As an entrepreneur, you’ve taken all the right steps to set up your nutrition private practice. When you’ve nailed down your niche, crafted your service offerings and started marketing your business. You are ready for your business to take-off, so what’s next? Offering a free 15-20 minute discovery call for your practice is the first step in “qualifying” a prospective lead. It’s essentially your best opportunity to talk one-on-one with a prospective client to make sure they are the right fit for your practice.
There is an art and a science that goes into this introductory sales call. First, nail your discovery call, and you can convert that lead into a paying customer on the spot. Whether you are a self-pay or insurance-based provider, this initial touch point with clients is a crucial one, and can be your most effective sales-technique.
Follow these steps to create a meaningful discovery call that ends in a client sign up.
1. Always start out by actively listening to your client
One of the most important qualities of a good sales person (and healthcare provider) is to ensure that your prospective client is heard. In nutritional care, clients are often reaching out for emotional and personal reasons. Perhaps they’ve been to several healthcare providers by this point, and have felt like their problems and goals are completely minimized. Be that care person to take a genuine interest in their health, and listen to them. This act alone will help a client feel comfortable with you.
With that being said, your session is only 15-20 minutes long, so it’s important to direct the flow of the conversation with strategic questions. Don’t hesitate to kindly interject “Jennifer, I don’t mean to interrupt, but I want to make sure that I properly
Questions to consider asking during your discovery call:
- What are your nutritional concerns?
- What do you hope to accomplish in nutritional counseling?
- What has held you back from accomplishing these goals in the past?
- How are you hoping I can help you if we work together?
- Any “qualifying” questions that identify your ideal client (ie. do you work exclusively with eating disorder clients, diabetic patients, weight loss clients, athletes, pregnant women? etc)
2. Reiterate (and clarify) what your prospective client’s goals are
This step is important in clarifying what your client’s problem is, and the transformation they want to achieve. Ultimately, as their health care provider, your job is to help them achieve this transformation. Summarize the goals that you heard and the ultimate transformation that your client wants to achieve. If they’ve given you multiple goals, you can ask them what their priorities are, and clarify what their expectations are.
At this moment, it may be clear to you that this client is not the right fit for your practice. A strategic way to gain client leads is by building up your referral network. This network should also extend to include other dietitian and nutrition professionals that work with varying clients from your idea. For example, if you work exclusively with women that have eating disorders and are not comfortable counseling athletes — reach out to dietitians in your area that specialize in sports nutrition. Also, you can cross-refer and collaborate with each other over time.
Providing a great referral for a lead client, instead of dismissing them, will leave them feeling a positive interaction from your call. Down the road, they may be the right client for you, or they may even refer others to your practice.
3. Speak to how your process will help them achieve their desired transformation
At this moment, it’s time to start talking through how your practice is the right fit to help your client. It’s less about preaching your practice philosophy to your client, and more about showing them how your counseling approach can help them reach their goals. Show your client that you were listening to their goals.
Some clients may have multiple goals in mind. Help them have confidence in your services by walking them through how to organize their goals, with plans to strategically tackle each goal over time. You can also discuss a timeline for achieving these goals, which helps to determine if the client has healthy and realistic expectations in mind. If they don’t, then they may not be the right fit for your practice (ie. if a client wants to lose 40lbs in 2 months before their wedding they are not the right fit for your practice that requires a 3 or 6-month commitment aimed at slow and sustainable weight loss). Avoid negative reviews in the long-run, by ensuring.
4. Walk through your package offerings — lead with the VALUE you offer
Now that you’ve qualified your prospective lead, it’s time to walk them through your service package. And it’s important to lead with the value of your services as opposed to the price. Save your rates for the close. Regardless of how you structure your sessions or packages, prospective clients should have a clear understanding of how you’ll work together.
For self-pay packages, you can walk through what your package offers. Be specific to how these included services will relate to your client’s desired transformation: ie if you offer meal planning, between session support or food diary reviews — highlight how this added level of support and accountability will help your client be successful.
If you’re an insurance-based provider, you won’t be able to require clients to commit to a length of time or number of sessions. Instead, you should provide them with a general outline of what your working relationship will look like (ie. do you typically meet with clients every 2 weeks? Do you offer support between sessions?)
5. Ask if they have any questions or initial thoughts
This step, although obvious, is crucial in gauging your prospective client’s readiness to commit. Pause for a moment, and again listen to your prospective client. Often times, providers rush prospective leads through this process and lose this moment to connect with their client. The discovery call ends with a no-booking, and the provider is left wondering why?
Ideally, at this moment, they have only a few questions and sound genuinely enthusiastic about working together. If, however, they sound hesitant, be sure to probe and find out what their hesitations are. It’s possible that they are a right fit for your practice, but they aren’t ready to make changes yet. In that case, you want to leave the call on a positive note and schedule a time in the future to check back in.
6. If they’re the right fit, then let them know the price point
As your discovery call comes to an end, you’ve successfully:
- Identified your prospective client’s goals and desired transformation
- Provided an outline of how you can work together to accomplish their transformation
- Reassured them that your are the right fit to work with them, and are qualified to help them reach their goals
- Demonstrated the value of your services, and made it personal to your prospective client
- Answered any relevant questions and reaffirmed with the prospective client that this is a valuable service, with the right practice, that will help them achieve their transformation
The final logical question your prospective client will have is: “What do your services cost?” At this moment, many nutrition professionals begin to waver with their confidence, feeling like they may be offering rates too high for clients to willingly purchase. Do not waiver, and do not offer too many options. Leading with confidence in both the rate and the service package for your prospective client will allow them to have confidence in purchasing.
7. CLOSE the deal (or get another call on the calendar)
No matter what, while you have your prospective client on the phone (or video), be sure to close the deal. Ideally, this means with a confirmation from your prospective lead that they want to purchase a package. At that moment, you’ll want to collect their relevant information (name, email, etc) and a credit card for billing. Healthie providers can create their client’s profile directly through the platform, and automatically move prospective leads through the new client on-boarding process.
Does your client want to think your proposal over? That’s ok too. But don’t hang up without getting a follow-up call on the calendar. Tell them you’ll book a time in your schedule (a few days later or later in the week) to follow-up. Often times, clients may need several “touch points,” before feeling confident enough to book your services. By following up for another session, and adding your prospective lead to an automated email marketing campaign, you can build up on those touch points needed to convert this lead.
For Healthie Providers, here is a list of additional articles and help resources to guide you:
- How to create a discovery call within the Healthie platform
- Set availability in your calendar
- Sync your Healthie Calendar with your other scheduling tools
- Allow clients to independently book discovery sessions through your website
- Create a “Book Now,” button on Facebook linking to your Discovery Call