Top 12 Questions To Ask a Sales Prospect During Discovery Meeting
6 September 2021
You’ve nailed the first call. You have the interest of a sales prospect. So what’s next? It’s a very important step in the sales journey, the discovery call.
Discovery calls are essential to establish a good relationship with a client and know how your product or service can help them develop rapport and better understand the prospect’s needs. It’s all about asking the right questions, but what questions do you need to ask? In this article, we will explain what exactly a discovery call is, how to prepare, and what discovery questions you need to ask them. This will help you to have the best possible discovery session.
What is a discovery call?
A discovery call involves a conversation between the client and the sales representative, which involves a lot of questions. It helps bring the client around to recognizing some key problems they face, and understanding the rep offers a viable solution for them.
It’s not like the first sales call, where the rep needs to pique the interest of the client in the product and explain what it is, but rather an exploration of the client’s specific needs and to check that they are fully informed, on the same page, and confirming how the service or product on offer can help them.
It’s vital to ask the right questions during discovery meetings, to get the information to then show to the client how exactly you can help provide a solution to the problems they are currently facing or a way to improve their business in some way.
How to prepare for a discovery meeting?
So, how do reps prepare for this discovery call? Nailing these calls requires work before the call. Here is a list of tips to help you prepare
You don’t want to waste time asking questions you can find the answers to in a few clicks. Research as much as you can about the client, their company, what they offer and what sort of problems companies in their particular market are facing. Use this to save time, look knowledgeable, and also establish rapport. For example, if you know where your client is based, you can start with some good small talk with this information.
Prepare a discovery meeting agenda
Meeting agendas are essential in any meeting, and the discovery call is no exception. Have an agenda, a structure, and a plan. This will ensure you don’t miss some important steps in the call process. Now, unlike the earlier sales calls, the client needs to do a lot of talking. Evidence, in a study by Gong, shows that callers with more of a two-way conversation succeed in discovery calls. Listening is very, very important in these discovery calls.
So, when planning your agenda, you need to be a bit more flexible. However, have a plan of what to speak about, and what goals you want. So how do we do that? That brings us to the next tip.
Have a checklist
A checklist is a great way to keep focused on the goals of the conversation. This isn’t a checklist of specific questions, rather a way to achieve the goals in a holistic way. But what should be on the checklist?
You can consider the buyer’s journey for this as “awareness, consideration, decision”. Awareness is about being aware of their needs, and the service on offer. Consideration is when the client wants to know how to solve their problems, and the decision is choosing to make the purchase. For example “My company has disorganized communication” is awareness, consideration would be “How can we fix this to have more streamlined communication?” and the decision is “we will purchase a software to put all communication in one place”. Use this approach to plan your checklist. Remember, the discovery call is all about awareness and consideration, the sale will take place later on.
We will get to the questions in a moment, as these should also be prepared in advance, but the checklist should focus on the big picture and the structure.
“Establish the service in more details”
“Understand the client’s pains”
“Make the client aware of their pains”
“Propose a solution to the pains”
“Arrange next call”
These are good goals, as they are not too specific, so you can establish both an awareness in the client of the problems they face, and show how your product or service can alleviate these issues.
Have questions prepared
Now, as we have said, when it comes to sales, questions are essential. Ask the right questions, let the conversation go back and forth, but consider what you need to find out, and what you need to share with the client. This doesn’t mean you should read off everything like a list, that is a bad approach. Rather, use it yourself to ensure you are getting everything you need from the conversation. It also serves as a great tool to evaluate your meeting after, and how successful it was. Have the key questions written in advance, when you’re in the conversation listen to the client and ask them at the right time, it’s vital that the client gets to speak plenty, and for you to learn from them.
Top discovery questions to ask in a call
Now we will give you a list of questions you should consider for your next discovery call. The sales prospect will hopefully answer them with plenty of details, and maybe some questions to you. This is a vital way to improve sales performance. Remember, to let the client speak and for you to listen. This is all about learning!
Here are our top 11 sales discovery questions for you:
1. Describe to me your role day-to-day at your company
2. Can you tell me more about your company?
3. What are you responsible for?
4. Let me know about your particular goals, of any kind?
5. What problems are you trying to solve?
6. Are you experiencing any difficulties in (choose a relevant area)?
7. What is the root cause of this problem?
8. Do you think it’s sufficiently prioritized?
9. Can you think of a potential solution?
10. Do you think our service can help with this problem?
11. Do you see how your life could be made easier?
12. Is there anyone else who will need to make any decisions on this topic?
Sales discovery process tips
There are some other things you should consider in relation to the sales discovery process. Ultimately, the goal of this process is to learn about your client. We’ve talked about aspects of this already, in that you should consider the buyer journey, what to ask, and what to listen for. However, here are some extra things you should think about to understand how to have the best discovery calls
Understand the customer’s needs
Primarily, you are trying to understand the customer’s situation. This may seem obvious at this point, but this part of the process allows you to tailor your sales pitch to fix their specific needs. This part of the sales process isn’t to sell, it isn’t to wow, it is to listen, understand and bring the client to recognize the benefits you can provide. This is why you have to listen as much as possible, get them to share, and identify their specific problems. Questions asking what issues the client’s faces, and general information about their company, helps identify these.
Unearth and intensify pain
This may sound a bit odd or cruel even. We mentioned the buyer’s journey, in which they have an issue, they need to be aware of it and willing to fix it. When you identify their problems, they may not even be aware of them, or at least how bad it is. So not only do you need to guide them to this realization, but you need to show how serious it is as a problem, so they will consider fixing it with your solution. For example, ask them about what issues have resulted from the things they described, and repeat back to them “so it sounds like your company is struggling as a result of this disorganization”. It highlights to them what the problem is
Visualize a solution
Make the client understand what you offer, and see how your product or service will make their lives immeasurably better. You are offering a vision to them of a much easier life, so make sure you focus on this. Later in the call, ask the questions which make them understand what your solution offers, how they see their work improved, and picture their day to day with your solution in place.
Find out your competitors
Your client may not just be talking to you. They may be considering your rivals. This is a good chance for you to understand who, what and why. Ask them if they are considering other options. Then use this information when appropriate to highlight your strengths. Are you more affordable? Do you have some aspect of your service which they don’t? Use this.
Learn about budgeting
Your client will have a chosen budget for implementing the solution you offer. You must find this out from the client. It is also important to understand any responsibilities and anyone else who will have to be involved with this discussion. You may need to have further calls with additional members of their company.
Record your discovery calls
These calls contain a lot of vital information. When you are speaking, you may miss something. While you should always take meeting notes, when you’re in a lengthy conversation you don’t want to be distracted by such a task. This is where software, such as Notiv, can help you record, transcribe and generate automatic reports of the meetings, identifying the key information. This can then be shared with relevant parties. This keeps a record of interactions for future calls and means nothing is lost, and you can focus on the conversation. Notiv is ideal for fast growing sales teams, as it keeps all information about clients in one place as a valuable record, and saves a lot of time.
We provided a guide to help you with understanding discovery calls, knowing how to prepare and nail them. Remember their goal, to learn from the sales prospect! This means lots of listening, engaging conversations, and asking the right discovery questions, and we gave you some suggestions for your next discovery call.
Consider further how recording your meetings can result in effective business outcomes, as these technologies can help with meeting notes, communicating, and generally boosting the effectiveness of your calls of any kind!
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