The Ultimate List of Sales Discovery Call Questions

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Closing calls are sexy. They’re the calls where a deal gets moved across the line, contracts get signed, and you earn your commission checks.

But closing calls are a bit of a fait accompli. Depending on who you sell to and what you sell, you could have already spent 10 to 20 hours with your prospect. You should have a good idea of whether the deal will close and for how much.

I’ve had deals that I thought would be relatively standard, but because I didn’t dive deep in discovery, they ended up being unduly complex.

Most prospects are okay with participating in a discovery call, as long as it’s not an interrogation. Discovery calls are crucial for sales professionals to understand the details of a prospect’s situation. On the other side, prospects want to leave a discovery call knowing who you are and what your company’s all about. They might have specific questions about a product feature or a term. Most importantly, they need to be assured that you understand their problem and that you will make a professional assessment to determine if you can help them or not.

For your part, you should confirm lead intelligence associated with the prospect that is picked up by any inbound technology your organization might use. You also need to qualify your prospect and determine their business pain, influence within the organization, their willingness to advocate for your product, and their preliminary attitude toward purchasing your product versus a competitor’s.

Below I’ve listed my go-to discovery questions. You won’t be able to cover every question in every call -- and it might not make sense to. Qualify your prospect using the following questions in order and disqualify at any point if it becomes clear they’re a bad fit.

You’ll know that you’ve run a good discovery call if you and your prospect are able to formulate a written sales plan and delineate next steps. If there’s still uncertainty when you hang up the phone, schedule another call to iron out remaining details.

Prioritize qualification over process-based questions. A legal or procurement process isn’t a roadblock to a sale, but a lack of business pain is. Once you’ve gotten the big-ticket items out of the way -- for example, establishing a goal and talking through potential plans to achieve it -- you can move on to the nitty-gritty of the deal.

Ideally, a discovery call will either clearly surface a sales opportunity or definitively disqualify a prospect. You should come out of your calls with an understanding of your prospect’s needs and how you can help solve them.

One final note: Always add value to the discovery call by providing some recommendations or simple ways to help. If you leave the prospect with a positive impression, they are more likely to reach out when they become sales-ready (if they aren’t currently).

More of a visual person? Check out the handy SlideShare below for deeper dives into the first 25 questions.

Also, learn more about asking open-ended questions here.

This SlideShare was created by 24Slides.

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