Booking 1:1 calls

Getting on the phone with potential students is one of the highest ROI activities

Chelsea Wilson avatar
Written by Chelsea Wilson
Updated over a week ago


  • Getting students on the phone is the #1 way to learn what they want. You'll get insights that will help you build the course they want to take.

  • Include your number or Calendly link in your automated emails.

  • During the call, ask the prospective student about the challenges they face and offer insights/advice.

Benefits of the 1:1 call

One of the best ways to learn about your students and gain insights about what they want from your course is to get them on a 1:1 call. You might be thinking, “But is that scalable?” It doesn’t matter because, at the start, you just need to get butts in seats. You want to do things that aren’t scalable because it will help you stand out and will help you gain an invaluable understanding of your target students. Just like with any new product, you have to understand your customers (your students) to build the right thing for them.

Here is a case study: Wes Kao, cofounder of Maven, did exactly this in the early days of the altMBA, the four-week cohort-based course she created with bestselling author Seth Godin. For the first two years, she hopped on calls with prospective students every week, and included her cell number in emails that went to tens of thousands of subscribers. Doing this helped them build a program students were excited to enroll in and fueled their growth to thousands of alumni.

Not every prospective student will want to hop on a call, so be generous when sharing your calendar. If you get bombarded with requests, that’s a great sign of demand for your course! We recommend blocking off 2-3 hours/week to meet with prospective students. Remember, if you have a $500 course and you convert 3 students in an hour, you’ve just made $1500. The ROI is excellent.

So, how do you get students on the phone? What should you say, and how do you follow up?

Here's the step-by-step:

  • Offer your cell number or Calendly link in your "Joined waitlist" email campaign (under the "Automations" tab).

  • On the call, listen to their challenges and give insightful, non-obvious advice. Share that these are topics you go into in more depth in your course.

  • Follow up with a personalized text or email thanking them for their time and inviting them to enroll in your course once it's open.

What to say on a call

Listen to their challenges, offer guidance, and mention how your frameworks can help them. Your prospective student should leave the call feeling pumped that they got valuable advice in 15 min.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • “Where are you based? I’m in [share where you’re based].”

  • “What got you excited about this course?” [Take what they say here and build on it]

  • “What challenges are you looking to tackle?”

  • “What have you tried in the past to solve this problem?”

  • “If you were to join, what’s the one thing you’d want to get out of it?”

This is 50% of the questions you might ask as conversation starters. The other 50% is about using the prospective students’ answers to move the conversation forward.

How to follow up after the call

Your prospective student will be most energized immediately after the call. You should capitalize on that by sending a personalized text or email. Thank them for their time and consider offering a custom discount they can apply when the course is open for enrollment. Once your cohort is open for enrollment, but sure to let them know they can join!

Template copy:

Hey [first name], I loved meeting you on our call. Let me know if my tips on [topic] were helpful. I mentioned briefly that I’m creating a cohort-based course on [topic] starting on [date]. You’d be an amazing addition to the cohort. I have a few people signed on dealing with the same issue. Here’s the sign-up link: [insert course link with discount]. If you have any questions, just text me.

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