A sales discovery call is the initial call after successfully connecting with a prospective customer. This call is critical as it is the foundation of your relationship with a prospect. A discovery call can help you establish either an authentic connection with the candidate or leave you playing catch up. As a salesperson, there are a few things you want to achieve through the discovery call:

• To understand all the details of the prospect’s situation
• To qualify the prospect
• To determine their pain points
• To assess their preliminary attitude towards buying your product versus that of a competitor
• Their purchasing power

On the other hand, the lead wants to leave the call with a clear understanding of who you are, what your business is all about and how they will benefit from this relationship. Hence, they might have certain questions about your company, a product feature or even the terms.

That said, discovery calls are not easy. They can be awkward, monotonous and even disastrous. Still, this call plays a significant role in the success of a salesperson and the health of their pipeline. It is also an excellent tool for qualifying clients to determine which ones are worth pursuing. It is for this reason that we have put together this 6-step guide to help sales reps conduct winning discovery calls.

The six steps to making a winning discovery

1. Pre-strategize, practice and rehearse the call

One of the great ways to prepare and improve the discovery call is by pre- trategizing, practicing and rehearsing how to do it the right way. Before making that discovery call, run through the questions that you plan on asking with a colleague and practice the different answers you are likely to give throughout the conversation based on presumed objections from the prospect.

Think about the entire call, the desired outcomes and the info you hope to pick up. Pre- strategizing and practicing the discovery call will also help you realize important things that you may have missed or any negative phrases or language that you may need to drop before making the call.

2. Record discovery calls

This is another important factor to remember when making a discovery call. These calls tend to be too long, making it hard for you to recall every single detail. What’s more, scribbling down key points may throw you off, resulting in more confusion when revisiting them later on. The best way to make sure you catch the key points in the conversation is by recording it.

open reel machine during High End Munich 2018

3. Set the Agenda

Too often, sales reps jump into the discovery call with a lot of questions, making it feel more of an interrogation than a conversation. As a result, they start the discussion on the wrong foot, leaving the prospect confused about the purpose of the call. Starting off the call with an agenda along with a list of objectives is a great way to get the prospect’s attention as well as manage their expectations. Even more importantly, it helps you to be in control of the entire conversation.

4. Ask the right questions

The discovery call is split between asking and listening. So make sure you ask relevant and meaningful questions that will help you find out more about the prospect's situation.

5. Be a storyteller

If you didn’t already know, telling stories is the newest way of selling. Today’s customer does not want to buy simply based on what you think is right or wrong. They want to hear how another person with a similar problem benefited from what you are selling. So, instead of just pitching your products or services, consider building a story around it.

6. Promote the prospect to the next step

A successful discovery call is one that moves the prospect to the following steps. If you think the discovery call is successful, your goal should be to summarize the key areas that you believe your product or service will be of value to the prospect. Also, make sure you get a date and time locked down as this allows you to bring in other key stakeholders into the sales process.

Finally, always make sure to add value to the call by offering simple ways or recommendations to help. This can be achieved by focusing on understanding the customer's pain points, what they want to solve, and the factors that make their situations unique. This way, you can offer sound recommendations for the challenges or needs they have. Ultimately, you will leave the lead feeling optimistic about what you are selling, and if at the moment they are not ready to make a purchase, they will be more likely to seek you out when they are.