Red Cheeks & Red Alerts – What To Do When You Screw Up A Discovery Session

A Discovery Session screw up is bound to happen at some point, we are only human after all, but what is the best way to deal with it? Find out here!

A Discovery Session screw up is bound to happen at some point, we are only human after all, but what is the best way to deal with it? Find out here!


Discovery Sessions — a.k.a. complimentary consults, sales conversations, enrollment conversations, or whatever you prefer to call them — are one of my favourite parts of the sales process.


They’re my chance to connect with a potential client live on Skype or in person, learn all about them, and find out if we’re a great fit to work together.


When it feels like a match made in heaven, Discovery Sessions are the time I’ll make an offer to work with that prospective client through a program, a 1-1 package, or a course — and nothing feels better than that instant “Yes, I’m in. Let’s do it!” when it happens!


When a Discovery Session goes right they are so much fun… However – from time to time things can, of course, go extremely wrong.


In fact, I know a lot of coaches who still find the idea of Discovery Sessions incredibly confronting… because they feel pressure to 1) perform, and 2) make the sale.


I get it! Talking face-to-face with a potential client you really want to work with can feel stressful. You worry what would happen if you totally stuff up, how embarrassing that would be, what it means for your business, for your revenue this month, and Oh my God, your whole life would be over, etc.


Pressure like that can make even the best of us choke.  My recommendation to combat this fear?  A clear, step by step, plan in place about what you’ll do IF you actually do happen to screw up badly.


Lady, I’m not saying you’ll screw up every time! Rather, having a game plan in place jusssst in case things do go south can do wonders for your peace of mind, confidence, and focus when you’re on a Discovery call.


Knowing that you’ll be OK no matter what can turn that confronting fear into a bullet-proof “I’ve totally got this” type of energy.


Here’s the step by step plan I have ready to go (just in case, you understand…) for those times I fuck up a Discovery Session horribly.   Feel free to use it as your own.  Let’s dive in:


The first part of the plan: Accept that I will screw up at some point.


Everyone does, it’s part of life.


I’ve screwed up a billion times at least. I’ve had wildly embarrassing moments in Discovery Session conversations. I’ve lost my notes. I’ve been horribly late. I’ve said the wrong thing. I’ve accidentally called people the WRONG NAME.  I’ve been accidentally offensive. I’ve had wardrobe malfunctions.  It happens!


Do your best to get comfortable with the idea that, at some point, you’re going to make mistakes – but not to worry because so will everyone else. There will always be awkward, bad, embarrassing, accidental moments, because we’re all human.


Got it? Let’s move along.


The second part of the plan: Keep it in perspective.


This conversation that I’ve potentially just screwed up really, really badly is just one conversation out of hundreds, probably thousands that I’ll have across the life of my business. When I consider it from that bird’s eye view — that this is just one conversation out of potentially thousands — my perspective shifts and it starts to matter less.


Just screwed up badly? This isn’t the only time that you’ll be talking with a potential client. If you really wanted to, you could have 10 more, 20 more of these conversations lined up in the next week. Don’t forget that!


The third part of the plan: Know that every conversation is a learning experience.


This even applies to non-Discovery Sessions. Anytime I am connecting or working with a client, there is something for me to learn and add to my knowledge toolkit.  This learning process also includes (especially includes) the conversations I stuff up completely.


So, if you wish a big hole would open up and suck you in after a client call? Congratulations! You’ve just had a great learning experience. That’s something to be really excited about and really appreciative of.


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The fourth part of the plan: Take stock.


Even if it’s uncomfortable to rehash the experience I just had, I’ve learnt it’s vital I take stock of whatever unfolded. I allocate 15 minutes to run through the Discovery Session in my mind. I’ll ask ‘What went right? What went wrong?’, reflect on and journal my responses.


This is an important step because self-reflection – especially in those hard, uncomfortable times – will ultimately make you a powerful coach and professional.


The fifth step: Come up with three actionable lessons for the next Discovery Session.


I like to, as soon as possible after my stuff up, challenge myself to come up with at least three actionable lessons from the Session.  I’m all about mining that shitty experience for the gold!


Once you find three actionable lessons you can apply for your next Discovery Session, be sure to integrate it into any templates or checklists you use for your Discovery Sessions asap.


BTW if you’re worried you won’t find the lessons, don’t be.  Experience tells me they’ll present themselves almost the moment you start intentionally looking for them.


The sixth (and final) step: Book your next Discovery Session THAT DAY.


One of the most dangerous things about stuffing up really badly is that we can get really embarrassed, or become really self-conscious, or feel a lot of self-doubt, and we let the experience stop our business-building momentum. That’s when we let ourselves down on a much greater scale.  DO NOT let this happen to you.  No matter what happened, don’t let one bad Discovery Session keep you from your dreams.  Lady, you must get back on the horse immediately.


Stuffed up badly?  Book in your next Discovery Session immediately.



I hope you found this post – and my ‘Discovery Session Disaster Recovery Plan’ – helpful.  

I can’t emphasise enough: everyone stuffs up.  Sometimes very, very badly.  It’s what you do next that really counts.


Kate xo
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About Kate

Through her passion-fuelled coaching, consulting and writing, Dr Kate Byrne helps women coaches and consultants intentionally engineer success so they can shine neon bright in business. She is an advocate for being all in, charging what you’re really worth and premium pricing.

Connect with Kate now at Betty Means Business, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.