Do we want to work together?
A discovery call with a virtual administrator is like grabbing coffee with someone you are not yet sure if you want to date – a chance to get to know each other.
Whether you have hired virtual administrators in the past, or this is the first time you are reaching out to someone as your business needs have increased, knowing what to expect and what not to expect is crucial to establishing an efficient and productive working relationship.
While there is a ton of helpful information on the internet on how sales professionals and contractors can master a discovery call with a prospect, the latter is not discussed as much.
Let’s change that!
Here are some things that you should NOT expect from your discovery call with a virtual administrator and why you need to be aware of them.
But first, let’s go back to the basics!
What is a discovery call?
In simple terms? A chat between a prospecting client and a contractor. They are also often referred to as client calls or exploration calls.
From the client’s perspective, a discovery call is an opportunity to discover if you can rely on the person you are outsourcing tasks to get the job done.
From the contractor’s side, it is a way to evaluate whether you are a good fit and what a potential collaboration would look like.
What not to expect #1: That the contractor 100% wants to work with you
This is one of the most important factors to consider and, since first impressions count, one of the things to look out for when first approaching a contractor.
Booking a discovery call is just the first step, meaning there are no guarantees that either party wants to work with the other. While most clients feel that this is a one-way interview process, the truth is that it goes both ways.
Your contractor can turn you down just as easily as you can.
This could be because of professional or personal reasons.
The scope of work does not interest them. But they have someone else to suggest that could do the job.
They sense you will micromanage them.
Your style of communication is not aligned or lacking altogether.
They feel like you are not valuing their work.
What not to expect #2: That you will do no prep prior to the discovery call
Since the purpose of a discovery call is to uncover information that is not publicly or easily available through a Google search, it would make sense that there is some prep work to be done so both parties are on the same page.
For most virtual administrators this takes the form of an agreement that is laid down before the discovery call phase and includes:
The purpose and agenda of what will be discussed during the discovery call.
The steps that will follow after the discovery call.
After all, you are taking 20 or 30 minutes away from your day to chat with someone, so knowing what will be discussed and how you can be prepared for it is a MUST.
This also helps remove the end-of-meeting anxiety of whether you need to decide straight away on a plan.
The information you need to provide can differ according to each provider and include various questions about the types of services you are interested in and your business needs.
What not to expect #3: A free strategy call
If you are booking a discovery call in order to get free advice or answers on specific issues you are facing, right-there-and-then, I have bad news for you.
The purpose is to understand what, how, and when; NOT on providing a solution or service.
In addition to it being disingenuous (how could a contractor already know enough to offer that?) it is also bad business etiquette since you are not paying for the service.
This is why most virtual administrators and contractors utilize in-depth questionnaires (like what we discussed on #2) to ensure they are matched ONLY with clients that they can:
a. Help with their specific tasks.
b. Create a mutually beneficial working relationship with.
The bottom line
Discovery calls are only the first step in figuring out if you want to pursue a working relationship with someone.
Preparing in advance and taking the time to set the agenda beforehand can save valuable time during the call and streamline the process so the focus can be on what is most important.
Discover calls are not a way to get work for free.