If you have ever asked someone for their phone number and then got all ached up before that first call, then you know how stressful that first call can be. But you also know how important it is to pick up the phone, make the call, break that ice and get to know someone.

The same process happens in business and it is called a discovery call. While they may be somewhat daunting to people, they are crucial when it comes to building a relationship with your leads. A discovery call is your best chance to get to know your prospect and introduce them to your business. A discovery call also gives you the opportunity to ask your prospects any and all questions about their goals and needs.

The info you get during discovery calls can be helpful throughout the entire sales process. With the info in hand, you can explain how your business can help solve the prospect’s specific issues instead of giving them a general pitch, like so many others do. 

In this post, we will teach you all you need to know about making a discovery call so that you are prepared to set the tone for the rest of your relationship with prospects and leave a great first impression on your new leads.

What is a discovery call?

The best way to answer the what is a discovery call question, is to first define it. A discovery call is a first conversation between a company’s sales rep and a prospect they are interested in pursuing. However, a discovery phone call is much more. In today’s market, where your prospects are getting bombarded with marketing campaigns and sales messages left and right, a discovery call is your opportunity to connect with prospects better than any presentations and gimmicks.

There are two possible goals for every discovery phone call. You can either qualify a prospect during the call by discovering a sales opportunity or you can disqualify them and don’t waste anyone’s time in the future. Basically, if you don’t figure out exactly what your prospects need and continue to fill them with info about your products or services, you will most likely just waste everyone’s time. 

To prevent this from happening, you need to close qualified prospects right on the call. Time wasted on unqualified prospects adds up pretty quickly, so it is in your best interest to understand how to properly execute a discovery phone call with your prospects. Here is what you should do.

How to do a discovery call?

To have a great discovery call and make a great impression on your prospect, there are a few things you can do.

1. Make sure that all your practicalities are in order

Before making the call with a prospect, you need to do everything that is in your power to minimize the possibility of technical and other similar issues. We have all been on those problematic calls that take way too long just to make sure that everything is set up correctly. To avoid this from happening during your calls, here is what to do:

  • Find the right platform for your call – For example, your team may prefer to use Google Meet for discovery calls, maybe your prospect likes or is more used to Zoom or any other platform. To ensure that you and the prospect are on the same page, ask them how they would prefer to connect with you or at least send clear and easy to follow instructions if you plan on using any tools they are unfamiliar with. While video call is usually the best option if you want to connect with an audience, your prospect might prefer to use the phone. Whatever they prefer, try to grant them their wish or at least make it as easy as possible for them to connect with you. A great platform for your discovery calls is Ringblaze, the platform we built. By using Ringblaze and our smart dashboard, your different managers will be able to collaborate with each other and thus never lose any prospects. Also, by having your call history and prospect info in one place, you eliminate the possibility to bother the same people with similar calls from multiple agents.
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  • Send your prospect a detailed calendar invite – To improve your chances of the prospect actually showing up for the discovery call, the call needs to be on their agenda. While your calendar invite can only provide the time of the discovery call, it should not. Instead, the invite should also have the agenda and specify who the customer will be speaking with. You can include a brief introduction of yourself, your title and a link to your website or LinkedIn profile. The last thing you want to do is have them look at the caller ID and have no idea who is calling when making the discovery call or forward the call to someone else.
  • Share your document beforehand – While we said that the discovery call should not be the place for the prospect to read your presentation, you still need to send them any document presenting your products or services. There are two ways to share this: in the calendar invite together with your intro or in an email a day before your discovery call is scheduled. 

2. Get to know your prospect before the call

Just like the prospect should get to know you before the call, it is also your job to ensure that you familiarize yourself with them. While you definitely did some research before reaching out and setting up the call, you still need to set aside some time for the proper intro to them. Some of the areas you should focus on are their social media, their company’s info and similar customers you might have:

  • Social media – Make sure you look into them online and try to find any news or topics they have recently talked about. This will bring you closer and the prospect will know what you have actually invested your time and resources into them, instead of picking them at random.
  • Research the company By using sites such as Crunchbase, you can quickly find info about the company’s fundings, the number of their employees, their location and more. If you are familiar with the company before the call, it will resonate better with your prospect.
  • Similar customers – If you’ve worked with similar customers or industries before, make sure that you refresh your knowledge about them. It can be a huge help if you can provide examples and success stories from real life, especially if it is your company that did it. If you have a case study at hand or if you can use a slide from one of your other decks — even better.

3. Get the intro right

Now that you have everything prepared, you are ready to make the call. However, you might not know what to do. If you have never spoken to someone before, it is important to first ease the prospect into the conversation with a great intro. This will make your communication smoother and you will minimize the chances of having to battle with awkward silence.

  • Thank the prospect – Before the first step, make sure you arrive on time. Just after the prospect has taken the call, say a simple “Thank you.” This simple phrase can thank them for multiple things — taking the time to speak with you today, thanking them for taking that specific time for the call or any of the other reasons relevant to the specific prospect.
  • Establish the time – While you have set a calendar invite with the specified time, you should repeat it to the prospect at the start of the call. It will help them put the call into the perspective of their day. Also, make sure that you ask them if they are okay with the set duration.
  • Talk about your agenda – It is a great practice to explain what you will be covering during the discovery call and why. Make sure that the prospect is familiar with the high level structure of your conversation.
  • Quickly introduce yourself and ask them to do the same – Say your name and talk a bit about your background and the company you are doing the discovery call for. Invite them to do the same and ask what they are looking to gain of the call.
  • You are ready to start with the presentation and questions – Once all the previous steps have been completed, you are ready to start the real discovery call. Try to piggyback off what they are looking to gain from today’s discovery call. 

4. Ask the right questions

The discovery call questions you ask during the call can be of a huge help in closing qualified prospects on the call. Because of this, make sure that you choose your discovery questions for sales wisely. You need to use the answers to your questions to help you figure out the prospect’s reason for taking the call with you and how your business can help solve their pain points. 

While you may think that a discovery call template would be of better help, the truth is that it is not possible to make a good discovery call template. Each one should be unique and tailored to the specific prospect, their angle and their issues. Instead, here are some questions to help you explore your prospect’s situation and qualify them right on the spot. You can think of them as discovery customer service questions, as the goal is to help you figure out how to provide the best possible customer service for your prospect down the road.

Questions to help set the stage during the call

You should open with one of these questions, as it will both help you see how you did on your research of the prospect and learn more about their current situation. With this question, you will be able to more easily formulate your situation moving forward.

  1. Can you tell me a bit more about your company?
  2. Can you talk about your role in the company and what you do day-to-day?
  3. What metrics are you responsible for in the company?

Questions that qualify the prospect

After you have learned more about the prospect and their current situation, the answers to the next set of questions you should ask should help you identify their goals and pain points, as well as tell you how your business fits in with them. The answers should help you figure out how your products or services solve the problems for them.

  1. Can you tell me your current goals and when do you need to achieve them? 
  2. What problem are you trying to solve?
  3. Are you having problems in [an area related to your product and services]?
  4. What is your priority today and why?
  5. If you don’t choose a solution today, do you have a plan in motion to help address this problem?

Questions that disqualify the prospect

After you have asked all the questions to help qualify the prospect, you need to ask questions that might disqualify them. Find out as much as you can about their entire decision process. 

  1. What is your timeline for implementing a solution?
  2. Are there any known roadblocks? 
  3. Is this problem funded? If it is, where does the budget come from?

Closing or next step questions

After you have found as much as you can about their prospect, how you can qualify and disqualify them, you need to ask questions that will help move the prospect along your sales pipeline. This is the time to provide a solution and offer the next steps.

Are there any more people that will be making the decision about the product or service provider?

  1. Have you purchased a similar product or a service before?
  2. Are we up against other providers?
  3. Are there any potential curveballs? If there are, how can I help make this easy for everyone?
  4. How will our solution make your life better?
  5. What are you looking to get out of our solution in the next year?

5. Record the call

If possible, make sure you enable call recording. It can help you analyze the current discovery call and see how you did. Recording the call can also help you create scripts and prompts for future calls or when you decide to scale up the operation. With Ringblaze, you can quickly and easily record all your calls. 

Final thoughts

The best way to know if you had a good discovery call is if you and your prospect can formulate a sales plan at the end of the call. If there are still some uncertainties after you have ended the call, the chances are you do not have the deal.  

The goal of the discovery call is to clearly find a sales opportunity for your business or disqualify a prospect. You should come out of the call with confidence and an understanding of your prospect’s needs and how you can help solve them. 

One final tip — do your best to impress the prospect, as they will be more likely to reach back to you, even if they are not ready at the moment. 

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