Which are the best questions to ask on a discovery call?

We saw on our last post what a discovery call is, how to get prepared for it and the best structure to impress your prospects and convert them onto customers. But there is one part, the Q&A time that needs some preparation.

You need to ask your prospect some questions to understand the problem and find the best solution. You will be qualifying your prospect with every question you ask; remember, this is a sales discovery call, so you will set the tone of all your relationship with that (potentially) new customer.

Success is just a few questions away. But before asking anything, let’s start setting the type of questions you will be asking.

Open-ended vs. closed-ended

There is no perfect balance between these two as it depends on your business area, your product and your sales workflow. However, we can tell you that some few closed-ended ones are good to start, as this will break the distance with your customer, and moving onto some open-ended is really useful as this will make your customer confident.

As told you, don’t overwhelm your prospect with too many closed-ended questions; you are not a cop on an interrogatory room.

As we identified some steps for your discovery calls on our last post, let’s find some questions you can make on this call. And take it as a process; on it, you will understand your potential customers and finding the best solution to them.

Introductory questions

These have to be ice-breaking. Of course, as this discovery call has to be a conversation, a good point to start can be asking about the company and the role that your speaker plays there. Also, don’t forget to set the tone of the conversation here and the agenda. This will be very useful as everyone has a lot to do.

Then you can move to the challenges they are facing and trying to solve with you and if they have previous experience with other solutions. If they had, you can try to find out here some good information about your competitors and what is failing with them, so you can then use that for following calls.

Questions could be:

  1. How about your company?
  2. What role you play in there?
  3. How did you find us?

Qualifying questions

Now you need to understand how interested on you is your prospect. You will try to find some information about the needs, the process to work and how your prospect will make a decision. This is key as you will be able to make some other questions depending on the answer you get. Our advice: use open questions. You will get some valuable information as your prospect is comfortable talking to you.

One advice: identify here pain points. This is the key part of your call and you have to prioritize it. Take notes, link questions, prepare for any answer and don’t start a demo if the call is not planned for that.

Some good questions to qualify your prospect are:

  1. What are your challenges?
  2. Have you tried to solve them before?
  3. If not, why?
  4. What will be the ideal solution for you and your daily workflow?

Disqualifying questions

Now you have to find if your prospect is really looking for a solution and potential issues that may raise if they finally choose you and your solution. This is not about contacts, but about how this will implement, if contacting you was planned or if your prospect is running a first search of solutions. Find out about how this lead may be interested in your product or service, maybe now, but maybe in a few weeks or months. Maybe previous qualification has been great, but here you find you won’t be signing a deal anytime soon.

Some questions that may disqualify your prospect can be:

  1. Do you have any available budget for this?
  2. Will you be taking the decision by your own or do how have to escalate it to another person/committee?
  3. When will you be implementing this?
  4. Do you have an internal team ready for implementation?

Follow-up

Of course, as this is a discovery call you need to move your prospect along your sales pipeline. You want your prospects to become deals and it’s almost impossible (at least on B2B) to get into a deal on this first call. So, you will be asking your prospect to have a future meeting, in the closer future or some time later.

E.g., you can ask the following:

  1. How about a meeting next week or the following one?
  2. Would you like to have another meeting with any of your colleagues or people that will be part of the implementation process?
  3. When would you be ready to reconnect?

All these questions will lead to a successful discovery call. And, remember, no matter the outcome or the qualification: send a follow up email about that conversation.