Are You Asking the Right Discovery Call Questions?

The discovery call is an exploratory expedition, scoping out new territory to decide if it’s the best location for a new business settlement. It’s like a first date, where you’re trying to ask the important, but not intimidating, questions to decide whether you should pursue a deeper relationship.

Discovery calls are an enigma with high stakes, yet if you take things too seriously, it still won’t work out. And many salespeople find opportunities slipping through their fingers because they’re just not asking the right questions.

It becomes all too easy to turn a discovery call expedition into an intimidating interrogation. At the same time, it’s risky not to dive deep enough to get the information that you need. So how do you strike a balance?

Fear not, explorer! We don’t want to just help you dial prospects easier with DialSource. We want your calls to be more successful. So, here’s some advice to make sure you’re asking the right discovery call questions.

Focus on the Prospect Before Throwing a Pitch

Sure, you want the prospect to know how great your product is and the problems it could solve. But launching into a pitch on a discovery call is premature. If you knew a pitch would work, it wouldn’t be a discovery call.

Dan Tyre, Sales Director of Hubspot, advises against jumping to the “nitty-gritty” of the sale before qualifying the lead. Alternatively, he suggests the goal of the discovery call is to “either clearly surface a sales opportunity or definitively disqualify a prospect.

Keep your questions focused on scoping for qualification, rather than fretting over technicalities. Logistics can be addressed later, but without qualification, you’re wasting your time.

Ask About Goals and Metrics

One aspect of discovery calls that experts agree on is that you have to find out more about the prospect’s goals. First of all, you shouldn’t assume what those goals are already by asking pointed questions. Think about those obnoxious infomercials that make presumptions about what you need in your life:

Are YOU tired of ___?

Do YOU wish there was an easier way to do ____?

The black and white sideways camera angle screams at you, suggesting that you already have a problem only that particular product can fix. Frustrating, isn’t it? What if I don’t actually have that problem? What if I don’t actually need that product?

It’s the same way with a discovery call. Your job is not to convince the prospect of your product is the right fit. You can’t force it, like jamming a jigsaw puzzle piece into the wrong place. As Mike Renahan of Hubspot explains, “if the prospect’s goals are completely different from the product’s benefits, the salesperson can disqualify with confidence.”  

Find out what the prospect’s goals are, and consider if your product could help to reach them. If not, maybe it’s time to move on.

Not only should you be discovering the prospect’s goals, but you should also ask how they measure their progress toward those goals and how they intend to reach them. This is where you can begin incorporating how beneficial your product could be, and also gives you insight into how the prospect’s company works.

Discuss Stakeholders

Nothing is more frustrating than getting halfway through a call and realizing the person you’re speaking to is not a stakeholder in the sale. However, it could come across as abrasive to just ask people directly how significant they are in the company hierarchy.

You should always do your research on the contact so that you understand what their position and title are, but also realize that a title is not always indicative of that person’s responsibilities. Emily Meyer of SalesHacker suggests that you always start with asking about the prospect’s role, phrasing it in a complementary way like “I’ve peeked at your LinkedIn, but I know that isn’t always indicative of everything you’re responsible for!”

Additionally, going forward into the potential of your product, don’t be afraid to ask “who else should be involved in this process?” or “Who else in the company needs to be involved in reaching this particular goal?”

Avoid “Yes or No” Questions

This isn’t a courtroom. Discovery calls are more about listening and processing than rattling off your checklist of questions. So avoid yes or no questions that will cut the conversation short. Find ways to rephrase these inquiries into more open-ended questions.

Remember, you’re supposed to be listening and learning. You’re not just setting them up for the sale.

Hold the Opportunity Loosely. You Will Survive!

Discovery calls can feel like treacherous, unfamiliar ground, but remember that it is only the beginning. Don’t hold so tight to the hope of a sale, when that isn’t the goal of your call in the first place. Be open to the possibilities at hand, and enjoy the journey.