal she submitted to a client she had been hoping to work with. 

The busy executive had time for a 30-minute call, and so it was scheduled. Once on the call, the founder realized she didn’t have a plan. 

The potential client started describing a tiny chunk of the larger project the founder hoped to manage in its entirety. The founder was so caught off guard that she agreed to the scope of work, launched into a generic spiel about her business, and sent a proposal within days of the call. 

While the call went “well” in some ways, my client’s failure to slow down and probe more deeply into her potential client’s needs — and push back on some of their assumptions — relegated her to a small scope of work, rather than the larger project she was perfectly suited for. 

In the next section, I’ll suggest how discovery calls can go very differently and result in the yes.

Effective Strategies To Lead A 30-Minute Call

Thankfully, there are effective strategies to overcome the challenges posed by these time-constrained meetings. 

The key lies in setting the right expectations and being strategic in your approach. 

Here’s what you can do to make every minute count:

1. Set Agenda and Expectations

Be transparent with your clients from the outset. Let them know that while you’re eager to learn about their challenges, crafting a well-informed proposal requires more time and collaboration. 

Setting the expectation of more time upfront avoids any assumptions and positions you as a thoughtful, strategic partner.

2. Refrain from Pitching

In the limited time available, resist the urge to pitch your solutions. 

Instead, demonstrate your expertise through intelligent questioning and storytelling. 

Engage your clients with insightful queries that shed light on their pain points while also sharing brief, relevant anecdotes that showcase your brilliance in tackling similar issues.

Remember, your goal in this short call isn’t to convince them to go with your solution — it’s to entice them to a second, more detailed conversation.

3. Ask Questions, Listen, Propose Next Meeting

If you only remember one thing from this blog post, let it be this:

Rather than aiming to secure a contract in a 30-minute call, focus on convincing your prospects to take the next step with you. 

Offer a compelling value proposition for a follow-up meeting, where you can dive deeper into their challenges and share the most relevant information about you and your expertise.

4. Embrace Your Expertise

Remember, clients seek your services because you possess specialized knowledge and skills that they may lack. 

Take charge of the sales process and lead confidently from the beginning. 

Demonstrate your understanding of their needs, and show them how you can alleviate their burdens by taking the reins of the sales process and the project.

Try These Strategies On Your Next 30-Minute Call

While a 30-minute call may seem like the only chance you have with a busy executive, resist the urge to surrender control of the meeting or agree to the first scope of work put forth.

Instead, view these meetings as a golden opportunity to showcase your value, establish a meaningful connection and get them to the next stage of the sales process.  

By setting clear expectations, avoiding the rush to pitch, and embracing your expertise, you can lead these calls with confidence. Check out this blog post about adding a Fingerprints Meeting to your sales process – it’s a critical step in shipping confirmations, not thought starters.

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