7 Discovery Call Mistakes: Which Ones Are You Making?

by | 2 minute read

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.

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jes­si­ca is a senior research ana­lyst for Sales­Fu­el focus­ing on sell­ing to SMB deci­sion mak­ers. She also reports on sales and pre­sen­ta­tion tips for Sales­Fu­el and Media Sales Today. Jes­si­ca is a grad­u­ate of Ohio Uni­ver­si­ty.