What is a Discovery Call: definition, pre-call preparation steps, and sales discovery questions

Congratulations! After days of research and sales outreach, you’ve finally managed to schedule a call with your lead. What’s next? Putting all the excitement aside, you realize the importance of this first step, as it sets the stage for your potential deal and outlines your overall perspectives. 

The discovery call is your one-time chance to share your business’ value with a prospect. You are walking on thin ice. Such an attempt might lead to either a successfully established rapport or a total relationship breakup. 

To navigate all the hidden pitfalls of discovery calls and leave a strong positive impression on your prospects, let’s take a closer look at what it is. 

What is a discovery call? 

To put it in a nutshell, the definition of a discovery call states as follows: it’s your first interaction with a lead after they showed interest in your products or services. 

It helps salespeople identify whether their prospect meets their ideal customer profile or is a time-waster. Discovery calls come in handy for filtering out all the unnecessary contacts. Indeed, statistically, almost 50% of leads in your contact list are likely to be good for nothing. 

What is a discovery? It refers to a better understanding of notions and processes. When applied to sales, discovering means acquiring a deeper understanding of your lead, their business, and their particular needs. 

Resort to a discovery call, ask your prospect specific questions, and learn their pain points and whether your products and services can make any difference for their business. 

However, any written or verbal communication is an art worth mastering, and discovery calls are no exception. Don’t worry if you are a newbie in the field. It doesn’t come to you in one day, but with proper guidance and tips, you’ll nail it! 

Let’s have a little overview of what can be done to make your discovery calls friendly yet straightforward and effective. Save this roadmap with pre-call preparation steps and a ready-made list of sales discovery questions to bring your discovery calls to a brand-new level. 

4 steps to nail your discovery call

Even though a typical discovery call mainly implies 1:1 interaction, many of the successfully closed deals have been made upon prospects inviting their team members to the introductory meeting. So take advantage of this extra opportunity!

1. Prep up for your discovery call 

Proper pre-call preparation is half the battle! To run a successful meeting, focus on its two key constituents — research and relevance. Make enough time for both of them, namely: 

  • Learn more about your lead via available online resources containing business information on private and public companies and skim through your lead’s About US page, blog, and related social media to have a grasp of the company’s organizational structure, long-term goals, and decision-makers. 
  • Pay close attention to your lead’s activity on social media to establish a common ground. You may have mutual contacts on LinkedIn or have visited the same conference back in the day. Check on previous contacts you might have had with your lead (conversations, mailing). Anything will do to build trust. 
  • Try to figure out your lead’s personality type so that you can effectively approach them when executing your discovery call. There are several Chrome plugins you can download that can be integrated into your LinkedIn page to learn more about your lead’s communication style. For instance, you can create easy-to-use LinkedIn polls to ask your audience about something or find groups of people who are ready to support your content with likes and comments.

2. Draft your discovery call plan 

Your next step includes structuring all the information collected throughout your research process to create a clear discovery call agenda. Take it as a script for your future meeting and divide it into sections you’ll use as prompts with relevant information for your lead. It doesn’t have to be a tedious long-read. Keep it short and simple yet comprehensive enough to set the right expectations. 

  • Introduction. Tell your lead who you are and explain your role in the company and your product’s value proposition within the very first 20-30 seconds. And don’t forget to smile! An honest smile is an ice-breaker. 
  • Expectations. Share the intended purpose of your call, how it will unfold, and name some of the key points of the meeting.
  • Discovery. Get to know the lead’s needs and goals following a list of questions you’ve prepared. Ask about their ongoing projects and targets, their assigned budget, and the challenges they are currently facing. 
  • Solution. Based on the answers you get, you can immediately understand whether your lead qualifies for your services. If it’s the case, you can start soft-selling your solution, answering FAQs, dealing with objections, and showcasing your success stories. 
  • Further steps. End your discovery call with a mutual understanding of your following actions. If you and your lead are on the same page, you can schedule another call to discuss specific areas of your collaboration. 
Draft your discovery call plan 
Source: Sales Hacker

3. Become a better listener 

Apart from providing your lead with relevant information, bring value by listening more and talking less. The recommended talk-listen ratio for an easy-to-perceive discovery call is 50:50. However, statistically, sales reps talk more than 70% of the time, which might not be welcomed by all the customers. Hence, by all means, try to work on your active listening skills. 

A more viable option is to switch the talk-listen ratio to at least 40:60. Okay, if you are that much of a talker, try not to talk for more than 60% of the total discovery call. And if you notice you got too carried away with the conversation,  apply the “Why Am I Talking” approach and get back to the gist. 

Become a better listener 
 Source: Avoma
  • Appreciate your lead´s response. Be attentive to your lead, empathize with them, encourage them to open up, validate their reactions, and offer your perspective on what’s just been said. All of this facilitates your communication as people WANT and LIKE to be heard. 
  • Ask open-ended questions. Do not leave your lead in a dead corner of a “yes” or “no” response. Let them talk, explain, prove, and share. Instead of asking whether they like their current product or service, ask them what they would like to improve. 
  • Let your conversation flow. Do not be too robotic, bombarding your lead with questions! Take your time and let your conversation unfold naturally and calmly. 

4. Exude positivity as you sign off

As you sign off, make sure your prospect has a good impression of your company. Regardless of whether they will use your solution this time, they might recall you immediately when the right opportunity comes or recommend you to someone who really needs your product. Let them know how much you enjoyed the conversation and that you are eager to help any time later.

  • Emphasize the value of your product. Use positive reinforcement; motivate your lead to opt for your product by sharing success stories of other businesses already benefiting from it. Let them visualize their own success with your product. 
  • Name all the challenges your lead is facing for the time being. By summarizing all the pain points you’ve heard during the discovery call, you make your lead feel understood. Mention approaches your company can apply to troubleshoot some of the challenges mentioned during the conversation. 
  • Follow up. Last but not least, if you feel like your prospect is interested enough to proceed with a more detailed explanation of your services for their particular needs, set a follow-up sales call before you say your goodbyes. 

Sales discovery questions to ask 

While trying to bond with your lead, pay attention to the things that set you apart. By analyzing them, you’ll conclude that this lead is not worth your time and effort. Cut off bad leads by asking the following critical questions:

  1. What are their business goals as of now? 

A common occurrence is that sometimes your product cannot tackle your lead’s problems. By asking this question, you will figure this out right away!

  1. What makes it difficult for the lead to see the value of your product? 

Your lead might have had a bad experience with a similar product. Ask them what was wrong and try to explain the difference between the two, pointing to the benefits of your product. Say they used a user-unfriendly CRM system before. In this case, work with all the objections by guiding them through the user-friendliness of your CRM. 

  1. What is your lead’s loss when not getting your product? 

Try to explain all the drawbacks of not using your product. The way your leads respond to that will give you an idea of whether they need your solution urgently or not. 

  1. Who is in charge of approving new solutions at their company? 

Try to find out whether your lead is the one who makes a decision or whether decisions are made collectively. This will help you with a further strategy target either a sole decision-maker or a group of them.

  1. What were the other products your lead used? 

This one is great for analyzing how many competitors and who, in particular, has already endorsed their services to the lead. Ask them how good the product was and pay attention to your competitors’ pros and cons to explain the benefits of your product compared to its counterparts. 

  1. Can your lead afford your services? 

Well, you definitely shouldn’t ask about the money right away; however, you need to gauge at least how much your lead is willing to spend and what their budget is to be compatible with your product’s price.

  1. What are your lead’s current concerns regarding your product? 

Let your lead express all the doubts they have about your product. Leads expressing doubts are more likely to set a follow-up call for you to get a chance to explain one more time why your product is better.  

  1. Is your lead willing to schedule another follow-up? 

Making the lead agree to schedule the next meeting is way easier during the call than through mailing. Suggest at least three time slots so that they can pick the most convenient time. 

Wrapping up 

Acing your discovery call is an essential first step to making a positive impression of your product, giving you higher chances of successful deal closure. Sometimes leads can go cold for unknown reasons; we’ve all been there! That’s why it’s crucial to constantly evaluate your current discovery call results and reflect on possible improvements. 

To get the best out of your discovery calls, practice recording them and making time to analyze past mistakes and loopholes. It could be anything that robbed you of nailing your deal, from over-talking to missing out on key points mentioned by the prospect. Give it a thought!

Make sure you avoid all of these pitfalls in your next discovery call. Benefit from the well-structured selling question sequences to better understand your prospect’s pain points. 

May some of our recommendations and sales questions help you build a better rapport with your prospects and boost your conversions!

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