How I Messed Up a Discovery Call

Here’s how I messed up a discovery call.

“Chris” saw me present and wanted to hire me for his company.

His partner, “Bob,” who didn’t know me, was also on the call.

Here’s Bob:

“What measurable outcome will reps be able to improve after they finish your 90-minute workshop?”

Here’s me:

“Imagine you do one session with a personal trainer. What measurable outcome improves after one workout?”

See the mistake?

I’m subconsciously saying, “That’s a stupid question.”

Egos don’t like that very much.

If I had a do-over, this is how I would respond:


“It sounds like you’re really passionate about professional development and want to find the right trainer that will make an impact.”


“It’s like when you go see a motivational speaker, like Tony Robbins. You’re pumped during the talk. However, the next day you’re lying on a couch eating bonbons.”

Calibrated Question

“Chris, you were at my last workshop. How would you describe what, if anything, improved after the workshop?”

Feel the difference.

The first approach can make people defensive because you’re questioning their question. That hurts the ego.

The second approach lowers defenses because you’re validating how the other person feels.

The problem?

I know this Christopher Voss stuff; however, in the moment, I defaulted to my old “program.”

The lesson?

Knowing something and being good at something are two completly different things.

Running new “programs” takes repetition, deliberate practice, patience, and reflection.

You’ll fall backward sometimes when trying to run a new program.

You’ll eat fries.

You’ll miss a few runs training for your marathon.

It’s okay.

Don’t beat yourself up.

You’re human.

Show yourself some compasssion.

Kick rocks for a few minutes.

Step back.

Breathe deeply.

Write a post about what you would do differently.

Then move on.

You don’t have a DeLorean. You can’t go back and change it.

It’s okay to be in beta.