What is a Discovery Call in sales: definition, stages, questions

A sales discovery call is the first call sales reps make after connecting with a potential customer. It’s a crucial step in B2B prospecting because it determines your further stages of the sales process. 

Discovery call benefits are the following:

  1. It sets the relationship between a salesperson and a prospect
  2. It’s an essential element of lead qualification. A discovery call helps determine whether a prospect fits your ideal customer profile and has a high chance of becoming your customer.
  3. It makes an opportunity for bringing value. That’s what prospects appreciate most of all: in fact, 65% of B2B clients find value in discussions with sales representatives.

SPIN model of sales discovery call questions

Every discovery call is based on the SPIN selling model. It allows salespeople to understand what questions they should be asking to create effective communication.

The SPIN abbreviation break downs into the following elements:

  • Situation. Sales professionals ask questions to uncover the background behind the solution the prospect’s company is currently using. 
  • Problem. Sales reps ask open questions to unearth the prospect’s needs and pain points
  • Implication. Salespeople ask implication questions to make a potential buyer realize the importance of the problem at hand, without explicitly telling it to them.
  • Need payoff. These discovery call questions are bound to highlight what the prospect may gain by choosing the solution that sales professionals offer.
SPIN selling
Source: Hubspot

How to do a discovery call based on the SPIN model

Every discovery call is a step-by-step process that consists of several stages:

1. Research

Before you call a prospect, you should be well-prepared. Do research about a person you are going to communicate with. For example, you may look at their LinkedIn profile to find out more about their company, position, and interests. 

A good rule of thumb is to do research in such a way so that, during a call, you won’t ask for information you could’ve found yourself. This is important for building trust, as you’ll show the prospect that you’ve taken the time to study the data about their business thoroughly.

2. Qualification

This stage marks the beginning of the discovery call. At this step, you should ask your prospect qualifying questions, which will help you identify their company and personal goals.

Say, if you offer lead generation solutions as Snov.io does, you may ask your prospect discovery call questions about how they run the process of lead generation at the moment. For instance:

  1. How does your company generate leads?
  2. What makes you choose this way of lead generation?
  3. How much impact does your current lead generation solution have on your business?
  4. How much budget do you have assigned for your lead generation solution?
email finder

3. Identification of pain points

Very often, prospects don’t understand their pain points, so it’s a salesperson’s job to explain them during a discovery call. The best way to do this is to ask prospects open-ended critical questions, which will get them to arrive at their pain points on their own. Therefore, it will be easier for them to understand how your solution may add value. 

Here are questions to be used at this stage, which you may add to your discovery call template:

  • What’s the biggest challenge your company is facing now?
  • What may prevent you from achieving your goals?
  • If you have a problem with [your prospect’s current solution], will you be able to solve it?
  • How important is it to quickly solve the problematic issue with [your prospect’s current solution]?
Uncovering problems
Source: SalesLoft

Don’t forget that 69% of buyers prefer salespeople listening to their needs. So, be ready not just to ask, but listen to the prospect’s answers without interfering.  

4. Intensification of pain points

When you have identified your prospect’s pain points, you should intensify them to ensure your prospective buyer realizes how serious their challenges are. At this stage, critical questions in your discovery call template may be the following:

  • How many opportunities have you missed as a result of the [pain point]?
  • How much money are you wasting due to this problem?
  • How disappointing will it be if you don’t meet your goals this year?

5. Optimistic vision

Now you have got your prospect to understand their pain points and drawn their attention to the problem they encounter. It’s high time to create a positive picture of the future connected with trying your solution. Link the benefits of your offer with their goals. 

You can add the following need payoff questions to your discovery call script:

  • If you could [imply one of your product’s benefits], how would it change your company’s operations?
  • If you could [mention one of your product’s benefits], how closer would it bring your team to achieving your goals?
  • If you could [imply one of your product’s benefits], how much money could you spend on other important projects?

For example, if you offer a marketing automation solution, you may ask the following discovery question: “Provided you could automate your marketing efforts right now, how would it change your company’s operations?”

6. Next step recommendations

At the end of your discovery call, recommend your prospect to take the next step. For example, send them a follow-up email or offer to watch a product demo. You can add the following statement to your discovery call script: “Based on your story, I recommend [offer the next step].”

Besides, remember to thank the prospect for the time they have dedicated to you and tell them you will be willing to continue cooperation with them. 

To sum up, here is the checklist to map out your sales calls:

Discovery call checklist (SPIN selling)

Wrapping it up

A discovery call is a turning point in the buyer’s journey. It determines what your further steps in the sales process should be. To ensure its successful outcome, you should outline your discovery call strategy and research information about your prospect beforehand. 

Conducting your discovery call in accordance with the SPIN selling question sequences will allow you to unearth the prospect’s pain points. Then, you’ll gradually get them to understand how your product or service can solve their challenges. 

May the discovery call templates and a checklist provided above help you build rapport with your prospective customers and bring more conversions

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