As sales executives, one of the most important things you can do to convert prospects to clients is getting to know them. The more you learn, the better you can present solutions to their problems. Discovery calls are the first step in a conversation you have with a prospect. So, are you asking the right questions?


What is a Discovery Call?

Before deciding what to ask someone, you must know what a discovery call is and why it matters so much in the sales process. As mentioned, a discovery call begins a conversation with a prospect and client. It is the initial phone call the two have after a prospect fills out a form or sends an email indicating they wish to speak to an account executive.

Discovery calls set the tone for the entire relationship a salesperson and a prospect will have, making it a vital piece of sales enablement. This is where someone from your team will qualify that prospect and guide them along the rest of the buyer’s journey. Someone may think they need a particular solution you offer, but they could benefit more from another product. Or, they may not benefit at all.

Before the Discovery Call

You might think that because a discovery call is the first conversation you’ll have with someone means you don’t have to prepare. That is far from the truth. Your prospect has done research that led them to this point – you should, too.

Research the business or person you’re connecting with, so you can have a fluid conversation. You don’t want to start a relationship by asking someone, “What’s your job title again?” or “Where do you work?” especially when you can find that information in their form submission. This may put them off and derail any further chances of talking.

Before the call, share the meeting agenda with your prospect, so your conversation goes smoothly. They could offer agenda points as well. After doing this, put any assumptions you may have aside. You may think you know what their issue is, but that person could reveal a pain point you and the rest of your company have never considered.

You should also try not to talk too much. You’re learning about them in this call, so give them ample time to answer your questions. Don’t ask multiple questions at once and try not to interject too much when they’re speaking. Your questions should also be open-ended. If you ask only “yes” or “no” questions, your conversation will suffer. You might also veer into a product demo if you feel like the discussion is dying – which is something you should never do in a discovery call.

Reassure your prospect that you’re here to help, and take notes when you’re talking, so you have information to reference when you have future conversations. Now that you know what to do before the call, here are our favorite questions to ask during discovery sales calls.

Questions You Should Be Asking

  • Tell me about your company.
  • What is your day to day like?
  • What are you responsible for in your business?
  • What made you explore our solution?
  • What is your current process like?
  • What do you hope to improve?
  • What would happen if you didn’t make any changes?
  • Are you responsible for establishing a budget?
  • Which component(s) matter most when determining the right solution for your needs? Do you already have a budget allocated?
  • Who is involved in the decision-making process?
  • Is this a competitive situation?
  • What are your timeline goals for making this decision?
  • Would you like to plan another meeting?
  • What would you like to accomplish during our next meeting?
  • Would you like to connect me with any other stakeholders in this project?

If it helps, consider writing these down and bringing them with you to your call. Your conversation may inspire new questions which may be worth adding to your list to share with your colleagues or use for future scenarios.

After you finish your conversation, be sure to send a follow-up email thanking them for their time. Your discovery call will hopefully set the tone for an extended discussion that leads to a new, happy customer. By prepping thoroughly and utilizing open-ended questions, you should be able to delight them during this call – and every call.