The Art of the Discovery Call: Unlocking Sales Potential

The discovery call is an opportunity to get to know prospects. Spend time asking the right questions and building rapport for future sales success.

discovery call

The discovery call is a bit like a first date. It’s the very start of a relationship and your opportunity to get to know a potential new client. However, there is more to it than a quick chat. You need to learn about their challenges and, crucially, find out about their aspirations. Where do they want to be?

This initial moment of contact sets the standard and tone for all subsequent interactions. It lays the foundations of trust. It’s also an opportunity to establish a rapport and pick up previously unknown insights.

In this article, we’ll share:

  • How should you prepare for a discovery call?
  • Is there a particular structure it should follow?
  • How do you move from discovery to sales?

You'll also learn how to use discovery calls to your advantage. That includes a list of the core components of every effective discovery call.

The Purpose of a Discovery Call

You’ve learned how to find business prospects. They’re ready to be contacted. What next? One of the first tasks for any salesperson is getting to the heart of the prospect's needs. Then to see how their offering can best serve the prospect’s needs. That’s precisely what the discovery call enables salespeople to achieve. It’s a way of connecting their expertise with the specific requirements of the client.

As the sales team begins to understand the prospect’s needs, they can ask more detailed and probing questions. These questions will reveal both the challenges and the goals of the prospect. That’s important because these revelations allow for a personalized approach and tailored solutions to meet the prospect’s needs.

The discovery call serves another helpful purpose. During the conversation, an experienced salesperson will gauge where the prospect sits within the company’s sales funnel. Are they learning about the product or services for the first time? Are they genuinely aware of the problem and actively searching for a solution? How aware are they of the solutions offered already? By answering these questions, you can position the prospect accordingly and deliver the right marketing and sales activities at the right time.

Preparing for a Discovery Call

There are a few steps that you can take before a discovery call to best prepare yourself.

sales calls

Research Potential Clients

Before the call, spend time looking into who you will be talking to. The more you know about them, the better prepared you’ll feel. It allows you to preempt any questions or objections that they might have. Conversation will naturally flow better, and you shouldn’t be caught off guard.

If you’re working in the B2B sector, this part of the process is often much easier. Information is readily available on social media and company pages, and you can understand where the prospect sits within the company structure. B2C relies somewhat more on your best judgment based on similar historical interactions.

Set Objectives for the Call

Always set your objectives for the call. This might be as simple as having an engaging conversation. That said, aiming for a more detailed outcome will serve you better. Good objectives include:

  • Gaining an understanding of their pain points
  • Discovering their level of interest in a product or service
  • Identification of decision-makers
  • Discussion of potential objections

Create a Comfortable Environment

Do what you can to make the recipient of the call as comfortable as possible. That means picking the right time so that you can hold their attention. You also want to maximize the chance that they’re in the right space physically so that they’re not distracted. Alongside these considerations, a lot of comfort comes from using the right tone and words. Plan your conversation loosely so that it best fits the client’s mindset. 

Remember, this is not a sales call. During a discovery call, there shouldn’t be any attempt to convert the prospect.

The Key Components of a Discovery Call

  • Establish Rapport: Use a personalized opener with them, using their name where possible. Share some mutual interests, acknowledge their recent achievements, and do anything that will help you to build a good rapport.
  • Ask Insightful Questions: Always try to use open-ended questions that allow the prospects to design their own reply. You’ll gain much more insight doing this rather than using closed questions.
  • Practice Active Listening: Fully concentrate on the words, tone, and emotion of their responses. Aim to reflect their tone and paraphrase their responses.
  • Steer the Conversation: Keep an eye on your objective. Where possible, gently guide the conversation toward it in a natural way.
  • Employ Empathy: When responding to client concerns and objections, respond with empathy. Doing so helps to build trust and assures them that you’re not solely focused on sales.

From Discovery to Sales

Once you’ve completed the discovery call, the next step is discussing your solutions to their problems. It’s a strategic shift from simply understanding the client and their needs to positioning yourself as the solution.

The shift can begin as early as the end of the call. A summary of the key points from the conversation shows that you listened and understood their needs. This could be as a conclusion to the call or via a follow-up email afterward. You can then move on to aligning your offering with their needs. Using the insights you gained, tailor and personalize your offering accordingly.

Importantly, whenever you begin the transition, always set the next steps. Discuss how the conversation will continue and show that you want to keep the relationship going forward.

Key Takeaways

It might just be the first step on your journey with a prospect, but the discovery call is a hugely important one. Use them wisely to build the whole foundation of your relationship so that a mutually beneficial and prosperous connection can bloom.

  • Adopt a client-centric approach so that you’re focused on their needs rather than your sales.
  • Asking the right questions is one thing, but truly listening to their answers is arguably more important.
  • Learn from each call you make so that you can adapt your approach and build next time.

Following up after discovery calls can be a laborious process. Using an email marketing tool like Instantly makes the process far simpler. Interested in finding out more? Get started for free today.