3 Types of Questions That Transform Leads to Sales


DISCOVER is an acronym for the eight purposes of asking questions. Yes, there are only eight purposes … only eight reasons that people ever ask questions. Sellers tend to focus primarily on three purposes: gathering data (D), identifying desired outcomes (O), and magnifying consequences ©. That means there are five types of questions most sellers seldom ask.

Sellers who want to be differentiated and are looking for ways to instantly create value for their buyers learn to use the other five types of questions. When they do, they gather information faster and zero in on sales opportunities efficiently and effectively.

Buyers respond favorably to these additional question types. They consider sellers who ask these questions to be more engaged and more trustworthy. They are more likely to buy from sellers who ask a variety of purposeful questions.

In our research with buyers, these three types of DISCOVER Questions® advance the sale and create buyer/​seller bonds. You can incorporate these into any sales process or any conversation with your buyers. When you do, you’ll soon see why this book has been rated one of “The Top 20 Most Highly-​Rated Sales Books of All Time” by HubSpot.

3 Types of Questions

Value Questions

(V in the acronym): These questions help you pinpoint what matters most to your buyer so you can craft solutions to deliver on the needs that are most urgent and pressing. Examples:

  • Of the needs you’ve described, which one is your top priority?
  • Tell me more about why reducing security risks matters so much to you.
  • What will it mean to you when this has been addressed and the new system is in place?

Rationale Questions

(R in the acronym): These questions help you (and your buyer!) understand what drives decisions, who will be involved in making decisions, and the process for decision-​making. Buyers often say that these questions are very valuable in giving them clarity they need to move forward. Examples:

  • What are the criteria you’ll use to select a vendor?
  • Tell me about the internal process here for making decisions about purchases like this.
  • Who will you be collaborating with to make your final decision?

Solution Questions

(S in the acronym): These are questions that plant seeds and open discussions. They help you get an early read on potential objections, too. Buyers enjoy the brainstorming and idea generation these questions stimulate. Examples:

  • What have you seen your peers and competitors do when faced with this situation?
  • What alternatives have you considered that would help you address this problem?
  • What are your thoughts about expedited delivery options?
Deb Calvert

Deb Calvert

Deb Calvert, “DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected” author and Top 50 Sales Influencer, is President of People First Productivity Solutions, a UC Berkeley instructor, and a former Sales/​Training Director of a Fortune 500 media company. She speaks and writes about the Stop Selling & Start Leading movement and offers sales training, coaching and consulting as well as leadership development programs. She is certified as an executive and sales coach by the ICF and is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge®. Deb has worked in every sector to build leadership capacity, team effectiveness and sales productivity with a “people first” approach.