questions to ask on every sales call

What is a Discovery Call

If you’ve been in sales for a while, you may already know that the discovery call — meaning the one that occurs after your initial contact with a prospect — is often the most critical step in the sales process. While you make your first impression on a prospect during the introductory call, it’s during the discovery call that you’ll set the stage for the relationship you’ll share with your prospect.

Discovery calls are critical because they give you the chance to get a full understanding of your prospect’s current situation. Just as importantly, a discovery call gives you the opportunity to demonstrate that you understand your prospect’s situation and you’re capable of making a professional determination about how your goods or services can help your prospect solve a problem.

Finally, a discovery call enables your prospect to get to know you, your company and your products or services and develop at least a rudimentary idea of how what you’re selling can improve their current situation.
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Sales Questions to Ask on a Discovery Call

While a lot can happen during a discovery call, a lot can also go wrong if you don’t ask the right questions. To get the call going in the right direction, here are some questions to ask on every sales call:

  • Why don’t you tell me about the critical role you play in your company? You can follow up this question by inquiring about what the person’s day-to-day activities and responsibilities are. By asking about your prospect’s roles and responsibilities, it shows that you recognize their importance to their company and you’re interested in what they do. When you have a firm understanding of what your prospect is responsible for, you’ll be better able to identify the specific products or services that will benefit them and avoid making recommendations that won’t help your prospect solve a problem.
  • What are your business goals as you move forward? By asking about a prospect’s goals, you can explain how your goods or services can help them achieve them when the time is right. You can also explain how the things you sell will continue to be relevant to your prospect’s success as they achieve their objectives in the future.
  • What are your most pressing priorities right now? While prospects have future goals, they also have immediate priorities that need to be addressed in the short-term. You can learn what these priorities are by asking about them. You can then create an opportunity to explain how your products or services can help your prospect manage and address their most pressing priorities.
A few other discovery questions include: 
  • What are your current goals?
  • How do you measure success?
  • What is your current biggest challenge?
  • Do you have any issues in [are related to your product]?
  • How is the issue affecting your team?
  • How are you currently handling it?
  • What do you think can be a better solution?
  • What’s the usual timeline to implement it?
  • What results are you expecting to see?
  • Why are you considering making changes now?
  • Have you considered a similar solution before?
  • Is there anything that could stop you from working with us?
  • What integrations are you looking for?
  • What is you priority for the quarter?
  • Do you have long-term plans in [area]?
  • What is you criteria for working with a vendor?
  • What’s your budget for this type of solution?

Inappropriate Sales Discovery Questions

Just as asking the right questions is important during a sales call, avoiding certain questions is equally important. Here are a few questions to avoid on a sales call:

  • How are you? Too many sales people attempt to start a conversation by asking how their prospects are doing. Your prospects are busy and used to salespeople asking them how they’re doing. Make yourself stand out from your competitors by asking a different opening question your prospects will actually want to answer. Ask if it’s still raining in their area of town, if they can hear you clearly or if their day is off to a fabulous start. Put simply, ask anything except what’s probably the most over-used leading question, “How are you?”
  • Will you transfer me to your boss? If you’ve just made a sales pitch to a gatekeeper who explained that they have to talk to their boss about your proposal, the worst thing you can do is ask to be transferred to the person’s boss. This will alienate the individual and may lead them to present your proposal to their boss in a negative light. Instead of asking to be transferred, ask the gatekeeper if you can help them sell their boss on your goods or services or if you reviewing your proposal with their boss would benefit the employee in any way.
  • When would you like me to contact you again? When you ask a prospect for a time when you can contact them again, you’re giving up control of the conversation. Instead of asking for a time that will be convenient, suggest a time that you’ll reach out to them again. Even if the time you suggest doesn’t work for your prospect, suggesting a time for a follow-up increases the likelihood that the person will recommend an alternative time to chat with you again.

How to Close The Call

There are four ways to effectively close a call. As a sales agents gets more experienced in sales they will be able to determine which one to use in each scenario. Lets briefly break them down: 
  1. The Assumptive Close – When the telemarketer uses a phrase that assumes the call is closing on a sale. (EX: What address would you like the product shipped to?)
  2. The Option Close – When the telemarketer uses a phrase that gives the recipient of the call a choice in the closing. (EX: Would you like to purchase through Credit Card or PayPal?)
  3. The Suggestion Close – When the telemarketer gives advice in favor of what the call recipient has already told them. (EX: Based on what you told me, it sounds like pricing package B would fit your time frame the best. Can I put you down for pricing package b?) 
  4. The Urgency Close – When the telemarketer uses a phrase to indicate a short timeline or the limited amount of a good deal. (EX: Keep in mind that this deal is only valid for today. If you would like, I can sign you up now.) 

While knowing questions you should and shouldn’t ask during a sales call is important for you to be successful, it’s just as vital that you have a high-quality list of sales leads. It won’t matter what questions you ask or avoid if the data on your list is inaccurate or it relates to a market other than your target market, after all. For high-quality, targeted lists, contact TelephoneLists.Biz now.