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How to do it properly? What Questions to Avoid in a Discovery Call

The discovery call is an important part of your sales process. This meeting will allow you to learn about their needs and see if there’s a fit for what they need from YOU, which means it can’t hurt that much when we do things correctly!

What is a discovery call (and what it is not)

A discovery call is not just about trying hard to sell and seal a deal. In today’s modern world, people would favor a respectful conversation. This is your opportunity to uncover information about your prospect that isn’t readily available online. Don’t blow it up by asking questions that can be found online!

When it comes to sales, discovery calls are essential to close the deal. To have a productive and successful call, there are three key things to keep in mind: finding out what’s important to the prospect, asking the right questions, and not trying to pitch your product too early. By taking the time to learn about what matters to the customer, you will be able to better tailor your pitch and show how your product or service can truly benefit them.

Additionally, asking probing questions throughout the conversation will help to uncover any objections that they may have. By following these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master of discovery calls!

The three fundamentals of a good discovery question

A good discovery question is essential to uncovering the needs and motivations of your prospect.

  • It is an open-ended question, you can avoid getting stuck if your prospect gives you an answer you weren’t expecting. And by asking an open-ended question, you can get your prospect talking and gain valuable insights into their needs and wants.
  • It is an education-based question, where you can show your prospect that you have done your research and are prepared to offer a tailored solution.
  • It is a strategic question, you can take your prospect on a journey that will encourage them to say yes to your service. By following these three fundamentals, you can ensure that your discovery questions are effective in uncovering the needs of your prospect.

In addition, a good discovery question is not boring. Asking boring questions will not only make you lose credibility, but it will also make it difficult for your audience to pay attention. This is your opportunity to stand out and shine bright, so make sure your questions are worthy of your audience’s time and attention.

What not to ask and what to ask instead

Sleazy sales question #1:  “Mr. Jones, tell me more about your company and your role” This is like telling your prospect that you didn’t prepare for your meeting and they don’t deserve your time!

What you should ask: “Mr. Jones, I’m making sure we are in alignment. I’ve seen that you have worked with XYZ company for ten years and oversee the marketing department. What are you hoping to uncover from our time today?” 

It’s important to ask in any way what your prospect expects or hopes to uncover from your meeting. This way, you can now drive the conversation by knowing what is important to your prospect.

Sleazy sales question #2: “What challenges are keeping you up at night?” This won’t be answered authentically because your prospect just met you.

What you should ask: “Mr. Jones, what prompted you to reach out to us/ accept this meeting today?” This will not only tell you what’s important to them but would also prompt them to share with you the challenges they are having.

Sleazy sales question #3: “So Mr. Jones, tell me about your goals.” You barely know your prospect! Asking about their goals would feel like a forced relationship and not a relationship that flowed from working together based on value.

What you should ask: “Can you tell me a little MORE about XYZ that prompted you to this meeting?” This would prompt them to share more details about the solution they hope to find.

Sleazy sales question #4: “What’s keeping you from achieving these goals?” Avoid this question if you want your prospect to feel acknowledged and listened to.

What you should ask: “Just to clarify Mr. Jones, you just said XYZ (list of their problems). How is this impacting you and your business?” This way, your prospect would comfortably tell you what’s preventing them from achieving their goals.

Sleazy sales question #5: “What happens when your problems go unresolved?” This is insulting. Don’t ask this question but extract this information instead.

Thus reiterate their concern back to them (acknowledging you heard their problem) and then…

What you should ask: “What is your timeline for fixing this issue?”

Sleazy sales question #6: “Who is involved in the decision-making process?” It’s like non-aggressively questioning the person in front of you if they should be the one in the meeting or not.

What you should ask:  “Can you share with me what factors are important in selecting your solution?” They will then list the things that are important to them and to someone who is not there.

You can uncover the details of who is involved in the decision strategically through a follow-up: “Is this information also important to anybody making this decision?”

Sleazy sales question #7:  “So, if we can find a solution that fits, what will it take to earn your business today?” This line doesn’t work for today’s consumers. Instead, you want them to tell you what would make them want to work with you.

What you should ask: “Thank you for sharing that information. We would want to work on this. What do you recommend I share with you first?” This would make them tell you the most important thing they want from this call.

The best salespeople are always asking questions. It’s how they learn about their customers’ needs and pain points, and it’s how they build relationships. But not all questions are created equal. On a discovery call – the first call with a potential customer – you need to ask questions that will help you understand their problem and how you can solve it. That means extracting information, building an authentic relationship, and letting them tell you how you can help. By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to close more deals and grow your business!

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