They say, a good salesperson should be able to sell ice to someone in the North Pole.
I beg to differ.
Good salespeople don’t sell you what you don’t need. They are looking for a win-win: where you’re happy and they’re happy.
Maybe your persuasion skills are off the chart, and you can sell something to someone who doesn’t actually need it. However, this strategy is likely to backfire in the long run.
Eventually, your customer will realize they have no use for that ice. And when the buyer’s remorse sets in and they realize they’ve made a bad purchase decision, they are likely to feel dissatisfied - perhaps even resentful. There will be no cross-sells or referrals: just a bad G2 review that’s going to do a lot of harm in the long run.
Like a doctor who diagnoses the patient’s condition and prescribes the correct medication according to the severity of the illness, the expert sales agent goes the extra mile to understand the buyer's requirements and suggests the best solutions based on their needs and goals.
This is where sales discovery calls come into the picture - they play a crucial role in the sales process, helping you sell honestly and convert qualified leads into happy clients.
What are discovery calls & why do they matter?
A discovery call is the first interaction a sales agent has with a potential client after the latter shows interest in your service or product.
Think of discovery calls as the first date where you interact with the prospect to understand their pain points, business goals, and objectives. Depending on the information collected, you decide whether you want to schedule a second date or not.
The main idea behind a sales discovery conversation is to determine whether you and the prospect are a good fit for each other. If yes, you can schedule further meetings to move the prospect down the marketing funnel. If not, you can both move on - without wasting more valuable time.
The discovery call plays a crucial role in determining the future relationship with the prospect. So, you must nail it perfectly.
In this next section, we provide you with an effective, easy-to-use, and customizable template that you can follow for a successful discovery call. Let’s jump right into it.
Structure of a discovery call
Discovery calls usually begin with a quick introduction, followed by rapport-building, and then agenda-setting. Once you have finished these, you can move on to the crux of the call - the crucial sales discovery questions.
This call has two possible outcomes:
- Lead qualification - where you move the prospect further down the marketing funnel based on their intent and interest in your product/services.
- Lead disqualification - to eliminate the leads who are not the right match for your product/service.
Either way, the primary goal of a sales discovery call is to build rapport and win the prospect's trust while piquing their interest and curiosity.
How long is a good discovery call?
That depends on the product/service you’re selling, and also, the prospect. Generally, discovery calls with startups, small businesses, and B2C customers take around 15 to 20 minutes. However, a discovery call with a large SaaS organization or B2B sales can go up to one hour or longer.
The key is to allow sufficient buffer time so that you don’t feel rushed and you have ample time to meaningfully engage with the lead and collect all the information you need. Nothing is more irritating than a second discovery call because you didn’t ask everything you should have in the first one.
Now, let’s deep dive into each section of a discovery call with sample templates and script-writing tips.
Four steps for creating an effective discovery call script
Step 1: Introduce yourself, set the agenda, & build rapport
Before you get down to business, take the time to introduce yourself, your organization, and your role in the organization. Run the agenda with the prospect, and get their buy-in before proceeding.
Here’s a sample discovery call script that you can use to introduce yourself:
“Hello, Scott. I am Jim Halpert, the lead sales representative at Dunder Mifflin. We noticed that you filled out a form regarding our product Abc on the website. This call aims to know more about your business and current challenges. This information will help me understand your business requirements and how we may be able to help. At the end of the call, if our product is a good fit for your needs, I will schedule a free demo with our product team. Does that sound good to you?”
Pro Tip: The goal of a discovery call is to learn as much as possible about the lead’s business and pain points. To facilitate sharing information, you need to work on building rapport and establishing the prospect’s comfort level. Be friendly, be engaging - talk about the latest trending TV series, an NBA game from last night, or even everyone’s favorite topic: the never-ending pandemic. Let the person on the other side see you as a human, instead of someone just out to sell them something.
Step 2: Ask the right discovery questions
Failing to ask the right questions during the discovery call can make the deal time-consuming and unnecessarily complicated down the line. You can divide the questions into two phases to ensure that you cover all bases:
Phase 1: Qualification questions
In the first phase, you can focus on qualification questions that determine whether your product/service is the right fit for the prospect.
Qualification questions help you determine whether you’re selling ice to Alaskans or something more relevant, like sleeping bags.
Let’s say you’re offering a CRM solution. Here are a few sample discovery call questions that can help you qualify prospects:
- How many users do you have? What is the average size of your customer base?
- Have you previously used a CRM software?
- What are your business goals?
- What is your budget and timeline for achieving these goals?
Phase 2: Uncovering challenges
Once you have finished with the preliminary qualification questions, the next step is to delve into the prospect’s pain points by asking the right questions about their current situation.
Pro Tip: Ask open-ended questions so that you can extract long, in-depth answers from the prospect while keeping the conversation flowing naturally.
- What are the challenges that you are facing as your business grows?
- What are the roadblocks that prevent you from achieving your goals?
- What do you stand to lose if you don’t take any action and keep the process the same?
- Do you wish that your current product had some specific features?
- X process seems to be monotonous and error-prone. What if we can help you automate it?
Questions like these uncover the prospect’s pain points, which you can address later via your customized sales pitch.
Pro Tip: What if the prospect is unwilling to share information? You need to know when to push and when to pull back. If the lead is uncomfortable revealing specific information about their business and process, do not force them. Instead, move on to the next question. You can say, “From what we have discussed so far, I’m guessing you’re facing these challenges…”
This is where your pre-call research comes to your rescue. Researching the potential customer, their company, and industry can help you fill in the gaps when they are unwilling to share certain information.
Step 3: Focus on problems that you can solve
The core purpose of a discovery call is not to pitch or sell your product aggressively. Instead, it provides you with the opportunity to understand, engage, and provide solutions to the challenges faced by the prospective buyer.
Here’s an example of a sample discovery call script that you can customize to suit your situation:
Lead: “I am facing issues with implementing XYZ processes.”
Sales rep: “Yes, some of our previous clients also had similar problems. Let me tell you how they overcame this situation and grew their business faster by implementing our solution. If you’re interested, I can also connect you with the core product team, who can explain how they solved these issues for our clients.”
Remember, every sales professional out there competes to sell. But, it’s only a handful who genuinely help their clients. By offering value and empathizing with the prospect, you can build trust and win customer loyalty. With this in mind, ask questions that probe the prospect’s key challenges and highlight how you can help solve them.
It’s usually at this stage of the sales discovery process that the buyer raises sales objections like, “the pricing isn’t right”, “we don’t need this solution”, or “we don’t have the time for implementation.” Being prepared for common objections can help you move the potential customer to the next stage of the buying process.
Here’s some quick inside info: Use our data-driven guide to help you overcome sales objections, convince leads, and convert them.
Step 4: Summarize, convey the next steps, & close
Before you hang up, do a quick recap of what you have discussed so far and specify the next steps.
For qualified leads, you can say:
“From our call, it sounds like we can help you achieve/solve [their goal or problem] with our [your product/service]. Are you open to reconnecting with our sales team for an in-depth product demo over a video call?”
If the prospect agrees, bounce a few dates and time slots that are convenient for all stakeholders. Thank them for their time and finish with a friendly sign-off.
If the prospect is not the right fit for your product/service, be open and tell them why you aren’t the right fit for them. You can use this script to frame your response:
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like we’re a good fit for your requirements because [explain why it’s a bad fit]. However, I can help you in the right direction, and I believe [another company] might be able to help you. I would like to thank you for your time, and it would be great if you could refer us to your peers and friends who might be a better fit for us. Thanks again, and looking forward to working with you in the future.”
Following this sales discovery call template helps you maximize the value out of every lead and build authority and trust among prospective buyers.
What to do after the discovery call?
If a prospect has agreed to a further meeting/call, ensure they stay engaged and don’t drop off the sales funnel. Closing a deal is all about the right follow-ups at the right time.
With Wingman, a smart conversation intelligence tool, you can customize the sales dashboard to monitor and convert the leads that matter. Wingman provides you with smart views, automated reminders, crucial call metrics, and actionable insights, to help you convert warm prospects into loyal customers, thereby accelerating the sales cycle.
See Wingman in action by scheduling a free demo today.