If you have been in sales for any given point in time, you typically have a sales process that starts when somebody expresses some form of interest in your product, service, or offer.
This can either be inbound where they’ve reached out to you, or it can be outbound where you reached out to them. Bottom line is, that they’ve agreed to have a meeting with you.
And now you’re nervous. But relax, I got you. We’re going to discuss how to break down and deliver a discovery call that sells every time!
The Biggest Mistakes in Sales Discovery Call
Don’t make the mistake of treating the discovery call like a sales presentation. That single mistake is costing you thousands of dollars in commissionable income.
Now, when you get to this meeting, you would want to tell your prospect how amazing your company is, the features and benefits of working with you, and your products… And that’s the biggest mistake you’re making.
The Discovery Call that Sells
You have to have a plan in advance before you start your call. Even if you feel comfortable in everything you know, don’t wing it.
Take the time and do the pre-call plan. This means don’t ask questions that are available online. Or the ones that are easily accessible on LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo, or whatever other media source that is on the company website of your prospect. Do that due diligence in advance.
Because you can now pick the stories you’re going to share that build credibility in you. Every good discovery call has a balancing act of questions and conversations and stories. 55% or more to the prospect with 45% coming to the sales professional. By doing the research and the pre-call plan, you can have stories and engaging questions that keep the conversation going.
The best sales professionals share two to four stories during a discovery call, with an ideal timing of anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes.
Giving Value vs Building Rapport
Many sales professionals go to a discovery call with the idea that they first must build rapport, and develop small talk. People buy from people they like and trust, right? We’ve all heard that before. But that statement is a little overplayed out. Because my like and trust in you as a sales professional comes from the ability of the value you can give me. If I like you and you can’t give me anything that I’m looking for, then I’m not going to buy it.
So don’t put all this pressure on building rapport that isn’t authentic. Building some small talk is okay, but in building that small talk, here’s the one question you have to ask:
“Do you mind if I ask you some additional questions about your business so I can gain a better understanding of what we’re doing here today?”
You have to get permission to ask more additional questions. So you give yourself a freebie to ask as many direct questions as you can later.
Then set the agenda for the rest of your time together. Put a time frame so your prospect is aware of how much time you’ll be speaking together. Ex:
“Mr. Jones, do you mind if I ask you some questions about your business? So I can gain a broader understanding of the situation we’re in today.”
“Of course, no problem.”
“Great. Just to set the agenda here, we’re going to spend about 20 to 30 minutes of me asking some questions. Feel free to fire any questions back. In the end, we’ll take an agreed-upon or out of action.”
But if your prospect says, “actually, I have a hard stop in 30 minutes.” You now know at what speed you have to work this discovery call.
Asking the Right Questions
You would want to gain an understanding of the situation at hand. You would want the 30,000 view of the situation that you are walking into.
Uncover the pain. Once you gain an understanding of the situation, you want to identify the pain that your prospect is experiencing. So a good discovery question is going to uncover that pain so you can solve it.
Identify the impact of the pain. How is this pain impacting their business? How is this pain impacting them? Their growth? You want to gain full clarity of the pain and the impact it’s having on their business. How did this affect last year’s performance? How did this improve? Or how would this improve X-Y-Z?
Have a sense of urgency. Good sales reps will identify the impact of the pain. And the best sales reps will identify the urgency that the prospect has in solving the pain. Because if the prospect has urgency in solving this pain, then you need to push the sales process at an accelerated rate.
Quantify the pain and get the prospect to acknowledge the impact. You’re simply saying that if your prospect has a problem that is costing time or money, how much money is that problem costing their business? How much money did it cost them in the past twelve months? Ex:
“Mr. Prospect, just so I’m clear, the current method you’re using for your bookkeeping service is costing you to spend an additional 40 hours a week of manual labor, putting your receipts together. So that’s 40 hours a week. Times 52 weeks, it’s like a $100,000 problem, would you agree?”
So you just got the prospect to acknowledge the pain, acknowledge the impact of the pain, and acknowledge the quantifiable metrics associated with that pain. That strategy will make your sales discovery call one of the best your prospects have ever been on.
The Next Steps
Now, after you gain all that information from your discovery questions, it’s time to move the process forward. AVOID going through a discovery call with a very weak conclusion of that call. It sounds like this:
“I’ll email you some info later.” or “I’ll call you next week to schedule a meeting.”
Instead, move the sales process forward after the call by putting it in the schedule and creating many accountability steps (your deliverables) in the middle.
“Great, we’re scheduled to meet next Thursday at 07:00 p.m. I’m going to shoot you a text right now with my cell phone number. Let me know that it’s you. I just want to make sure I don’t miss it.”
Then prior to your next meeting, send your prospects whatever deliverables you have.
“I’m going to go ahead and send it to you a week in advance so you can review the slide deck. We’ll discuss Thursday. I’ll see you then. And at that point, the appointment is on the calendar.”
The Million Dollar Question
Your prospect invested their time to be with you. And since their time is their most valuable resource, you need to find out one fundamental piece of information. This question will also help shape the rest of the discovery call. And you typically ask this question very early in the discovery call because it tells you how to frame the rest of your questions.
“Prospect, thank you for agreeing to meet with me today. By the way, what are you hoping to learn from our time together today?”
“what objective are you trying to accomplish in our time today?”
This instantly tells you what is important for your prospect and their company.