Earlier this week we talked all about the discovery call. What it is, what it isn’t, the types of questions to ask, and different approaches to take to land more clients or customers.
Today we’re getting down to brass tacks. I’m going to share the top 10 questions to ask in your discovery calls. And I’ll aim to drive home the most important principles to follow.
These questions are all designed to get at the source of the problem and communicate to your prospect that you genuinely care about their business outcomes. (Because you do!)
And while it’s not necessary to ask ALL of the questions below, just be sure you’re hitting on most of them in your calls… or at least some variation of them. It’s an art, not a science.
Finally, before digging in, you have to remember the threefold purpose of the discovery call. The reason why we even make these calls is to:
- See if you can even help the prospect and if there’s a potential fit
- Qualify prospect to ensure they are your ICP, or ideal customer persona
- Gain valuable intel to help close the deal later
So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
10 Discovery Call Questions You Should Be Asking
- Tell me about your role in the company. What does your day-to-day look like?
Notice how I didn’t ask, “Tell me about your company?” That’s because you already know about their company from your research. (Never waste their time or your time.) But you probably don’t know much about their specific role and responsibilities. So now’s the time to ask. Listen carefully when they describe their day-to-day role and responsibilities, as this is what you want your product or service to improve.
- Share with me your #1 goal this year (or this quarter)?
This one seems obvious on the surface, but there’s more to it. First, you want to know about your prospect’s goals and begin thinking about how your offer can help them achieve/exceed these goals. But pay close attention to your prospect’s tonality (vocal inflection) and other verbal and nonverbal cues. They might rattle off 3-5 goals, but if you listen closely you’ll be able to identify the single most important thing to them as it pertains to their job. Write this down!
- What are the key metrics that you’re responsible for?
You could be even more specific and ask for their “three” key metrics. The point here is to see what moves the needle in their world. And don’t just assume you know what these metrics are. For example, depending on company structure and size, someone in marketing might be responsible for certain sales metrics, and vice versa. You need to know these key metrics to effectively match your offer to your prospect’s needs.
- How long have you been searching for a solution, and what made you get in touch?
Now you’re starting to really take their temperature. Listen for buying signals here. If they say something like, “Well, we weren’t even on the market, but you called and here we are…” then you’re still very early on in the sales process. But they might say, “We’ve been looking for 6 months,” which means your prospect is serious about finding a solution. And listen for frustration in their voice — it hurts to go on for so many months (or years!) with the same pain points.
- Why is solving [X pain point] a priority today? What would happen if you were to put it off for another year or two?
Now we’re starting to get to the heart of the matter. The answer to this question will give you insight into your prospect’s biggest pain point, challenges, and frustrations. Be sure to jot this down (better yet, record it) so that you or the AE can use his exact words when it comes time to close the deal. Of course, we can’t just leave our prospect in a state of pain and anxiety over the future. So the reassurance of success comes next!
- What would a successful partnership look like?
Get it straight from the Horse’s mouth! Let your prospect tell you exactly what success looks like working with you. They’ll often underestimate your abilities to improve their situation, so this will become leverage for eventually increasing your rates with them, cross-selling products/services, asking them for referrals, etc. For instance, if they say “Success looks like a 5% reduction in X costs, and you reduce X costs by 20%, you now have loads of leverage and negotiation power. And again, this is all intel you can use later in the sales process, in the demo meeting, during closing, etc.
- What are you and/or your CEO looking for in respect to timeline of implementation?
This is another important question to ask. So far, our discovery questions are covering the B.A.N.T. qualifying criteria fairly naturally. But this question needs to be explicit and to the point. Timing can be tricky, and it’s important to be on the same page as your prospect about it! If you hear something like “We want this implemented ASAP,” well that’s a buying signal. They’re chomping at the bit to move forward.
- What’s your company’s budget for solving this pressing problem?
Here’s perhaps the hardest question to ask. But I recommend ripping it off like a bandaid. So don’t say “what’s your approximate budget.” Just get their budget like the professional you are. They will most likely appreciate your candidness here. And honestly, prospects like to talk about money — it helps them to see how your offer fits into their overall budget and business goals. So again, don’t shy away from the hard numbers.
- Is there anyone else in the company that needs to be included in the decision-making process?
This question will ensure you don’t waste your time on calls without a decision maker present who can actually make a decision. Within the B.A.N.T. framework, this is the Authority you need to proceed with the sales process. If you don’t have someone on the demo or sales call with the authority to make a buying decision, then just don’t hold the meeting. It’s that simple. Or, better stated, do everything in your power to get the decision maker to attend that next meeting!
- Is your calendar open? How does this Thursday at 2pm sound? Great, sending the invite now… Just sent!
You have to cover next steps before getting off the phone or leaving the room. And this has to be ultra-specific. Day, time, etc. And put it on the calendar so that everyone’s on the same page. Now wait on the phone until they accept the meeting invite. I know this sounds a little over the top, but otherwise you risk the meeting invite falling through the cracks, as the C-suite is busier than ever these days. Get it on the books!
So there you have it, the 10 questions to ask in your next discovery call. Of course, you don’t have to ask every one of these questions — but these 10 questions sum up the information/intel that you must know going into the sales call.
And one final tip — be sure that you’re not just asking questions like an impersonal robot and then sitting there quietly twiddling your thumbs. Give your prospect some validation that their answers are spot-on. Give them some verbal and non-verbal cues that you’re on the same wavelength. Remember, this is a two-way discussion meant to build trust and rapport. So do your best to put your prospect at ease.
With that, it’s time to get out there and start CRUSHING your discovery calls to land more clients. You’ve got this.
Until next time…