If your business goal is to win a sale, the discovery call is the most important step because it determines what happens next.
For instance, the call might be the last you make to a particular prospect if it saves you time and keeps you from rooting around pointlessly in an inappropriate rabbit hole. Or it might be the first of several (in an iterative process) if you both want to dive in deeper to find a solution that you and your prospect believe is in reach.
Let’s therefore have a look at the process of the discovery call in more detail. We’ll also assume here that you do have a clear strategy for these calls written up in your sales playbook!
What is a Discovery Call?
Discovery calls in sales are the first contact you make after qualifying a prospect. In other words, you have learned that the prospect aligns with your sales strategy, is in your target market, and you’re dealing with a decision maker.
In your Discovery call, it’s time for a deeper dive. This is where you have the chance to set the stage for the entire relationship with a potential buyer if it proves good use of your business time to continue with them. Or you may decide to let them go. So it’s critical you give it due importance!
In setting the stage, however, you’re not only giving out information but curating that information carefully in conversation with the prospect. In between, you’re asking carefully considered questions and taking on board their answers to adjust the conversation.
The Goal of This Call
The first part of a discovery call’s goal is therefore to relate to your prospect’s
- pain points, and
- dissatisfaction with what they’ve tried so far
…in order to monitor the situation and be sure your solution is suitable. Of course, you want to be the guide who’ll help them find a solution for their problems. But if not, you’ll be honest with them and avoid wasting their time – which they’ll appreciate. You can then move on to the next prospect.
The way you achieve your goal in this call is by building rapport and trust. Easy words to use but hard to achieve unless
- you have empathy,
- know how to listen more than you talk, and
- refrain from pushing your solution too early.
After all, why would anyone continue exploring your solution if they didn’t feel you’d really heard and understood their problem!
So when making your discovery call, the second part of your goal is to assess for a good match. You want to ensure that at the end of the call, your prospect signs off not only feeling understood, but knowing who you are, what you do, and with an idea about how you can help them.
The Benefits of This Call
- It sets the tone for your possible future relationship: professional, but “in it together” in terms of working together to agree a way forward and a solution.
- It allows you to become sure that you are a good fit for each other. After all, when your ideal customer profile was created, nobody could know exactly how well it would fit the actual customer. People are not robotic in how they live, act, and buy!
- You have the opportunity to bring unique value to a prospect with your solution. During the discussion, clients should gradually be able to see a little bit of how you’re able to offer unique value to their unique pain points.
You probably already appreciate that a simple internet search for information does not make a successful discovery call that will magically bring about positive results. So here are some tips.
Before You Schedule a Discovery Call
Plan Ahead & Qualify
Do your homework and learn as much as you can about a potential client well before your discovery call. And understand they’re doing the same about you and your company!
Search on Google, social media, their company website, and anywhere that you think you may find something that makes the discovery call worth pursuing. If possible, schedule a brief introductory call with the prospect to verify your findings and ensure you are speaking with the right person – a decision maker. If your prospect won’t take an introductory call, move on.
Have a Clear Agenda
From your preparation, set a clear agenda for your Discovery conversation with the prospect in order to manage the expectations of both parties. But as we’ve indicated, be prepared to align this agenda with the goals and interests of your prospect – focusing on them and how you might help solve their problem.
Think About How to Engage Your Prospect
It takes two to have an “intent-full” conversation. Plan to involve your prospect through:
- Addressing pain points.
- Listening to their views and suggestions as well as what they have tried in the past.
- Asking “discovery” questions to draw them out so they understand how your solution might match their need.
- Connecting emotionally.
- Being prepared mentally to summarize any insights gained in the discovery call, and bring in appropriate examples from other customers.
- Thinking about how you might guide a suitable prospect into taking your desired next steps.
Preparation beforehand is beneficial even in skeleton form. That’s because your brain is good at carrying out in situ a process it’s already rehearsed! Even if the details are not there yet.
Some Best Practices For the Sales Discovery Process
1 Add Value With Relevant Insights
When you’re preparing for the discovery call, remember to use evidence-based data to support your viewpoints. You may be knowledgeable about the market and products, but remember your prospect doesn’t have the same knowledge. Give them something extra in the call.
2 Go Beyond the Prospect’s Expectations
In addition to having relevant insights, go beyond what your lead is expecting from the usual discovery process. Think deeply about their challenges and ask open-ended questions that will encourage collaborative inquiry between the buyer and seller. Prove to your prospects that you want the best for them.
3 Align the Call to Their Organization’s Strategic Objectives
Make sure you offer relevant information about how your solution also aligns with their own strategies and goals as an organization. Connect the value you offer with solutions that solve critical issues that affect their organizational processes.
We Can Help!
Discovery sales calls are not one size fits all. They require planning, effort, and care to connect with your prospect. It’s more like fine-tuning your playbook’s strategy on the hoof, as you gather information and respond further to their needs.
In addition, it’s important not to be discouraged if the result is to let that prospect go. That was the whole point of the discovery call – go for the gold, ditch the bronze!
If your sales discovery calls are not going as planned and you’d like to get more out of this important step of the sales process, our sales experts are happy to help. Here at 360, we have years of sales experience and resources to help you perfect your discovery call. Schedule a free consultation today!