Why Clients Aren’t Saying Yes On Your Discovery Calls

July 16, 2020

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-entrepreneur and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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Do you feel uncomfortable with the idea of selling your services as a coach? Do you feel like you’re not good at sales? Are you frustrated because you’re having trouble getting people to say YES on discovery calls and enroll in your packages?

If you said yes to any of those questions, then this post (and podcast episode) is for you. 

I’ll be talking about why your sales approach isn’t working and what to do about it. And, specifically I reveal the 5 big mistakes most coaches tend to make on their discovery calls, and what to do about it.

By the way, if you’d rather listen than read, here’s where you can tune in to this episode:

Before we get started…I want to invite you to my free online training called: The 4-Part Formula For Replacing Your 9-5 Income With A Coaching Business You Love, and that’s exactly what I teach you, inside the class. There has never been a better time to pursue your dreams of a business that gives you freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment — plus the ability to work from the comfort and safety of your own home — and I teach you my exact system for doing that inside this free training.

Now, if you feel uncomfortable with the idea of selling your services as a coach, or you feel like you’re not good at sales, this episode is for you. Especially if you’re having trouble getting people to say YES on discovery calls, and enroll in your packages and programs, then you are definitely going to want to stay tuned. 

In this episode I’m going to talk to you about why your sales approach isn’t working and what to do about it. And, specifically I’m going to reveal 5 big mistakes that most coaches tend to make, and what to do about it.

Now, I have tackled this issue here before, in a podcast episode called The Art of Sales, and I’m sure I’ll talk about it again and again, because this is such a key thing for growing your business as a coach.

You can be doing all the marketing in the world, but if you’re not actually able to help guide a prospect to saying YES to your services, then your business is not going to succeed.

But a lot of coaches don’t pay attention to this piece. They put all their attention into being “out there”, engaging on social media, networking, trying to drum up interest, but then they can’t complete the process.

When they actually get someone on the phone, they’re not sure how to actually conduct an effective sales conversation, and guide them to a yes, and they’re kind of fumbling about and it’s very awkward, and feels terrible for everyone. 

Not to worry, I’ve got you. This is something I focus on with my clients and group participants, and I devote an entire module to sales inside my Business Academy for Coaches. I help my clients grow their businesses by giving them lots of strategy, and systems, and tactics, but I also help them with sales training, so they can enroll the right clients in their coaching programs, and grow their businesses quickly.

The 5 Big Reasons Why Your Discovery Calls Aren’t Working

This is especially for you if you’ve had the experience of getting a potential client on a discovery call, and you were excited to work with this person, but you just couldn’t get her to say yes.

So let’s talk about five possible reasons why you might not be having success on your discovery calls right now and what you can do about it. 

Reason #1: You Don’t Believe

Reason number one is when you don’t believe in yourself or believe in what you’re offering.

A lot of new coaches struggle with belief. They struggle with not having the experience that gives them a real, grounded belief in what they can do for people. 

And if that’s you, if you’re trying to convince people to buy from you, but inside you’ve got a nasty bit of self-talk happening that questions the value of what you’re offering, your potential client is going to pick up on that energy.

It’s important to truly believe that what you’re offering can help the person you’re talking to. Which of course, is something that I’m assuming for all these tips. Certainly on a discovery call it’s important for YOU to actually decide whether you actually want to work with this person, whether it’s a good fit, whether you can really help her … but assuming this is the case, then they need to feel that conviction in you, which starts with you actually holding that belief, that conviction.

Now, if this is something you’re struggling with, you’re not sure you really DO believe it, that’s something you need to explore. Now this is not your fault. Especially if you’re brand-new to coaching or building your business, you haven’t had that experience and the time it takes to build up the belief, but you have to start working on that right now. 

There also may be an element of Impostor Syndrome at play, too. And if that’s the case, then I encourage you to go back and listen to the episode I released a few months ago about Impostor Syndrome.

But the point is, when you’re talking to a potential client from a place of true belief and you know that you have this client’s best interests at heart, and you know you can help them achieve what they desire, then that comes across on call. They will feel this energy, and they will begin to believe it themselves. 

When you try to convince people to do something that you, deep down, aren’t convinced of yourself, that’s not going to work. And you won’t have successful sales calls that way.

Reason #2: You’re Coaching Too Much On The Call

The second problem you might be experiencing on your sales calls is coaching too much. 

New coaches and experienced coaches are notorious for coaching on sales calls. After all you’re a coach. So nobody can blame you for coaching. 

But it’s not the time to coach on your sales calls. 

RESIST the temptation to jump in and try to fix their issues! This is one of the hardest things to implement, but you need to keep your mouth shut when the client is telling you about all their issues and struggles. 

There’s a place for telling them how you can help, but it has to happen in the right way.

There are two things that can happen when you coach on your calls. 

The first issue is that you coach someone too much and you actually give them a Band-Aid solution and they feel better temporarily. And this makes them think that they’re okay, and they’re all sorted and they don’t need you right now. 

So if you’re giving him too much coaching on the discovery call, they won’t invest with you. Which is not serving them, of course, because you and I both know that there’s only so much that can actually be accomplished on a single call, in terms of creating lasting change.

The other issue you might run into, when you try to coach your prospect, is that you might be opening up some stuff, but you don’t really have the time or the tools to actually help them overcome their challenges right then and there.

One of my mentors gave the analogy of taking them into surgery, opening them up to try and fix the problem, but not having enough time to finish the job and close the incision.

When you try to coach someone but you can’t find a solution that seems feasible or reasonable to them, in the end they feel even more confused and you both feel frustrated, because now you’ve run out of time.

So I’m hoping you can see how coaching on a sales call is not a good idea. 

Either you coach them too much and they think they’re okay for now and they go away, or you don’t coach them enough, and you don’t help them at all on this one call so they’re frustrated and think the call was not as valuable as it could have been, and then, of course, they’re not going to invest with you because of that. 

What I encourage my clients to do instead, on a discovery call, is focus on talking to your prospect about their goals and their ideas, and find out what’s really going on, what’s stopping them, what have they tried in the past, what are the pain points are experiencing, and then  discuss an overall strategy and what needs to happen for them to change, going forward, instead of trying to find solutions right then and there and coaching them right on the discovery call. 

Reason #3: You Don’t Have An Abundance Mindset

I completely get it. Especially in the beginning, and when you’re trying to grow your business, you can certainly feel fairly desperate to get this person to say yes. 

But I’m telling you, that desperation comes across. 

And it will definitely push away your potential client. 

Instead, you need to cultivate an abundance mindset, and approach this call with a certain detachment to outcome.

So let me talk a little more about what that means.

I really don’t enjoy the term “closing techniques”. I don’t like that approach, because it feels like it’s all about your agenda, that the goal is to “close” them, no matter what. And that’s not good. For one thing, not all prospects will be a match for you. And that’s okay.

But also, the approach of “closing” means that the whole call is all about YOUR agenda — what’s best for you. Regardless of what’s actually best for them.

In my opinion, “closing” is the wrong energy & approach. It’s not a good way to set out, and it doesn’t set up a good foundation for your coach-client relationship.

In my worldview, you want to achieve an energy of partnership not pursuit.

When you have an attachment to a particular outcome — as in: making the sale — then that desire for money or the sale can make you come across as needy, desperate, or lacking in confidence. When the potential client senses this energy, she will most likely decide to find someone who is more confident and professional.

But how do you overcome that desperation for a sale, and approach the call with detachment to outcome?

Well, that’s where cultivating an abundance mindset comes in. Knowing the Universe has your back, that there are more than enough clients out there for you, and that there’s more than enough money for everyone, when you can really step into this mindset, it will free you to really be present on a call and decide if this is a client you can best serve and that you want to work with. 

You can cultivate an abundance mindset through a lot of strategies, like doing a daily wealth consciousness practice, reading books on money mindset, taking a course on money mindset, working on your own self-talk and creating abundant affirmations for yourself. Lots of things you can do, but it does take intention and practice.

Reason #4: You’re Not Going Deep Enough

The fourth issue you might be dealing with, if you’re not having success on your discovery calls, is not going deep enough with your potential client, and specifically not going deep enough into their pain points and getting to the truth of what’s really going on. 

And not being able to hold real space for real emotions. When you’re not going deep enough on your sales conversations your prospects will not see the real reasons why they should be working with you. They may only see the surface level reasons and those may not be enough for them to say yes to a premium price. 

Especially when it comes to high ticket selling and premium packages you want to be able to go to the deepest level with your prospect, and talk about the things that really matter to them to get them to take action and see the importance of investing in you and your services. 

In addition to that you need to show them how important it is right now to take action for them. But this isn’t YOU telling them why it’s important. This all about asking questions so THEY say it out loud, and understand for themselves why it’s important.

There are a lot of different ways you can uncover this truth, but you could try asking them what happens if you don’t do this right now? What will happen to your family? What impact will this have on your health? Your career? How will you feel about yourself in 1 years from now if you don’t take action right now and change this? Really help them see what the consequences are of not moving forward right now. 

On a recent call with a potential client, she actually cried a little on the call. I wasn’t trying to MAKE her cry, but I was asking her some fairly deep questions about what was going on in her life, and I gave her the space to really uncover what was going on, and what she REALLY wanted for her life, and when she spoke it out loud, she got choked up and said she had never actually spoken those words out loud to anyone before. It was a powerful moment and I was honored to have been able to help her have that experience.

Now, did she enroll in my program?

You bet she did.

Because, if that’s the kind of breakthrough that can happen in a 30-minute call, imagine what can happen while working together for several months? I knew it, and she knew it too. And that’s the power of going deep. I didn’t have to TELL her that working with me could change her life — she felt it for herself.

Reason #5: Not Having Structure For Your Calls

So here’s why structure is important.

When you follow a proper structure on your Discovery Calls, especially at the opening of the call, it allows you to set the tone for the call, and you’ll feel confident and in control (instead of awkward & fumbling). At the same time, your prospective client feels supported and heard.

Having a structure and a flow for your calls also removes the need for “closing techniques”, which I’ve already said I dislike. Because taking prospects through a process will naturally bring them on a journey, so that by the time you get to the end, they’ve already come to a decision.

Also, following a structure for your Discovery Calls will prevent this call from becoming a  friendly chit chat that doesn’t actually go anywhere.

That said, many coaches wonder about the awkwardness of following a structured flow. 

But in fact, it feels quite the opposite. Of course you do need to practice it a few times, and yes, the first couple of times you follow a structure, it may feel somewhat awkward. As one of my mentors always said to me: It’s always awkward before it’s elegant. But once you’ve gained familiarity with the elements, the flow and structure will actually feel natural.

In a sense, you can think of your discovery calls as Decision Coaching. You’re coaching people to come to an empowered decision. And, if you’re familiar with the coaching model, you’ll know that a coaching conversation does have structure, it’s not just a rambling, aimless chitchat.

Now, the actual flow and structure of a proper discovery call is more indepth than I have time to talk about here in this podcast episode, and of course this is something that I teach all my clients and group participants inside my programs. But I’m hoping that just knowing the importance of having a structure for your calls will help you embrace the idea and begin to create your own flow. Or, of course, if this is something you want much more help from me on, then I encourage you to book a call with me, and let’s talk about whether I can help you. 


Okay, so let’s just recap those 5 big mistakes that coaches tend to make on their discovery calls, the key reasons why potential clients aren’t saying yes:

  1. Not believing in yourself and in what you’re offering.
  2. Coaching too much on the discovery call and trying to “fix” them.
  3. Not having an abundance mindset.
  4. Not going deep enough and getting to the truth.
  5. Not having structure for the call.

Now I would love to hear from you! Tag me on Instagram or Facebook, and let me know which one of those 5 mistakes you realize you’ve been making on your discovery calls, and what you’re going to do to change it on your very next discovery call.

Guess what? I am now enrolling for my group coaching program, Business Academy for Coaches!

If you would love to be coached and mentored by me, personally, inside a small group of likeminded women who are also building their coaching businesses, then I would love to have you inside the group. If you are craving a really high-vibe, supportive community, if you would love a framework and expert guidance and mentorship … if you’re done with trying to go it alone, and reinvent the wheel when it comes to growing a successful online coaching business, I invite you to check out the Academy. 

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