18 Best Discovery Call Questions to Establish Relationships

fundamentals Nov 15, 2022
Sales rep asking sales discovery questions

What Is a Discovery Call?

A discovery call is the first interaction you have with a potential customer after they express interest in your goods or services. This conversation will establish rapport while revealing the prospect's goals and pain spots. The questions posed during the discovery call will ultimately decide whether or not to move the prospect further in the sales process, depending on if they are a good fit.

The discovery call is frequently the most crucial stage of the sales and buying process. It establishes the tone for the entire interaction, both before and after the sale. You'll either be forced to play catch-up or be able to build an authentic relationship.

You could find that deals that you assumed would be very conventional have turned out to be excessively complex since you didn’t conduct thorough due diligence.

A sales discovery call is the first call a salesperson places to get to know a prospect. As it establishes the foundation for the entire relationship with a potential buyer—both before and after the close—it is arguably the most crucial step in the sales process.

The sales discovery call has two objectives.

Selling to qualified prospects requires understanding their needs, pain areas, and purchasing power inside a company.

More significantly, a sales discovery call is about forging relationships of trust with prospects and presenting oneself as a knowledgeable advisor who can offer a creative potential solution to their problems.

As a seller, you are responsible for ensuring that the prospect understands who you are, what you do, and how you can help them.

Even though you might think that preparing for a discovery call only entails looking at a LinkedIn profile and coming up with a few sales discovery questions to ask during a sales call, effective discovery calling is a multistage process.

The primary purpose of the discovery call is to assess the compatibility between you and your prospective buyer. It's simply a conversation to learn about your customers' problems, objectives, and priorities so you can sell to them successfully.

A successful call is the most crucial discussion in the entire sales process because it controls the flow of your deal and how the rest of the sales process plays out. It encourages more deals and moves along the purchase process. The purchasing process is what you’ll be leading your potential customer through. You'll establish an authoritative rapport with your prospect if you do it properly. If you approach it correctly, your prospect will accept you and choose the next choice.

Why Are Sales Discovery Calls Important?

On the call, you need to take a genuinely consultative approach to check boxes. Maybe you'll learn about the use case of your prospect and call the discovery process over, but that's only a tiny part of the picture. You must keep going until you identify your consumer’s main issue and their pain point. You must also comprehend how that difficulty affects their aspirations, team objectives, and business.

You may more successfully take a prospect through the sales cycle while establishing trust if you delve deeper and learn about their actual, individual motives. Show your client that you’re a decision maker that will walk them through their buyer’s journey through the buying process. This will require asking many sales discovery questions to dig deeper, which we’ll be covering.

Sales professionals must make discovery calls to fully comprehend a prospect's condition. Fortunately, most prospects are open to taking part in one of these calls as long as it doesn't feel like an interrogation.

These advantages of the discovery call are listed below.

Prospects will better understand your business and product.

After the discovery call, prospects will know who you are and what your business is all about. They might ask specific questions regarding a word or a feature of a product, giving you the chance to gauge and pique their curiosity.

Reliable product knowledge is essential for successfully interacting with prospects during the discovery call.

You will have a chance to show you’re invested in their success.

Prospects will be reassured that you understand their problem and that you will conduct a thorough analysis to evaluate whether or not you can help them if you conduct the conversation correctly. By doing this, you'll be able to convince them that you care about more than simply their money.

Verify any details that have already been recorded about the prospect in the sales software used by your company. Check your CRM or lead management platform to make sure you are familiar with the prospect's industry.

You can gauge your chances of winning their business.

The discovery call will provide you the chance to qualify your prospect and find out more about their business pain, influence within the company, willingness to promote your product, and initial thoughts about choosing your solution over one from a competitor. To do this, utilize a sales qualification framework like BANT (Budget Authority Need Timeline).

The list of advantages is endless, so let's jump right in. We’ve provided a list of my go-to discovery queries below. Every call won't allow you to answer every question, and it may not even be necessary.

They are all open-ended questions, as you will see. This is so that you may elicit more information from the prospect than a simple "yes" or "no" response. Use the following inquiries to assess your prospects and disqualify them at any time if it becomes evident that they are not a good fit.

Sales Discovery Call Questions

You can determine whether a prospect is a suitable fit for your product or service by asking them sales discovery questions. These should be open-ended inquiries that concentrate on the prospect's biggest challenges, procedures, and objectives concerning the good or service you are providing.

Within the process, the following sales discovery questions can be divided into four subsections: setting the stage, qualifying the prospect, disqualifying the prospect, and determining the next step. Let's look more closely.

Each of the inquiries will be matched with the relevant stage of the sales discovery process.


What outcome are you looking to achieve?

This is probably the most important question out of the sales discovery questions that you’ll be asking. This is a simple inquiry that can help you learn more about your prospect's reasons for looking into your product, regardless of whether you're working with an inbound or outbound lead. The beginning of the conversation, it's a polite way to find out about your prospect's difficulties.

Some customers might even provide you with in-depth responses that let you go on to more difficult inquiries. Here is an example of a response I received:

Our CRO has asked me to assess several vendors who can assist us become more effective at turning website traffic into qualified chances because our sales pipeline is thin for the upcoming quarter. By the end of this month, we hope to decide on a live chat product.

What are your stakeholders looking to achieve?

Lead qualification and disqualification are equally crucial. Not every prospect will be a suitable fit for our product, thus, to meet our quota, we must prioritize our pipeline and concentrate on those prospects.

This query determines whether a prospect is a good fit for our offering. For example, if a prospect is merely "browsing" the newest tools available, they are unlikely to advance in the sales process, and even if they do, they will be drawn out. Learning to walk away from a business arrangement is always a smart idea.

How is it going to be measured (financial, customer-related, operational)?

People purchase software to solve problems, but for your current solution to be convincing, they must be aware of the metric they hope to affect.

Say your prospect replies, "We evaluate our 10 sales representatives based on monthly income. They currently have a monthly quota of 70K, and our lead conversion rate is 5%. We can generate an extra $5K in revenue per representative each month if we raise our conversion rate to 8%.

One of the most crucial discovery inquiries is this one since it reveals the prospect's level of commitment to finding a solution. If the offer begins to stagnate, you might exploit their response to create urgency. You can go to the facts once more and emphasize how each month they wait will cost them $50,000 in missed sales.


What inspired you to look for a solution like ours?

Although the inquiry appears to be intended to identify competitors, the likely response you are looking for has nothing to do with competitors. You should instead make it clear whether they have a different approach to fixing their issue. Show them that you know their pain points and can help them through it. You'll be able to comprehend, reject, and express the advantages of these alternatives as well as how to make your answer "the most valuable" once you've unlocked them.

Was there a compelling event? Is this associated with a corporate initiative?

This inquiry becomes a little more precise at this point. Even though we're still leaving it open-ended, you're steering them toward a particular sector of the company. This is a yes-or-no question, but it will make the prospect reflect more carefully on their difficulties.

Burning Issues

Are there specific problems you’re seeking to address?

To find areas of friction or pain, it's crucial to ask this question again. Even if a prospect is aware of their issue, you won't be able to pinpoint the cause of the issue as something you can eradicate if you don't know why they are experiencing it. The secret to crafting a persuasive sales pitch is understanding the root of the issue.

Have you considered what the source of the problem might be?

It's intentional for this question to seem ambiguous if it does so. You won't force the customer to give you a specific response. Allowing them to discuss any issues they may be having will allow you to learn more about their company's difficulties on a more general level.

What is the impact if you decide to do nothing?

Use this inquiry to ascertain, in a new way, how urgently they require the product to address their problems. They are unquestionably a good-fit candidate if they admit that they don't have a plan in place or that they can't think of another approach to solve the issue.


Are there specific requirements you’re seeking to address?

Knowing the obstacles your potential customer overcame to solve the issue can help you predict the obstacles they are now encountering (or could potentially face in the future). For instance, you'll know to concentrate on it as a qualifying feature if the prospect mentions budget as a concern.

Have you considered what the ideal solution might look like?

Knowing the obstacles and prospect’s pain points your potential customer overcame to solve the issue can help you predict the obstacles they are now encountering (or could potentially face in the future). For instance, you'll know to concentrate on it as a qualifying feature if the prospect mentions budget as a concern.


What would a successful outcome look like?

You can learn about their definition of success here. Is it plausible? Can your product assist them in achieving it? Without passing judgment, pay attention to what they are saying while keeping an eye out for how you may help.

How does that affect you directly?

Your salespeople's first opportunity to improve the buyer experience is during the discovery call. If they do it well, sales representatives will discover the buyer's primary drivers and be in a position to show how they can address their most pressing issues.


May I ask about your role? What are your primary responsibilities?

This is a more relaxed, low-pressure manner to start learning more about the person (not the company). There is no need to get technical, and the best part is that they will be eager to share.

Are there specific capabilities you know you’re looking for in the solution you decide to deploy?

You could also provide a timeline with this query: Describe your objectives for the upcoming month, quarter, or year. Determine a schedule based on how your product will be used. For instance, you may ask about yearly goals rather than monthly goals if you sell an enterprise-level solution that requires six months to set up.


Have you attempted to address this in the past? What went wrong?

To gain a competitive advantage, it will be important to know what your prospect has attempted in the past. Even if the prospect does not specifically mention the competition, you should be ready to distinguish your product from theirs.

Do you have any history with our solution or a solution like ours?

Take the time to comprehend the processes necessary to bring about the answer before engaging in a commercial contract and disclosing the hows. This will provide you with a timeline for when your prospect will accept your current solution.


Why is it a priority today?

If your prospect answered the previous question by naturally stating why it's important, you might be able to omit this one. However, knowing the precise reason why something is important can help you determine how urgent your prospect views this issue.

How might this solution make your life better?

The prospect may not have any questions for you, or they may need more materials and documentation. In either case, you want to give them a chance to suggest how you can simplify the procedure. Find out how your life will get better as a result of this.


Who else will be involved in the decision-making process?

Knowing whether your prospect is a gatekeeper, influencer, or decision marker depends on the answer to this crucial question. You'll indirectly learn how involved the decision-making process is as well.

Is there anyone internally whom you’re trying to convince of this idea?

Who else is your potential customer thinking about buying from? This inquiry will reveal that without coming across as whiny or defensive.


In your “perfect world,” when would you like to see this implemented?

This can help you determine whether the timelines for implementing your product and those of your prospects are compatible. They may not be a good fit if your timelines don’t align, which is why it’s an important sales discovery question to ask.

Is there anything about your procurement process I should be aware of?

This is a more relaxed, low-pressure way to start learning more about the employee (not the company). There is no need to get technical, and the best part is that they will be eager to share. It helps to build rapport and provides natural conversation. It also allows you to dig deeper and follow the buyer’s journey.

Discovery Call Template

1. Research your prospect’s business ahead of time.

Take the time to learn as much as you can about your prospect's industry. Understand their goals, difficulties, and industry. Examine their previous interactions with your business. Have they downloaded any resources? That will give you a clue as to what they want and need.

Continue your research until you believe you are more knowledgeable about your prospect's industry than they are.

2. Create an agenda and send it to your prospect.

This advice is crucial. Don't forget to plan the sales meeting's agenda. Because you're still early in the sales process, discovery calls appear to have lesser stakes than other sales calls. This is untrue. The most important calls are the discovery ones since they decide how the deal will go.

You don't want the conversation to veer off-topic or for the contract to fall through right away. To make sure you're covering everything your prospect wants to discuss, send them an agenda and offer them a chance to add extra topics if required.

3. Set a time and date that works for both of you.

Establish a time and date that are convenient for both parties when you send the agenda. Inquire how much time your potential customer will have. It's crucial to consider whether they'd rather meet for 30 minutes as opposed to an hour.

You might even be able to conduct a product demo during the discovery call, depending on how flexible they are. Be cautious while using this strategy since if you demo the product too soon, you can neglect to concentrate on the demands and difficulties of the prospects.

4. Open the call conversationally.

Next, start a conversation when you're on the phone. Ask them about their day, their week, or their holiday activities. Be sure to maintain a conversational tone as you go with the next few steps. This is an opportunity to get to know each other better; it is not an interview.

5. Set the stage.

Time to establish the scene by asking the sales discovery questions that we went over previously. If they mention their measurements of success while describing their day-to-day work, you can skip the final question.

6. Qualify the prospect.

You've probably received a good notion of whether your product can help just from the previous questions. Keep the conversational style in mind. These inquiries need to come naturally.

7.  Ask disqualifying questions.

Disqualifying a potential is just as crucial as qualifying one. You won't squander time that way. Feel free to adopt a less casual and more authoritative tone in this situation. Effectively use the sales discovery questions provided to help you out in this process.

8.  Establish the next steps.

Establish your next steps last. The necessary steps the prospect (or you) need to take to advance the deal should be clear to both parties. Find ways to make moving forward easier for both parties.

Download a sample Discovery Call Worksheet here:  FREE RESOURCES

Discovery Call Tips

Prioritize qualification over process-based questions.

A lack of a business strategy is a barrier to a sale, not a legal or procurement process. Once the major issues have been resolved, such as setting goals and discussing alternative strategies to reach them, you can get down to the agreement’s specifics.

Keep asking questions until you fully understand your prospect.

A discovery call should either unequivocally dismiss a prospect or expose a sales opportunity. After each call, you should grasp the problems your competitor is trying to address and how you might assist.

Add value in small and subtle ways.

Always give real value to the discovery call by offering some suggestions or a straightforward potential solution. If you leave the prospect with a good impression, they are more likely to get in touch with you once they are sales-ready.

A great discovery call isn’t complete without its sales discovery questions. Hopefully, through this article, you can make more deals through a strong discovery process. Use this valuable information to produce the desired outcome for your prospects and improve your skills in sales discovery.