A discovery call is a big opportunity to capture a buyer’s interest and uncover if their business is worth pursuing. But keeping busy buyers on the phone is a major challenge.
As Mike Brooks writes for Sales Gravy, “No one likes to have their day interrupted with a call from a salesperson. But it’s demoralizing to make dial after dial, just to have every prospect hang up when you call them.”
The key to keeping prospects on the line is to grab their attention quickly–and then keep it.
Tips to Grab a Prospect’s Attention on a Discovery Call
Thankfully, there’s advice for making the most of the first few minutes of a call. And the foundation of that advice is approaching the call with a sense of curiosity.
“When reps take the role of a curious student rather than an informed expert, buyers are much more inclined to engage,” explains Hubspot’s Jeff Hoffman.
Immediately, lead the call with a humble sense of curiosity, which goes against the typical sales style of more aggressive tactics. Showing that you are curious about the prospect and their business, rather than just seeking a sale, will set you apart right away.
And don’t worry about undermining your credibility by not immediately touting it. Hoffman notes, “if you maintain confidence and courage alongside your curiosity, I guarantee you will grab and hold your buyer's attention.”
Don’t Start the Discovery Call With A Sales Pitch
Instead of quickly cramming what you want to say into the first 30 seconds, shift the focus to the prospect. “Reps are dying to deliver their pitches, but you‘d be wise to start your conversations with something about the prospect,” he writes.
This is where your pre-call research work comes into play. The questions you ask first must demonstrate that you have both knowledge and understanding of the prospect’s business.
As Paul Petrone, LinkedIn notes, what is “something top performers – i.e. reps who hit 150% of quota – do twice as often as their peers? Research. Meaningful, deep research into their prospects to find out about their business, their interests, and what’s driving them, both intrinsically and extrinsically.”
For guidance on how to effectively research before each discovery call, take a look at SalesFuel’s professional advice. And, download the free e‑book “The 7 C’s of Pre-Call Intelligence” to make sure you are uncovering and collecting the right information.
Then, once you’ve gathered your intelligence, use that knowledge to craft and deliver those first curiosity-driven questions. Keep in mind, too, that the most probing and effective questions are open-ended. For ideas on questions to begin with, and also tap into a little psychology, check out this post.
Go Ahead and Ask for More Time
Once you’ve used the beginning of the discovery call to ask your research-backed question, go ahead and make an ask. But instead of asking for another meeting or other bigger request, ask for more time.
“Every good sales call includes an ask,” writes Hoffman. “Does this mean you should use your 30 seconds to ask for a meeting? No — that's not enough time. Instead, ask for another two to three minutes to talk.”
You can even preface the ask by recognizing that they are likely busy and you’re interrupting. Acknowledging that the prospect is busy, and that your call is taking up their valuable time, immediately shows that you respect the buyer. And by requesting just a few more minutes of their time, you also come across as unpresumptuous.
With these basic tips, you’re ready to make the most of that first minute or so of a discovery call. You’ll not only get the prospect’s attention, but you’ll also demonstrate admirable traits (like respect, curiosity and empathy) that will make them want to hear what you have to say.
Photo by Antoni Shkraba