The Complete Guide to Mastering Discovery Calls for Closing More Deals

Discovery calls are the key to unlocking sales success. Get these first pivotal conversations right, and you’re on the path to higher win rates, shorter sales cycles, and happier customers. Mess them up, and deals derail fast.

This comprehensive guide demystifies the art and science of mastering discovery calls to accelerate revenue. You’ll learn how to craft flawless calls that build instant rapport, uncover real needs, assess fit, and drive deals forward. Plus, discover the secrets top reps use to gain a discovery edge. The insights you’ll gain will elevate your discovery skills to new heights.

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What is a Discovery Call and Why is it Crucial?

A discovery call is the pivotal first conversation a sales rep has with a prospect after they’ve expressed initial interest. This exploratory call serves as an opportunity to dive deep into the prospect’s needs, goals, challenges, and buying process.

In many cases, the discovery call is the most critical and high-stakes step of the entire sales cycle. It sets the tone for the relationship and determines how everything else in the sales process unfolds. Done right, it allows you to establish an authoritative relationship with the buyer. Done wrong, and you’ll be stuck playing catch-up, struggling to move forward.

Definition of a Discovery Call

Simply put, a discovery call is a sales conversation focused on uncovering details about a prospect’s situation, determining if they’re a good fit, and advancing them to the next stage of the sales pipeline.

The aim is to ask strategic questions to reveal pain points, processes, and objectives. This intel can then be used to tailor solutions, inform follow-ups, and strengthen your pitch.

Discovery calls are focused on information gathering and rapport building, not pushing a product. Still, they represent a prime opportunity to begin positioning your offering as a solution.

Other key objectives include:

  • Learning about the prospect’s goals, challenges, and needs
  • Gauging buying readiness and authority
  • Identifying stakeholders and decision influencers
  • Understanding timelines and budget constraints
  • Discovering competitor solutions they use
  • Starting to build a relationship of authority and trust

The discovery call sets the trajectory for everything that follows during an engagement. Use it to establish yourself as a consultant focused on their success, not just a salesperson.

The Importance of Discovery Calls in Sales

Discovery is arguably the most critical process in sales. Consider that according to research by Gong analyzing over 35,000 sales calls, deals were 10x more likely to close when reps had a discovery conversation early on.

But why does the initial discovery call matter so much?

  • It builds trust and rapport. Taking time to understand a prospect’s needs shows you care about their business, not just making a sale. This establishes credibility and authority.
  • It reveals deal breakers. Discovery helps uncover any hard disqualifiers related to need, budget, timeline, etc. so you don’t waste time on dead-end deals.
  • It uncovers the prospect’s true situation. Discovery reveals specifics about pain points, processes, and goals that you can address in an informed pitch.
  • It advances the sales cycle. A good discovery call will progress the prospect to the next stage, whether that’s a demo, proposal, or stakeholder presentation.
  • It sets the trajectory of the deal. How you position yourself in discovery impacts the prospect’s whole perception. Done right, you establish a consultant relationship.

Simply put, taking the time upfront to understand a prospect’s needs always pays off in the long run. The discovery call is the first and best opportunity to build this understanding.

Benefits of an Effective Discovery Call

When executed well, an initial discovery call delivers numerous benefits:

  • Enhanced win rates. According to Sales Benchmark Index data, discovery calls increase win rates by almost 3x.
  • Shorter sales cycles. Prospects who feel understood are more likely to buy faster. Thorough discovery helps you gain stakeholder alignment quicker.
  • Higher deal sizes. Aligning your solution to the prospect’s situation allows you to identify upsell opportunities early on.
  • Better solutions. Discovery provides the insights you need to tailor solutions to each customer’s specific needs.
  • Improved resource allocation. Identification of bad fits early allows you to focus energy only on qualified, sales-ready prospects.
  • Strengthened competitive advantage. Deep knowledge of the prospect’s situation allows you to position against competitors.
  • Enhanced loyalty and retention. Buying from a seller who took time to understand needs leads to greater long-term satisfaction.
  • Rich sales insights. Discovery calls provide data to uncover flaws in positioning and fine-tune pitches.
  • Accelerated learning. Recording discovery calls allows both new and experienced reps to continuously improve approaches.

The value derived from an investment in mastering discovery can’t be overstated. Consistently nailing the discovery call will pay dividends across the entire customer lifecycle.

How to Structure Your Discovery Calls for Success

Executing a stellar discovery call doesn’t happen by accident. It requires careful planning and preparation combined with skillful execution.

Follow this step-by-step guide to structure your calls for maximum impact:

Research the Prospect Beforehand

The key to an efficient, high-value discovery call starts with research. Investing time beforehand uncovering details about the prospect and their company will pay off tremendously.

Aim to learn as much as possible about the prospect’s specific role, goals, and pain points. Here are some ways to conduct research:

  • Review LinkedIn profiles of the prospect and other team members to understand their background, interests, skills, and responsibilities. Look for shared connections.
  • Check the company’s website to learn about their products/services, leadership team, mission and values. Read press releases, blog posts, and resources.
  • Look for recent news articles about the company, product launches, acquisitions, etc. News often hints at goals, challenges, and initiatives.
  • Search for job postings to reveal skills and technologies the company uses or wants to implement. Look for common required qualifications.
  • Look up past conversations you or colleagues have had with this prospect or company. Previous deal history provides context.
  • Identify common pain points for companies in their industry. What challenges are their competitors likely facing?
  • Learn about the prospect’s role so you understand their goals and metrics of success. What do they care most about?

Thorough research equips you to have an informed, personalized conversation. It also establishes credibility by demonstrating your understanding from the first moments of the call.

Set an Agenda and Share with the Prospect

After researching the prospect and their company, create an agenda outlining key points you want to cover on the call. Some items to include:

  • Your introduction and brief background on your company
  • The goal of the call (i.e. learn about their business and challenges)
  • Key discovery questions around pain points, processes, and objectives
  • A brief overview of your solution
  • Next steps and follow-up plan

Email this agenda to the prospect a day or two before the call. This sets clear expectations upfront about the purpose and focus of the conversation.

Give them a chance to review the agenda and add any discussion topics important to them. Adjust your game plan based on their input so you can provide maximum value.

Kick Off the Call by Building Rapport

At the start of the call, invest a few minutes building rapport with some light conversation. This helps the prospect feel at ease and builds trust.

You might open by:

  • Thanking them for their time and expressing enthusiasm in learning about their business.
  • Making a personal connection based on your research, like a shared interest, hometown, or industry.
  • Asking how their day/week is going and sharing a relevant detail about yourself to find commonalities.

Then, give a quick overview of who you are, your company, and role. Provide just enough background to give them context without overwhelming them with details.

Transition smoothly into the agenda, and reiterate your goal is to learn about their needs and see if your solution may be a potential fit.

Ask Strategic Discovery Questions

Move into asking strategic discovery questions based on your call goals:

  • Intro questions ease them into sharing about their company, role, goals, and metrics.
  • Pain point questions uncover top challenges they aim to solve. Ask why each is a priority and what the implications are.
  • Process questions reveal how they currently handle relevant processes. Look for areas of friction.
  • Qualifying questions assess their need, budget, timeline, and authority. Gauge where they are in the buyer’s journey.
  • Objection questions surface any reservations early on so they can be addressed.

Mix closed-ended clarifying questions with open-ended probing questions. Ask follow-ups to uncover deeper context.

Spread questions evenly throughout the call; don’t frontload them all at once. Give the prospect time to speak after each one.

Actively Listen and Probe for Details

Listening is just as important as questioning during an effective discovery call. Use active listening techniques:

  • Don’t interrupt. Let the prospect speak without cutting them off.
  • Ask follow-up questions to draw out more details and clarity.
  • Paraphrase back what you heard to confirm understanding.
  • Take notes so you remember key information.
  • Watch for cues like voice tone and pace. Note emotional triggers or enthusiasm.
  • Remain engaged, even during long responses. Verbalize agreement and interest.
  • Avoid talking too much. Discovery is about learning, not pitching.

Probing follow-up questions keep the conversation flowing while uncovering deeper insights. Some examples:

  • “What specifically makes [problem] difficult to solve?”
  • “How is [problem] impacting your business results?”
  • “Tell me more about why [feature] would be valuable.”
  • “Can you help me understand why [objection] is a concern?”

Position Your Solution as Helping Achieve Goals

Although discovery is focused on the prospect’s needs, you should look for opportunities during the call to position your offering as a fit, especially once pain points and goals are established.

You now have context about what success looks like to them. Draw connections between their definition of success and how your product gets them there.

Share relevant use cases or testimonials that show you’ve helped companies similar to theirs achieve the same goals and solve the same pain points.

Use the prospect’s language when highlighting your value to show you understand their priorities. Avoid a hard sell, but pave the way for your follow-up pitch.

Summarize and Confirm Next Steps

As you wrap up the call, take a few minutes to summarize the key details you discussed and any next steps:

  • Recap their goals, pain points, and requirements. Confirm your understanding is accurate.
  • Restate your solution’s benefits in context of their needs.
  • Propose logical next steps like a demo, proposal, or follow-up call with additional stakeholders.
  • Ask if they need any other information. Offer to provide helpful resources.
  • Get commitment to an action plan with owners and a timeline.
  • Thank them for their time. Express enthusiasm in continuing the conversation.

Following up with a summary email after the call can further solidify shared understandings.

Mistakes to Avoid on Discovery Calls

While a positive, productive discovery call expands opportunities, a negative one can permanently torpedo a prospect relationship. Here are some key pitfalls to avoid:

  • Talking too much: Discovery is about asking, listening, and learning. Don’t monopolize the conversation.
  • Use of “yes or no” questions: These questions inhibit deeper discussion. Stick to open-ended probes that get prospects talking.
  • Forgetting to take notes: Failing to record key details prevents effective follow-up and risks losing crucial insights.
  • Skipping research beforehand: Without context, you can’t ask informed, strategic questions tailored to the prospect’s situation.
  • Pushing products too fast: Don’t make the call a sales pitch. Focus first on uncovering pains and building trust.
  • Lack of personalization: Failing to relate questions and examples to the prospect’s specific company will fall flat.
  • Checking out mentally: Stay engaged throughout the call, even during lengthy prospect responses. Take active notes.
  • Interrupting: Cutting off prospects damages rapport. Let them speak fully before following up.

With the right planning and execution, you can turn discovery calls into positive, productive conversations that build relationships and progress deals. Avoid these missteps, and you’ll be well on your way!

The Ultimate List of Discovery Questions to Ask Prospects

The key to an effective discovery call lies in asking the right questions. This comprehensive list of strategic questions is designed to help you uncover crucial details from prospects.

Introductory Questions

Ease into the call by starting with some introductory questions about the prospect’s company and role.

  • Tell me about your company. Get an overview of their products/services, business model, leadership, values, and differentiators.
  • Tell me about your role. What are your responsibilities? Understand their position, metrics, processes they own, challenges they face, and goals they aim to achieve.
  • How did you get started in your career? Learning about their background builds rapport and provides helpful context.
  • Walk me through a typical day/week in your role. Reveals pain points, workflows, and teams/stakeholders they interact with.
  • What do you enjoy most about your work? Highlights their priorities, motivations, and definition of success.

Pain Point and Goal Questions

Next, use these questions to reveal top challenges they want to solve and objectives they’re trying to accomplish.

  • What key challenges is your team trying to overcome right now? Uncover specific struggles, friction points, and problems they aim to fix.
  • Where do you feel the most time/resources are wasted in your current processes? Signals inefficiencies you can highlight.
  • What goals are you focused on achieving this quarter/year? Adds color around initiatives tied to performance metrics.
  • How do these challenges impact your ability to accomplish your goals? Links pains back to obstacles blocking objectives.
  • Why are these problems rising to the top as priorities for you now? Gives context around the driving forces behind addressing these issues.
  • What happens if these problems remain unresolved? Explores consequences, risks, and implications of status quo.
  • How would solving these issues make your life easier? Helps them envision the post-solution benefits and improvements.

Qualifying Questions

Qualify the prospect further by exploring specifics around authority, budget, needs, and timelines.

  • How are you currently handling [problem]? Reveals limitations of current workflow/tools that you can improve.
  • Why is solving [problem] a priority for you right now? Uncovers factors driving urgency and need for change.
  • How does this issue impact your team/company performance? Quantifies hard costs of problem to build ROI case.
  • What does success look like if you solve this problem? Defines ideal solution outcomes in their own words.
  • Who plays a role in selecting a vendor? Identifies all key players in decision process.
  • How is the final purchasing decision made? Details steps in procurement process and requirements.
  • Have you worked with other vendors to solve this? Learn their implementation experience and perspective on competitors.
  • What is the budget allocated to solving this issue? Confirms solution fits within financial constraints.

Objection Handling Questions

Finally, use these questions proactively to uncover any reservations or concerns early on.

  • What issues do you anticipate that could prevent us from moving forward? Surfaces potential red flags you can address.
  • What are the main obstacles that could delay implementation? Highlights risks requiring mitigation planning.
  • Do you have any reservations about working with our company? Draws out biases or misconceptions to tackle.
  • What challenges have you faced when partnering with similar vendors? Reveals fears or friction from past experiences.
  • What preferences or requirements might rule out vendors? Uncovers potential deal-breaking selection criteria.
  • What objections do you think your team might raise that I can help address? Flags concerns of other decision-makers.

Asking the right discovery questions transforms scattered small talk into productive, strategic conversations that maximize your chances of positioning your solution effectively. Use this list as your guide to running stellar, high-impact calls.

How to Follow Up After the Discovery Call for Success

The discovery call marks only the beginning of the sales process. Effective follow-up after the call is crucial for keeping deals moving forward.

Use these best practices to follow up successfully:

Send a Thank You and Summary Email

Always send a follow-up email within 24 hours thanking the prospect for their time.

Summarize the key details discussed, including:

  • Their goals and priorities
  • Pain points and challenges
  • Evaluation criteria for solutions
  • Next steps you agreed on

This email accomplishes several objectives:

  • Reinforces understandings to ensure you have alignment
  • Creates documentation of the discovery discussion for later reference
  • Shows appreciation for their time demonstrating your professionalism
  • Allows correction of any misunderstandings right away

Provide Additional Resources as Promised

If you agreed to send additional assets during the discovery call, make sure to include them in your follow-up email.

For example, you might attach:

  • Relevant case studies
  • Product demos or tutorials
  • Competitive analysis reports
  • Whitepapers exploring their challenges
  • Testimonials from similar customers
  • Proposal documents or quotes

It builds credibility when you deliver on promised information. These resources also help continue educating prospects on how you can add value.

Set Clear Next Steps and Timeline

Work with the prospect to define action items for each party along with owners and timing.

For example, you might agree on:

  • You sending over a capabilities overview deck by Friday
  • Them reviewing requirements with their technology team next week
  • Scheduling a discovery call with procurement the following Monday
  • Locking in a date for a product demo the first week of next month

Defining clear next steps provides visibility into the path ahead. It also creates mutual accountability to drive progress.

Schedule Any Follow-Up Calls

Before ending the discovery call, get the next meeting booked. This could be an additional discovery call with other stakeholders or a demo call.

Locking in this next milestone right away increases commitment and ensures the sales process moves forward with momentum.

Even if they need to confirm attendees or finalize an agenda, get a placeholder on the calendar. You can always adjust details later. Just secure that next interaction upfront.

Mistakes to Avoid in Discovery Call Follow-Ups

Effective follow-up is crucial, but it’s also easy to make mistakes that derail your progress. Here are some key pitfalls to sidestep:

  • Not following up promptly enough: Don’t let too much time lapse before your follow-up email. Send it within 24 hours so details are fresh.
  • Failing to summarize key points: Don’t assume they remember everything. Recapping confirms understanding on both sides.
  • Lack of clarity around next steps: Don’t end the call vaguely. Define specific actions each party will take and when.
  • Sending generic templates: Personalize follow-up emails with specifics discussed rather than copying generic text.
  • Not attaching promised assets: Always deliver any additional materials you noted you would provide. Don’t drop the ball here.
  • Skipping scheduling the next call: Don’t wait for them to drive scheduling. Get the next call confirmed before ending the discovery call.
  • Being too pushy: While persistence pays over time, don’t be overly aggressive pushing for the next meeting. Find the right cadence.
  • Radio silence after the call: Failing to follow up at all is the cardinal sin. Even if they go radio silent, continue providing value.
  • Not involving other stakeholders: Follow up with any additional contacts whose involvement was identified so you slowly build consensus.

The prospect’s impression after your initial discovery call hinges largely on how you handle follow-up. Use this critical stage to demonstrate reliability, competence, and commitment to their success.

Here are some email templates you can adapt to craft effective follow-up messages:

Subject: Thank You and Discovery Call Recap

Hi [Prospect Name],

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me earlier today. It was great learning more about [Company Name] and hearing about your goals to [goals discussed].

I wanted to quickly recap what we discussed:

  • You’re facing [key pain points] that are impacting your ability to hit [metrics/goals].
  • Your top priorities are [summary of top priorities].
  • You’re hoping to see [metrics/outcomes] improve by [X% or $X] over the next [time period].
  • Additional stakeholders we should connect with are [names and roles].
  • Next steps are for me to [next steps agreed on call].

Please let me know if I’ve missed anything or misrepresented any points. I’m looking forward to continuing our conversation and determining how we may be able to partner to help [Company Name] achieve [goals].

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Subject: [Product Name] Discovery Call Follow Up

Hi [Prospect Name],

I really enjoyed learning more about your business during our discovery call earlier today. Thank you again for taking the time.

As promised, I’ve attached a few resources that provide additional information about [Product Name] and how we’ve helped companies similar to yours solve [pain points discussed].

  • [Asset 1]
  • [Asset 2]
  • [Asset 3]

To quickly recap next steps:

  • I will send over a custom capabilities overview by [date].
  • We’ll look to schedule a demo call with [stakeholder names] on [date options].
  • You’ll review requirements with your team and share any other stakeholders we should include.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything else in the meantime or have any other points of feedback. I look forward to continuing the conversation.

[Your Name]

Following up effectively after discovery calls requires planning, personalization, and dedication to driving the deal forward. Use these tips and templates to set yourself up for discovery success.

Discovery Call Tips to Set Yourself Apart

With so much on the line during discovery, you need to execute these calls flawlessly. Follow these proven tips to rise above the competition.

Focus on Building Rapport from the Start

The prospect is more likely to open up and share helpful details if you establish trust and likability right off the bat.

  • Be enthusiastic and personable. Express genuine interest in learning about their business, not just going through the motions.
  • Ask icebreaker questions about hobbies, hometowns, or family to find common ground.
  • Listen attentively without interruption and share affirming reactions.
  • Watch your tone. An aggressive, pushy tone will shut them down. Remain conversational.
  • Find professional similarities. Bond over shared educational backgrounds, past employers, or connections.
  • Offer a personal detail about yourself or family to appear approachable. But keep it professional.
  • Empathize with their challenges. Comments like “I understand how frustrating that must be…” builds rapport.

When prospects feel comfortable with you, they’ll provide more insightful, transparent responses.

Personalize Questions Based on Prospect Research

Asking generic, one-size-fits-all questions won’t move the needle. Tailor your discovery questions using details from your upfront research.

For example, you might ask:

  • “I saw you worked at [Company X]. How would you compare their approach to [process] vs. your current company’s?”
  • “Your recent announcement about acquiring [Company Y] is exciting. How will this impact your team’s priorities?”
  • “You posted on LinkedIn about [Challenge Z]. Tell me more about the issues you’ve faced there.”

This level of personalization demonstrates you did your homework. It also encourages more candid, meaningful dialogue.

Watch Tone and Pacing to Avoid Overwhelming Prospect

While you should aim to extract as much information as possible, take care not to make prospects feel bombarded.

  • Vary your vocal tone to remain energetic and avoid sounding robotic firing off questions.
  • Don’t rapid-fire questions; pause purposefully between each to let them sink in.
  • Give them time to share insights before jumping to the next question.
  • Check for visual cues of fatigue like distracted tones or lack of eye contact.
  • Clarify next steps before ending the call so they feel progress, not pressure.

You want prospects energized by the productive discovery experience, not drained. Monitor their engagement as you progress.

Remain Solution-Focused and Highlight ROI

While discovery focuses on their needs, don’t miss opportunities throughout the call to highlight your solution’s value.

  • Take note each time they share a frustration your product addresses. Circle back later to underscore how you can help.
  • Ask “what if” questions about how their metrics would improve if problem X disappeared.
  • Quantify potential ROI using numbers they shared like time wasted or customers lost.
  • Use “we” language like “here’s how we can help” to get them envisioning the partnership.
  • Share a quick success story of another client you helped in the same situation.

Blending solution-focused dialogue into discovery helps prospects connect the dots between their needs and your offerings.

Tools to Enhance Your Discovery Calls

Certain technology solutions can supercharge your discovery efforts:

Call Recording Software: Records calls for later review so you can improve. Look for AI-powered options that create transcripts and highlight key insights.

Note-Taking Apps: Take and organize notes collaboratively during and after calls. Many integrate directly into your CRM.

Interactive Sales Materials: Engage visual learners by sharing screen flows, product demos, and presentations during discovery.

Conversation Intelligence: Uses AI and machine learning to analyze recorded sales calls and point out what top performers do differently.

Leverage tools like these to run smarter discovery calls, gain insights from recordings, and continually refine your approach.

The success of your discovery calls has a direct impact on your ability to position solutions confidently, progress deals, and drive revenue. Master these techniques to execute flawless calls that set you apart.

Discovery Call Templates and Scripts

Well-crafted scripts ensure you cover the key elements of an effective discovery call consistently. Adapt these templates and examples to suit your unique selling style.

Introduction and Rapport Building

Set the stage for a productive call by taking time to connect with the prospect right upfront.

  • “Hi [Prospect Name]! This is [Your Name] from [Company]. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today.”
  • “Before we dive in, how has your week been so far? [Listen to their response and connect with a relevant personal detail or story]”
  • “I’m looking forward to learning more about [Company Name] and seeing if [Product] might be a good fit to help with some of the challenges your team is facing.”

Transition to Discovery Questions

Transition smoothly into discovery mode with a simple framing statement.

  • “So I wanted to take some time to ask you a few questions about your organization’s current goals, processes, and pain points. Does that sound OK to you?”
  • “I have a list of questions that have been helpful for me to understand if I can provide value. Would it be alright if I went through some of those with you today?”
  • “I like to start discovery calls by getting a solid picture of the problem we are hoping to solve. May I ask you…”

Pain Point and Qualifying Questions

Move into assessing fit with targeted qualifying and pain point questions.

  • “What would you say are your organization’s top 3 priorities this quarter?”
  • “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your current [solution] in terms of meeting your needs?”
  • “Walk me through how your team currently handles [process]. What works well about your current approach? What are the limitations?”
  • “What happens when [point of failure] occurs in the current process?”
  • “Why is improving [process] rising to become such a high priority for your organization right now?”

Presenting Your Solution

Share how your offering solves their challenges in their own words.

  • “From what you’ve shared about [priority/pain point], it sounds like [product] could be a great fit.”
  • I’m confident we can help resolve the issue around [priority] because we’ve partnered with other [industry/role] companies facing similar challenges to implement [solution].”
  • “Our [product] is designed specifically to address [pain point] by providing [key features/benefits].”
  • “Based on your goals around [goal], I think [product] would be able to deliver [metrics/outcomes] by [capabilities].”

Confirming Next Steps

Clarify follow-up plans and validate mutual alignment.

  • “We’ve covered a lot today. At a high level, it sounds like your top priorities are [summarize needs and goals]. Does that accurately capture what we discussed?”
  • “Just to recap, next I’ll [follow-up actions] and then we’ll look to [subsequent actions]. Sound good?”
  • “I’d like to move forward and introduce you to [next contact] who can show you a demo of [product] so you can see exactly how it will [benefit].”
  • “Is there anything else you need from me at this point to prepare for our next steps?”

Leverage and adapt these templates to ensure you hit all the key elements of an effective discovery call script. Use them as a starting point, then infuse the dialogue with your own authentic personality.

Here are some additional example scripts and talking points you can mix and match:


  • Thanks for meeting with me today! I’m looking forward to learning more about your business.
  • To start, I’ll share a bit about our company and the problems we solve. Then I’d love to hear about your goals and challenges.
  • My goal is to see if our solution may be a potential fit. If there’s alignment, we’ll explore next steps. Sound good?

Transition to Discovery

  • I have some questions that will help me better understand your situation. Does that work for you?
  • I want to take this time to learn more about your priorities and processes. Is it alright if I ask you a few questions?
  • Let’s jump into discovery mode. I’ll ask questions to uncover details about your needs. Feel free to ask me anything as well!

Pain Points and Goals

  • What would you say are your top goals you’re focused on achieving right now?
  • Where are you feeling the most frustrated with your current processes?
  • What do you wish your team could do better or faster?
  • What happens when __ issue occurs? How does that impact your metrics?
  • What risks or costs come with not resolving __ issue?

Qualifiers and Budget

  • Walk me through your process for evaluating and selecting vendors.
  • Who all needs to sign off on moving forward with a new solution?
  • How is budget allocated for projects like this? Where does the funding come from?
  • What is your timeline for getting this project off the ground?

Present Solution

  • I think _ would be a great fit because it specifically helps with _.
  • _ solved similar issues around for customers like ___.
  • Based on your goals of , can deliver _ results by _.
  • _ aligns perfectly with your priorities and need around _.

Confirm Next Steps

  • Let’s recap next steps…
  • What questions do you have for me before we wrap up?
  • Would you be open to __ as a next step?
  • I’ll follow up with an email summarizing our discussion and next steps. Please let me know if I miss anything!

Leverage these interchangeable snippets to assemble a smooth-flowing discovery call script tailored to your needs.

The Importance of Practice and Coaching for Discovery Call Success

Like any skill, mastering discovery calls requires hands-on practice and coaching to analyze performance and accelerate improvement.

Recording Calls to Review Performance

Recording discovery calls allows you to critique your own performance and spot areas for refinement. Look for tools that let you:

  • Save call recordings for later review and sharing.
  • Take timestamped notes during the call to flag key moments.
  • Transcribe conversations so you can see dialogue flows clearly.
  • Add comments to annotate successes, mistakes, or patterns.
  • Search transcripts to find and compare how you handled certain topics.
  • Track metrics like talk-to-listen ratios, response rates, and more.

Analyzing recordings after the fact provides visibility that helps fine-tune your discovery approach.

Getting Feedback from Managers and Peers

In addition to self-review, lean on others to provide an outside perspective on areas you can improve.

  • Ask managers to observe calls and share constructive feedback on your strengths and gaps.
  • Review recordings together and get their thoughts on what went well or not. Discuss alternatives.
  • Roleplay common scenarios and have them critique your approach, body language, and dialogue.
  • Solicit feedback from high performers on the team around their discovery techniques. Compare.
  • Request a team listening session where peers identify opportunities based on a shared call recording.

External evaluation pushes you to sharpen skills and perfect the nuances that build rapport and credibility.

Roleplaying Common Scenarios

Practice discovery conversations in a no-pressure environment by roleplaying hypothetical scenarios:

  • Rotate playing the prospect while a peer sells to you. Switch and repeat.
  • Create personas with backstories. Practice questioning tailored to their fictional company and role.
  • Practice objection handling by raising common concerns in the roleplay so they can rehearse responding.
  • Change variables like prospect disengagement, abrasiveness, tangents, or silence to test flexibility.
  • Videotape so you can see body language, facial expressions, posture and other subconscious behaviors.

Roleplaying builds discovery muscles through real-time trial, error, and adjustment with instant peer feedback.

Continuously Refining Your Approach

Discovery mastery requires lifelong learning by continuously evolving your skills:

  • Set weekly or monthly development goals like improving talk-to-listen ratios or objection responses.
  • Expand your questioning repertoire by brainstorming new open-ended questions to add.
  • Diversify tactics by experimenting with different ways to build rapport or create urgency.
  • Read books and blogs to learn fresh perspectives on qualification and need analysis.
  • Study top performers both internally and externally and adopt their mindsets and techniques.
  • Listen to recordings with an improvement mindset not just praise seeking.

Regular refinement prevents your discovery skills from going stale and reactionary. It takes daily focus.

Key Things to Practice for Mastery

Not sure where to focus your discovery development? Prioritize practicing these core competencies critical for running flawless calls:

Active Listening and Probing Skills: Listen fully without interrupting. Ask incisive follow-up questions to draw out deeper insights. Paraphrase and clarify.

Question Phrasing and Tone: Word questions clearly and concisely. Use a curious, conversational tone – not robotic or aggressive. Vocal variety keeps prospects engaged.

Responding to Objections: Let prospects voice concerns fully, then paraphrase to ensure understanding. Reply calmly with empathy. Offer creative solutions tailored to root of objection.

Presenting Solutions Smoothly: Summarize needs articulately first before introducing your solution. Draw connections to benefits using their terminology. Share specific examples.

Rapport Building: Balance personal connection with professionalism. Find common ground. Show authentic interest in their perspectives. Watch body language and mirror when appropriate.

Refine these core areas through regular roleplaying, recording reviews, and skills coaching to maximize the impact of every discovery conversation.

The Future of Discovery in Sales

Like everything in sales, expect discovery processes to evolve as technology advances. Here are some likely ways discovery will change and how sellers can adapt.

Increased Use of AI and Data

AI and data analytics will transform discovery in multiple ways:

  • Data-informed personas will allow hyper-targeted, personalized questioning based on ideal customer profiles.
  • Conversation intelligence will point out in real-time opportunities to improve discovery dialogue based on data analysis.
  • Predictive analytics will flag lines of inquiry likely to uncover champion or blocker status based on past discovery data.
  • AI-powered chatbots will automate discovery tasks like lead qualification and appointment scheduling at scale.
  • Virtual assistants will generate next best question recommendations based on real-time conversation insights.
  • Automated data capture will instantly log details from calls into CRM profiles to drive insights.

Sellers leveraging data and AI-supported discovery will gain a competitive edge through optimization.

Hybrid Models With Self-Service

Discovery conversations are moving to hybrid models that blend automation with human connection:

  • Chatbots handle routine lead qualification before human sellers step in for more complex discovery.
  • Intelligent assistants suggest next best questions to move discovery forward during live conversations.
  • Interactive sales content allows web visitors to self-navigate educational discovery journeys at their own pace.
  • Targeted micro-surveys collect discovery details ahead of calls so humans focus on strategy, not info gathering.
  • needs analysis assessments map prospect challenges to solutions so sellers can have informed value conversations.

Automating repetitive discovery tasks improves efficiency while freeing up capacity for human connections with prospects.

Shorter, More Targeted Discovery

As buyer attention spans shrink, expect discovery models to adapt by becoming:

  • More condensed: Core discovery will happen in shorter bursts, not hour-long calls.
  • More fragmented: Key details will be gathered across multiple interactions both synchronously and asynchronously.
  • More consultative: Discovery will focus on uncovering root causes and vision vs. surface pains and tactics.
  • More contextual: Sellers will leverage situational insights to ask laser-targeted questions that move the ball forward.
  • More interactive: Discovery will happen during modern experiences like product tours, assessments, and live chat.
  • More automated: AI and bots will handle basic lead qualification, freeing up human discovery time for complex needs analysis.

To be effective, savvy sellers will master shorter, surgical discovery interactions while automating the repetitive discovery tasks.

Adapting Your Process to Changing Times

To prepare for the future of discovery, forward-thinking sales teams should:

  • Leverage tools like chatbots to handle 24/7 lead qualification and scheduling at scale to free up selling time.
  • Provide interactive content experiences that guide prospects through self-directed discovery of your solutions.
  • Personalize outreach and conversations using deep buyer persona insights and predictive analytics.
  • Practice micro-discovery tactics and frameworks optimized for shorter attention spans.
  • Embed discovery insights captured into your CRM using call intelligence tools rather than manual note-taking.
  • Track changing discovery KPIs like self-service content engagement and chatbot containment rates.
  • Continuously analyze discovery data using conversation intelligence to identify what’s working and quickly adapt.

The future of discovery will require sales teams to rethink processes while leveraging technology to enhance, not replace, human conversations. Enterprising organizations will embrace this shift to drive competitive advantage.

Key Takeaways

Running a stellar discovery call is both an art and a science. Follow these best practices to master the discovery process:

  • Research prospects extensively beforehand to ask informed, strategic questions. Failing to prepare sabotages discovery.
  • Set an agenda and share it with prospects ahead of time to establish clear expectations.
  • Build rapport from the outset to make prospects comfortable opening up. Balance personal connection with professionalism.
  • Ask open-ended questions that uncover goals, pain points, processes, timelines, budget, and decision team. Probe for deeper details.
  • Listen far more than you speak. Let prospects talk and open up through active listening and affirmation.
  • Qualify prospects thoroughly but also look for opportunities to position your solution as a fit.
  • Carefully craft next steps post-call to keep deals progressing. Follow up promptly with resources and summaries.
  • Practice and get coaching to sharpen discovery skills. Record calls to self-critique and identify improvement areas.
  • Leverage tools like conversation intelligence to capture insights from calls and continuously refine approaches.

Mastering discovery will accelerate deals, improve win rates, build authority, and enhance loyalty. Use these strategies to execute flawless calls.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have some lingering questions around mastering discovery calls? Here are answers to some common FAQs.

What is the purpose of a discovery call?

The goal of a discovery call is to uncover details about a prospect’s needs, pain points, processes, and goals. It helps sales reps determine if their solution is a potential fit and identify next steps to advance the deal.

When should you schedule a discovery call?

Ideally, a discovery call should take place shortly after a prospect expresses initial interest. This could be after downloading a resource, requesting a demo, or connecting on social media. Strike while their interest is piqued.

How long should a discovery call last?

Plan for discovery calls to last 15-30 minutes on average. This provides enough time to build rapport, ask key questions, and assess fit. Extend as needed if the prospect is engaged and sharing insights.

How do you prepare for a discovery call?

Thorough pre-call research on the prospect/company is essential. Craft an agenda focused on key goals. Outline questions that will help uncover their situation. Have helpful resources on hand to share if relevant.

What makes a good discovery call?

A good discovery call balances building a connection with extracting the details needed to determine fit and advance the deal. This requires strategic questioning, active listening, and effectively positioning your solution.

What are some common mistakes to avoid?

Don’t talk too much or interrupt prospects. Asking generic or abrasive questions damages rapport. Failing to take notes risks losing crucial details. Don’t forget to confirm next steps before ending the call.

How can you get better at discovery calls?

Recording discovery calls to review performance helps identify areas for improvement. Roleplaying scenarios, soliciting feedback, and focused skills practice also boost competency over time.

What tools can you use to enhance discovery?

Tools like call recording software, note-taking apps, conversation intelligence, and interactive sales materials can help streamline discovery execution and analysis.

How is discovery changing in the future?

Expect increased use of AI, blended human/digital models, shorter and more targeted discovery interactions, and expanded use of bots and analytics tools to enhance conversations.