How To Stop Wasting Time With Strategy Calls To Sell Coaching, Agency & Consulting Services

by Corey Philip
October 7, 2020

If you’re selling coaching, agency or consulting services, you’ve certainly implemented some variation of a ‘call funnel’ to get leads to book a call with you.

Sometimes it’s called a strategy call, or a triage call, or a discovery call, or an audit, or probably about 10 other things. No matter what kind of lipstick you put on the pig though it’s all the same; you get your lead on the phone, discover their pain points, and pitch your solution.

I’ve gone down this road for my own services.

The problem with ‘strategy calls’ to sell services.

So a lead books a call.

You glee with excitement!

You Google them or their business and find that they are seemingly a good fit. Now there is a big ole grin on your face.

Your ‘nurturing & reminder’ sequence goes off harrassing the lead. The lead confirms!

Your time for a scheduled call comes around.

You call the lead; no answer. You text; no response.


Now there you are with open space in your day, that could’ve been used for something more productive and waiting a few minutes incase the lead scheduled for the call appears.

All in all I went through a period of over 30 scheduled calls only to have 1 show…

…even after I sequence of automated texts / email and personal calls / texts from me (I was trying hard to get them on the phone).

That’s just plain frustrating.

But if they do show… there is the selling part…

I had one lead on the phone and I asked one of my opening discovery questions, “why did you book this call today?”.

Many sales training programs encourage use of a question similar to that as it gets the leads to disclose their pain points. It can work.

In this, I got the response “I just like connecting with other entrepreneurs”.


I wasn’t doing sales calls to connect.

There was no shortage of calls like this. Other responses I got “were to pick your brain”. Sometimes the leads wanted to talk about things unrelated to the objective of the call.

Other times, the lead was simply not qualified.

Other times the lead wasn’t focused on the call.

Between trying to get people onto my calendar, then to show up, then entertaining the people I shouldn’t have been speaking with, I was wasting my entire day getting no where.

It was a mess. It sucked.

So here is what I did (and my life has been great)

I stopped allowing direct calendar scheduling.

My initial call funnel allowed people to schedule right onto my calendar.

Via Calendly, they would select from my available time and BOOM they were on.

I did limit it to only allowing scheduling 2 days in advance, but from the numbers above, this clearly wasn’t working.

While the leads had no obligation to show, it would be unprofessional of me not to respect the calendar.

Also by doing this there was no qualifying before scheduling. Yes I could cancel them if I reviewed their basic information, but that is also unprofessional.

My solution was was to go to scheduling application method.

This was a simple card form that ran through qualifying questions.

The user had to answer questions, and they were under the impression that they would get to a calendar. Instead, they just went to a ‘thank you’ page that stated we would review their information and contact them if we felt we were a fit.

Once a lead came through, I could review their information, decide if they were worth pursuing. If they were, I would just call and text them quickly and get them on the phone right then.


I was still spending quite a bit of time on calls.

I didn’t get into consulting to be doing free ‘strategy’ sessions all day and chasing leads. I published a ton of content to establish my expertise and pre-positioning. In other words, I shouldn’t have to earn business through 1-on-1 display.

I started charging for calls.

Rather than talking for free, I decided to only talk to those who would (and could) invest some money for my time.

I Implemented a paid strategy session costing $100, where leads would need to spend some money, to get some time and insight. Behind the offer was a guarantee of identify the # biggest opportunities.

I would genuinely identify the opportunities or issues I seen in their business, regardless of whether I had a solution. Then for the points I could provide solutions for, ask if they would like my help.

Essentially it was a tripwire of sorts.

This was much better than taking free calls. There would be no more chasing leads to get on a call with me. Or sitting around hoping someone would show up for the call.

If they’re paying, they’re eager to get on a call with me.

Another huge perk…

This also took away ‘the pain of paying’. Those who have been in sales have sure had a prospect say “YES!” only to hear the words, “well send me an invoice and I’ll approve it” when asking for payment.

With the payment information capture in your system, all you have to say is “great we’ll get started”.

What works for you?

No doubt some people do great with free strategy calls for the masses. My experience has been selling services to home services contractors, that have are not sitting at a desk all day. Possibly there is less headache and frustration selling to an audience sitting at their desk all day.

Nonetheless if strategy calls have been a major waste of time for you, consider one of the 2 methods above!

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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