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Sales discovery call: Effective tips and 16 questions to ask prospects

Salespeople are always in a hurry to sell. Well, everyone wants the applause and incentives that are given when the sales quotas are achieved. 

But sadly, few things are missed out when you do things in a hurry. 

Salespeople do not give enough attention to the initial stages of the sales process and suffer in the end with a poor conversion rate. 

79% of marketing leads don’t convert into sales. 

“Discovery call” is one of the most important parts of the initial sales process that’s not taken seriously by most of the sales reps. 

You cannot prescribe medicine without diagnosing the disease. Similarly, you’ll not be able to offer a solution without finding out the problem. 

Besides, sometimes sales reps end up chasing the wrong leads who do not require their product and end up wasting a lot of time. 

So, it is necessary to understand the prospects’ expectations during the initial stages of the sales process to determine if you should pursue them further or focus or some other deal. 

Through successful sales discovery calls, you can uncover those needs and expectations. 

You have to understand customer needs before they understand your technologies – Steven Haines

What is a discovery call?

Discovery calls are made with an aim to amass maximum information about the prospects for understanding their needs and requirements. In most cases, the discovery call is the first few calls after connecting with the prospect. 

It is a very crucial part of the sales process that helps in qualifying prospects. Through proper discovery calls, you can identify the deals that won’t convert into sales and abandon them at the right time.

Questions are the base of a sales discovery call. You need to ask maximum relevant questions to discover the goals, concerns, and problem areas of the prospects.

The anatomy of a successful sales discovery call

Discovery calls need your utmost attention. Investing a little time in conducting successful discovery calls can be very helpful in the later stages of the sales process. So, do not take it lightly. Walk the extra mile and put little more effort to gain a proper understanding of your prospects. 

Here is a structure of a successful sales discovery call.  

Proper preparation

Don’t just dial a random number and ask a few generic questions during a sales discovery call.

The discovery call needs proper preparation. 

  • Research about your prospects 
  • Go through their social media profiles and company website
  • Check out if there are any reviews written about their business
  • See if you have any mutual connection 
  • Create a list of questions that you need to ask the prospect
  • Find out the ideal time to call the prospect 

Rapport building 

Instead of getting down to business directly, try to build a rapport with the potential buyers. Only when the prospects are comfortable, they will be able to share their true concerns and challenges.

  • Try to break the ice to ease the situation 
  • Speak about the points that interest the prospect (This is why I asked you to research earlier)
  • Mention a commonality you found on their LinkedIn or Twitter profile 
  • If you came across their achievement, then congratulate them for that 
  • If they’ve written any blogs, then speak about the things you liked in the blogs

Diagnose the prospect’s needs

Validate the information you’ve researched about the prospect and try to gather more details about your prospect’s pain points and goals. Ask as many relevant questions as you can during a discovery call to understand what your prospect is looking for. 

  • Find out what are your prospect’s priorities and goals at the moment
  • What difficulties are their company facing in achieving those goals and priorities?
  • What’s their budget?
  • The prospect might be unaware of some problems, so you can bring that up as well. Like, “our customer is facing [the issue] are you too facing a similar problem?”

Prescription (providing value)

Well, once you diagnose the problems, provide the solution. Mention your value propositions. Your value proposition must clearly articulate why the prospect should buy from you. 

  • Connect your product with the prospect’s problem and show them how you can help
  • Help the prospect visualize what would they gain by using your product
  • You can even share the case studies of happy customers having similar problems to show how you helped them in overcoming similar problems

Successful sales discovery calls tips

Below are a few things you should consider for making successful sales discovery calls.

Don’t ask yes or no question  

The agenda of your discovery call is to understand and qualify your prospect. That would only be possible if the prospect shares enough information with you. For that, you need to ask subjective questions where the prospect can elaborate instead of just giving a one-word answer in Yes or NO. 

Questions should be in a flow

Yes, you’ve created a list of questions, but don’t just play a rapid-fire with your prospect by asking random questions abruptly. The questions should be in a flow with the answer your prospect gives. 

Suggest the next steps before hanging up 

In sales, you need to make the most of every opportunity you get. So, don’t end the call abruptly. Decide on the next step before disconnecting the call. The next step can be anything from scheduling a meeting or a video call on a specific day to discuss the prospect’s problem in detail. 

Record your discovery calls 

Record your discovery calls to ensure you don’t miss out on any important details shared by the prospect. CRM software like Salesmate comes with a built-in virtual phone system that allows you to record the call. So, you can easily listen to the discovery calls at your convenient time for understanding your prospect’s needs. 

16 sales discovery call questions 

Here are a few discovery call questions that can help in collecting important information about your prospects.

  1. Through your website, I got to know that your company is into [what do they do]. Could you please elaborate a little about it?
  2. What are your goals and priorities for this year?
  3. What’s holding you back from reaching them?
  4. Could you tell me a little about your current process?
  5. What are you looking to improve?
  6. Many companies in your industry are facing[issue] are you too going through the same issue?
  7. The [change] in your industry has affected most of our clients. Are you too affected by it?
  8. What will happen if you do not address [specific problem]
  9. Have you taken measures to address the problem?
  10. Have you set aside any budget to address the problem?
  11. Are you looking for any solution to address the problem?
  12. Have you explored any product so far?
  13. What are your primary roadblocks in implementing a solution?
  14. Which components matter most when figuring out which tool is best for you?
  15. How have decisions like this been made previously in your company?
  16. Who all are involved in the decision-making process?

Wrapping up

To invest your time in the right leads, you need to qualify them. A successful sales discovery call can save you from chasing bad leads. It can help you in understanding a prospect for giving them the best solution. 

A potential buyer will only purchase from you if they feel your solution can be helpful. So, for that, you need to understand their problems. You need to ask the relevant questions for discovering their goals and concerns. 

With the right questions, you can gain a better understanding of your prospect and with the right tool, you can convert them. CRM like Salesmate can be of great help in nurturing and converting these qualified leads to sales. With this advanced sales tool, you can streamline your sales process, manage your contacts, track emails, follow-up in real-time, automate most of the time-consuming tasks and do a lot more things to improve your closure rate.


An avid writer who likes to explore new fields and research about interesting subjects. She is a versatile content developer who plays with words to express her thoughts. Calm, carefree and creative are the words that describes her the best.

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