How to Ace Your Discovery Calls

BY Kathy Crosett
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Discovery calls. Where would you be without them? Certainly not in Hawaii – enjoying the surf and sand as part of the President’s Club. So how can you ace your discovery call?

The folks at Gong, a company that sells a service to help analyze sales conversations, recently studied what happens in a successful discovery call. The emphasis is on the word ‘call’ as so many discovery interactions are happening using the phone or web-​based tools like Zoom. Analysts reviewing this topic break the typical discovery call into three pieces.

You probably already know that your discovery call should start with a rapport-​building session. If you haven’t talked with the prospect previously, this step is crucial. Similarly, your training probably emphasized the importance of ending the call with a summary of what’s been discussed and a suggestion of next steps.

The meat of the discovery call happens in the middle of this conversation. This is when you ask the prospect about pain points or business issues. Analysts point out that the optimal number of issues to address is between two and four. If you only discuss one problem, the prospect may conclude your solution isn’t robust enough to help them. If you discuss too many issues, the prospect will feel overwhelmed. They may decide your solution is more than they can handle.

As you’re working through the call, keep another key detail in mind. Top sales reps in the Gong study spent equal amount of time talking and listening to the prospect. In a typical one-​hour discovery call, reps who aren’t as successful at getting prospects to the next step in the sales funnel often talk 72% of the time. All that talking doesn’t leave much time for prospects to describe the business problems they’re having.

If this sounds like you, ask a question during your next discovery call, and then wait. Be comfortable with the silence. Let the prospects fill that space with descriptions of what they need. Work toward a back-​and-​forth conversation. Once you master this tactic, you’ll be that much closer to the beach week in Maui.