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20 Questions to Ask on a Sales Discovery Call

Posted by Greg Schraff

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While the focus at digetry is lead generation, it certainly makes sense to cover related topics, such as what to do with a lead when you get one, how to turn leads into prospects, and once a prospect, questions to ask on the sales discovery call. sales discovery call_berkeley-communications-650145-unsplash_blog post

I work with small and mid-sized businesses that are successful but whose growth is stunted because they don’t have a plan or strategy for growth. All of their success to date, and growth, has been organic. At some point, however, organic growth fails to fuel a dynamic business’s engine. In order to get to the next level of success, the business needs a formal marketing and/or sales plan. Such a plan provides the strategy and tactics required for the business to scale. 

The type of marketing and sales plans that I provide are digital – that is, they help business grow online. So, depending upon your type of business, some of the questions I ask during my own sales discovery calls may be different than the ones you’d ask. That said, many of my questions are fairly universal to any discovery call and are applicable to most types of businesses and sales environments. (And remember, we’re dealing with small- to mid-sized businesses.)

Before I get to the questions, however, it’s important to first discuss what a successful outcome of a sales discovery call looks like.

For me, the purpose of a sales discovery call is to qualify the prospect and, if qualified, conclude the call with a request for a proposal. Ideally, a discovery call will either clearly surface a sales opportunity or definitively disqualify a prospect. You should come out of your calls with an understanding of your prospect’s needs and how you can help solve these needs. For me, I know I’ve had a good discovery call if I’m able to create a written sales plan and identify specific next steps to move that sales plan forward.

As such, my discovery call questions fall into two categories: those designed to qualify the prospect (Qualification Questions) and those designed to prompt a request for a proposal (Next Step Questions).

Qualification Questions

The purpose of these questions is to identify a pain point and flesh out potential solutions. It’s always good to hear your prospect articulate what they believe is the main purpose of their business, and starting at a high level allows you to drill down to the pain point(s) and puts the pain point(s) in context.

1. Tell me about your company.

2. What is your day-to-day role?

3. What is your ultimate business goal?

4. How is progress toward or achievement of this goal measured?

5. What is your biggest challenge in meeting this goal? / What could you be doing better?

6. What is the source of this challenge / problem?

7. Why hasn’t this challenge / problem been addressed before? Is it a priority to address it now?

8. What do you believe you should be doing differently?

9. What are potential solutions to this challenge / problem? And Why?


Next Step Questions

These questions are really only asked if the prospect is qualified.

10. Is there a plan in place to implement a solution / address this problem?

11. Do you have a timeline for coming up with a solution?

12. What are the roadblocks to implementing this plan?

13. Does this plan or approach have a budget?

14. Who owns or is responsible for this budget?

15. Who is involved in recommending a solution?

16. Who is involved in making a decision on a solution?

17, Is this a competitive situation? Who / what else are you considering as a solution?

18. What’s the process for actually purchasing the solution?

19. Are there any curveballs in the process?

20. How can I best work with you to make this process easy?

Regardless of the whether the prospect is sales ready or not, always add value to the discovery call. At the end of the day, you’re having a business conversation with your prospect – trying to understand how they do business and providing help by offering your subject matter expertise – providing a unique perspective that they might not have considered or known about before now. If they don’t end up buying at this point in time, if you make a positive impression you’ll be top of mind when they do end up down the road.

Let us know your thoughts on these questions, and tell us what your favorite discover call sales question is in the comment section below!



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Topics: Digital Strategy & Marketing

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