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What Makes a Good Discovery Call? Questions and Insights

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June 13th, 2023

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What makes a good discovery call?

As one of the most important initial stages in the sales process, the discovery call sets the tone for the entire relationship you build with your customer. It’s crucial to build rapport, learn about your target audience, and collect information you can use in your sales pitch.

Unfortunately, the sales discovery process can be challenging to master. Picking up the phone and connecting with a prospect or lead for the first time can be daunting. Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’ve gathered insights from top sales experts worldwide to ensure your discovery calls succeed. 

What is a Discovery Call? And Why are They Important?

A discovery call is typically the first conversation a company or sales team has with a prospect after they show interest in their offering. During the “sales discovery” process, these calls give you an opportunity to qualify leads and explain the benefits of your product or service. 

Crucially, discovery calls also provide an opportunity to learn more about prospect needs and goals. This information will be essential later on when you’re developing a personalized sales pitch. 

Learning how to cultivate a good discovery call ensures you have the tools to connect emotionally with your audience and start building rapport. With this initial discussion, you can:

  • Qualify leads: Discovery call questions help to identify whether a lead is a good fit for your business. This helps you to avoid wasting time on pitching your products or services to customers who don’t fit your customer persona. 
  • Inform customers: During a discovery call, you can provide insights into your product or service, building trust with useful insights and highlighting the core benefits of what you offer. This helps to accelerate the decision-making process for the customer.
  • Build relationships: Discovery calls also help you to build the foundations of strong relationships with leads. You can demonstrate interest in their pain points and goals and tailor future sales conversations to their specific requirements.

What Makes a Good Discovery Call? Key Components

So, what transforms an average discovery call into one that helps you close more deals? While you’ll learn more about the strategies that work for your business over time, there are four steps you can follow to boost the quality of any discovery-focused conversation:

Step 1: Research

Optimizing the success of your discovery call starts long before you start dialing any numbers. A discovery call is your chance to make a lasting first impression on your prospects. The best way to do this is to ensure you understand the company you’re connecting with.

Research:

  • The business: Learn as much as you can about the company using tools like Crunchbase, market insights, and even the brand’s website. Get a feel for the company structure, its goals, missions, and values, as well as any challenges it might face.
  • The contact: Gather information about the specific person you’re going to be talking to. Make sure you know their job title, their interests, and where they’re located. 
  • The offer: Ensure you have as much information as possible about the product or service you’re going to be pitching. What benefits does the solution offer, and how do they relate to the needs of the company?

Step 2: Set The Agenda

Prepping for your call with an agenda helps to ensure you can cover all of the critical points you want to get across and collect the right information from your lead. During the first few minutes of the call, focus on introducing yourself and the company you work with. 

Share the goals of the meeting, and highlight what you’re going to be talking about in advance. This manages expectations and can prevent conversations from going astray.

Step 3: Let them Talk

Data suggests that top-performing sales reps only talk about 50% of the time during a discovery call. As keen as you may be to share the benefits of your solution, make sure you’re not the only one speaking. Ask open-ended discovery call questions to give your customers more opportunities to explain their goals and pain points.

Validate their concerns with empathetic feedback and language, and don’t be afraid to experiment with small talk and humor to build rapport. The more your customer chats with you during a discovery call, the more valuable info you’ll have to take away.

Step 4: Finish on a Positive Note

A discovery call should end with both parties feeling excited to continue the relationship and follow up later. Summarize the prospects’ pain points to show you understand their challenges, and highlight how you can offer solutions that will help. 

If your prospect seems interested, schedule a follow-up call before you end the conversation, and make sure you make a note in your calendar. 

Exceptional Discovery Call Questions for Building Rapport

The right discovery call questions can make or break the success of your conversation. Remember, the purpose of this call is to qualify your leads, discover pain points, and begin introducing solutions. While you can start by asking for some basic info about the company and contact, you can streamline your call by researching this information beforehand.

The most important types of questions you’ll need to focus on are:

Qualification questions

Qualification questions are the queries you use to determine whether a prospect or lead is a good fit for your company or solution. Don’t spend too long asking questions here; instead, focus on collecting the key information that will help you to validate each lead. 

Good qualification questions can include:

  • What is your process for [X]?
  • Why do you do [x] in this way?
  • Is there a budget in place for [X]? 
  • How much of an impact does [X] have on your business?
  • What are your goals with [X]?
  • What are your roadblocks to reaching these goals?

Questions for uncovering pain points

Once you’ve validated your lead, the next step is to start searching for opportunities where you can demonstrate value. This means identifying the pain points your customer has, so you can explain how your solutions, products, or services will fix them. 

Excellent questions for uncovering pain points include:

  • How satisfied are you with your current solution?
  • What’s the biggest problem you face with [X]?
  • What’s at stake for your company if you don’t solve this problem?
  • What has prevented you from seeking a solution so far?
  • Which goals have you failed to achieve with [X]?

Questions to amplify pain

Otherwise known as “implication questions,” queries that amplify pain in a discovery call are designed to draw attention to the significance of the problem. They provide you with an insight into how serious your lead is about finding a solution. They can also make your customers feel more excited about using your product or service. 

Good pain amplification questions include:

  • How much money are you wasting on [X]?
  • How is [X] impacting the performance of your business?
  • How many opportunities have you missed because of [X]?
  • What is [X] preventing you from accomplishing?
  • You can also follow up questions that highlight the benefits of seeking a solution, such as:
  • How much money would you save if [X] wasn’t an issue?
  • What would it mean to you personally to resolve this problem?
  • What could you achieve with a better service/product?

Questions to Drive Action

Finally, it’s time to start asking discovery call questions to push customers to the next stage in the purchasing process. You can ask a few more questions at this stage that will help you to schedule a more effective next meeting. However, the focus should be on encouraging action.

Consider questions such as:

  • Who should be involved in the next step of your decision?
  • Would you be willing to try a product demo before our next call?
  • If I could help you accomplish [X] would you be keen to talk further?
  • Based on your situation, I’d recommend [X]; when can we talk about this?
  • What do I need to do to help you take the next step?
  • When is the best time to talk to you about fixing [X]?

Crafting the Best Discovery Call Process

Few things are more important in building rapport with your clients, qualifying leads, and paving the way for stronger sales than the discovery call. Making sure you do your research, plan for an excellent conversation, and ask the right questions is essential. 

Fortunately, once you’ve established an effective process for your discovery-focused sales calls, you should immediately begin seeing results. Once you master sales discovery, the rest of the sales process becomes a lot simpler too. 

Want to get better at your discovery calls? Sign up to be coached by some of the best in the industry! 

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