Powerful Discovery Call Questions That Help Sellers Dig Deep

BY Jessica Helinski
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During discovery, asking questions should always be a priority; without the right questions, how do you “discover” anything valuable? The most successful sellers know that it’s not just asking discovery call questions that is important but also asking the right ones at the right time. 

Match discovery call questions with the buyer’s journey 

When discussing the topic of discovery, Gong.io’s Jonathan Costet stresses the importance of asking questions that align with each stage that prospect is in: “be sure to meet your prospect where they stand by matching your sales questions to the buyer’s journey,” he writes.

One way to do this is to be aware of what stage of the buyer’s journey the prospect is in and which questions are appropriate. For example, the best discovery call questions for those who are at the beginning of the journey involve uncovering latent pain. As Costet explains, “The buyer is aware they have a problem but is not quite ready to do anything about it. Said another way, their business challenge is an annoyance, but not something worth investing time/​resources/​money into … yet.”

Sellers should ask questions that focus on the buyer and inspire them to simply consider taking action. Costet recommends asking “you” questions to accomplish this, which includes:

  • What’s your biggest strategic priority for this year?
  • What initiatives are you rolling out as part of your plan?
  • Where are you in the process?

Is the prospect further into their journey, perhaps where they are considering your solution? Shift your discovery call questions. At this point, he explains, “Your job as a salesperson is to glean as much information as possible about their expectations.” He recommends asking questions like, 

  • What do you hope to achieve by implementing a solution?
  • What do you find the most interesting about this offering?
  • Walk me through how you purchased [incumbent].

Discovery questions that tap into psychology

Another way to craft effective discovery call questions is to ask ones that are influenced by psychology. As Amanda Levin wrote for SalesFuel, “The human mind is a powerful thing and a change as simple as word choice can greatly impact the result of your sales call.” Costet agrees and recommends using the “mirroring” technique, which involves repeating a prospect’s words back to them. “But,” as he points out, “it’s not just repeating a few words. You also need to turn their words into a question by upwardly inflecting their phrase, so it sounds like a question.”

For example, if a prospect mentions their inconsistent current vendor,” prod them further by responding with something like, “Your vendor is being inconsistent?” This subtle turn of their own phrase can really inspire not only more discussion of the topic but also a deeper connection with the prospect. 

Mirroring is effectively a shortcut to familiarity,” Doug Bonderud writes for HubSpot. It usually takes time to develop rapport naturally, so by [mirroring], salespeople can create a sense of familiarity quickly.”

Just be sure to keep your mirroring questions limited to one or two so that they come across as natural and not forced or redundant. 

Discovery is a vital step; maximize your efforts by asking quality discovery call questions. And for more advice on this topic, check out SalesFuel’s professional tips. Also, keep in mind that the best questions are fueled by pre-​call research. Download a free copy of The 7 C’s of Pre-​Call Intelligence.”

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio