Discovery Calls: Why They Matter & 3 Tips to Improve Them

discovery calls

Discovery calls can be exciting, informative and a push toward the next step in the sales process. If your calls don’t sound like this, it may be time to assess how you conduct them. There is so much more to discovery calls than picking up the phone and asking some questions. Understanding what a call is, what it should do, and how to lead one is a skill all reps must master to get the most out of those conversations.

With the right tools and approach though, sales discovery calls can help you build new relationships, strengthen your communication skills, get a better understanding of potential customer needs, and ultimately win new business,” explains Michael Hanson in an article for CloudTask. Hanson’s article shares tips to get the most from your discovery calls, including:

  1. Prescription Before Diagnosis is Malpractice”
  2. Say “No” to “Yes” or “No” Questions
  3. Resist the Urge to Coach

Discovery calls: What are they?

Successful calls will help you stand out from competitors and provide you with the knowledge needed to connect and help the prospect. But first, before you even pick up the phone, you need to understand what the call actually is.

Discovery calls, according to Hanson, “are your chance to get to know your prospect a bit better after they have shown initial interest in your product/​service.”

What you learn will set the stage and set you apart

And just why are they so important? So many opportunities to learn exist within these calls. Among other things, you can vet prospects, uncovering how good of a “fit” they would be; you can ask crucial questions to gain insight into their pain points/​goals/​etc.; and you can start building rapport and a foundation for a solid relationship.

As Anthony Iannarino points out in a Manage Smarter podcast, reps must use a collaborative approach to selling. That is what today’s buyer’s want, and the knowledge gained during discovery calls will set you apart from those using more old-​school tactics. “Discovery now is a collaborative endeavor,” he explains. SalesFuel CEO Lee Smith agrees, noting, “The salesperson's role now is to be something more than Google. We actually have to understand, ‘what are your challenges, your aspirations?’ [This knowledge leads to] here's how I can help and here's how you can use this product to get the results that you're looking for. "

3 tips to better discovery

Hanson shares multiple tips for getting the most from your discovery calls, as well as examples of questions to ask that can bring about valuable insights. Below are just three of his suggested tips:

  • Prescription Before Diagnosis is Malpractice.” Try to avoid going into calls with preconceived notions of who the prospect is and what they need. Likely, if you go in open-​minded, you will uncover pain points or goals you’d never considered.
  • Say “No” to “Yes” or “No” Questions. Open-​ended questions are a must to get a detailed, thoughtful response from prospects, and they encourage a more collaborative conversation.
  • Resist the Urge to Coach. Coaching works. But, during discovery calls, it’s time for the salesperson to learn. “The discovery call is about gathering information as a means to determining whether you’re a good fit; it’s not necessarily about providing a full strategic framework for the client,” Hanson explains. “You can empathize and connect without giving away the farm.”

If you are finding that your discovery calls are lacking, consider implementing Hanson’s suggestions. These calls can do so much; it’s just up to you to seize the opportunities to make them successful.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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 Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.