7 Discovery Call Mistakes: Which Ones Are You Making?

BY Jessica Helinski
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What would you say is the most important part of the sales process? Richard Smith, co-​founder and Head of Sales for Refract​.ai, believes that discovery calls are most vital. In an article for Sales Hacker, Smith reasons that the discovery call can either make or break a relationship from the get-​go. “Get it right, and you could have a customer for life,” he explains. “Get it wrong, and… well… you could be done before you start.” But he reminds readers that simply making the call won’t guarantee success, as there are many potential pitfalls each time a rep picks up the phone. 

Smith details what he calls “7 deadly mistakes,” listing common mistakes he’s observed during discovery calls. Below is just one:

Combining discovery and demo

You’ve got the prospect on the phone, so what’s the harm in offering a demo while you have their attention? Despite industry debate over this topic, Smith firmly believes demos should be treated as their own scheduled, independent conversation. Why? Primarily because the discovery itself is so valuable that it shouldn’t be forced to share time with a demo. “When combined with a demo, the discovery gets rushed,” he explains. “Instead of being a thoughtful interview, it’s reduced to a handful (at best) of high-​level qualification questions. And by the way, those questions are actually more suited to a cold call.” 

Neither gets its due. The entire discovery call’s purpose is out the window and the demo, likely, was stripped down for time’ sake. The rep doesn’t uncover any pain points and the prospect is likely unimpressed. Even worse, the relationship may be over before it ever really started. As Smith points out, “Discovery should be about deciding whether your prospect even needs to see your product, or if your time is best spent elsewhere.

Curious about the other six mistakes? Take a look and accept Smith’s challenge of identifying any that you may have committed in the past. Most likely, you’ll find at least one bad discovery-​habit that you need to break.