19 Discovery Questions You Need to Ask During Sales Calls
Sales discovery questions are a crucial component of any successful discovery call.
These questions help sales reps uncover key information about a prospect's needs, challenges, and goals, allowing them to tailor their pitch and build stronger relationships with potential customers.
However, not all sales discovery questions are created equal, and it's important to ask the right questions in order to get the most out of your discovery calls.
In this blog post, we'll cover 19 of the best sales discovery call questions you can ask on calls, as well as provide guidance on how to build a successful sales discovery strategy.
Whether you're a seasoned sales professional or just starting out, this post will provide you with the tools you need to turn every call into a successful call and win more deals.
What are sales discovery questions?
Sales discovery questions are open-ended questions that sales professionals use to gather information about a potential customer's needs, pain points, and goals.
These questions are designed to start a conversation and allow the sales rep to get to know the prospect on a deeper level.
The goal of sales discovery call questions is to uncover valuable information that can be used to tailor a sales pitch and offer a solution that meets the prospect's specific needs.
By asking the right sales discovery questions, sales professionals can build trust, establish credibility, and ultimately close more deals. Effective sales discovery questions are open-ended, focused on the prospect's needs, and encourage dialogue rather than one-word answers.
Just a quick side note!
If you'd like to know more about how B2B sales is evolving in 2023, read our post on the most impactful B2B sales trends in 2023!
What does the sales discovery process look like?
Usually, the sales discovery process includes mainly a sales rep asking a series of discovery call questions to the prospect.
These discovery call questions are designed to uncover the prospect's biggest challenges, their every pain point, and identify areas where your product or service can provide value.
Once your salespeople gather all the needed information, they can create a winning pitch and offer a solution that solves your prospect's specific problems.
The ultimate goal of the sales discovery process is to build the entire relationship with the prospect, build rapport with the prospect, and finally close more deals by offering a solution that meets the prospect's needs.
Here's what the sales discovery process looks like in a timeline:
1. Initial contact with the prospect
Your sales manager (or a sales rep) contacts the prospect and arranges a call or a live meeting. This is usually done through email, or by a quick invitational call (which could easily be a cold call).
2. Introduction and building rapport
In this stage, the salesperson introduces themselves, builds rapport with the prospect, and sets the stage for the rest of the sales discovery process.
3. Discovery questions
The salesperson now asks a series of probing questions, aiming to gather as much information about the prospect's needs, challenges, and goals.
4. Qualifying prospects
The truth is - most prospects won't fit your ideal customer profile. In this step, your reps need to assess whether the prospect is a good fit for your solutions.
5. Solution presentation
Once the prospect is qualified, it's time to present a potential solution. If your prospects are far down their buying process, there's a good chance you'll more easily meet their specific needs through your solution.
6. Objection handling
Now, customers will always have a set of their own questions they need to ask before they accept a sales opportunity. Ensure your sales teams are well prepared to handle any objection your prospect may have. Also, they'll need to be prepared to give additional information as needed, so they'll need to be well informed on all aspects of your solution.
The length of each stage varies, mostly depending on the complexity of your sales cycle and the level of prospect engagement. Regardless of its duration, the discovery process works the same way.
How to build a strategy for your customer discovery questions
Building the right strategy for a great discovery call campaign may seem daunting, but it all comes down to meaningful human interaction between you and someone who's interested in what you're selling.
Here are some of the best tips to nail down your discovery call and move forward through your sales process.
- Research your customer and their business before you call. Browse through their company website, learn how their business operates, and identify improvements your solution can bring (if possible, of course)
- Always start with open-ended questions. This will help you gain more insights into your customer's needs, goals, and biggest challenges
- Ask more questions to clarify any point that may have been a bit too complicated. This helps avoid any misunderstandings and will show your customers that you're actively engaged in their conversation
- Personalize questions for every customer. Research their industry, their business, and find out the specific needs the customer may have. If there are any common pain points in the industry, you can use that tailor more
- Be respectful of your customer's time. Keep your questions focused and concise - and avoid digressing or asking unnecessary questions
- Don't avoid asking difficult questions. If it seems that a certain question may be a bit uncomfortable to the customer, still, you need to ask it. Sometimes, these questions will reveal the most important info about your customer's needs
- Use your customer's responses to guide the conversation, rather than fully relying on your prepared agenda. Try to be flexible and adapt to your customer's interests throughout the entire call.
With these tips, you can now more easily build a strategy for your customer discovery questions.
But it would be hard without a set of predefined discovery questions you can simply include or exclude.
So, here are some of the best discovery call questions you can ask when on a sales call.
Best sales discovery questions you need to ask on calls
Asking the right questions is crucial in sales discovery calls to understand your potential customers' needs, challenges, and goals.
These conversations are an opportunity to build trust, establish rapport, and showcase your expertise. By asking effective questions, you can uncover valuable insights that will help you tailor your pitch and ultimately close the deal.
In this section, we'll provide you with a list of the best sales discovery questions that you should be asking on your calls to gain a deeper understanding of your prospects and their needs.
Also, throughout this section, we'll include some interesting statistics about discovery calls, so don't miss them!
Question #1: How did you hear about us?
By asking this simple question, you can easily find out which channel is the most effective for your business. Also, this question helps you get to the bottom of why the customer even reached out to you and what the customer may expect from your product.
Whenever you get the chance, be sure to ask this question. Especially if this is the first call.
Question #2: Talk me through the challenges you want to solve
An essential part of a great discovery call is to find out your prospect's pain points. By simply asking your prospects to walk you through their biggest challenges, you'll be able to identify exactly what kind of solution they need.
Question #3: What’s your current process for dealing with (specific challenge)?
This is perfect for finding out what's currently working for your prospects and what's not.
By knowing how their day-to-day work looks currently, you'll know how your product can help improve their current process.
Question #4: What solution are you currently using to do that? What’s not working well with that solution?
After you find out more about your prospect's situation, it's best to start with some probing questions. Find out what they don't like about their current solution, what needs still remain unfulfilled, and what will make them move to another solution provider.
It's like getting a firsthand review of a competitor's product. Pay close attention to all the pros and cons they mention.
Question #5: What kind of results do you expect to see from a new solution?
This is one of the best probing questions to start with. You'll find out how they measure success, which metrics they want to improve, and which KPIs are they struggling to hit.
Also, this will be the perfect opportunity to find out what kind of successful outcome are they looking for. In other words, you'll get to know what success looks like to them.
A quick side note.
If it's you, by any chance, who's looking for a new proposal solution, check out our buyer's guide to sales proposal tools!
Question #6: Why is this a priority for you?
The goal of this question is to understand the motivation behind your prospect's interest in your products. You'll find out how they make their decisions, what's driving these changes in their company, and what kind of potential solution will best suit their needs.
More importantly, you'll find out if your solution can meet their needs.
Question #7: What other solutions are you looking at? Why those?
When on a sales discovery call, you'll absolutely need to ask this question. Remember, there are many competitors looking to gain a new customer as well. With this question, you can get a sense of the customer's purchasing process and find out which factors are they prioritizing.
Whichever competitor they mention, avoid being confrontational or dismissive. Instead, look for gaps your product can fill and try to differentiate your solution from your competitors.
Question #8: How much would you be saving if you could solve (specific problem)?
It's crucial to understand the financial impact of the problem your potential customer is facing. You'll want to know how much money they're losing/spending due to specific business challenges and how much they can save if they find the right solution.
Be prepared to discuss ROI and specific amounts. For example, a great discovery question here would be:
"How much money would you be saving on customer support costs if you could reduce the number of support tickets by 50%?"
Let them know how your product can help them cut costs, and possibly even invite them to a product demo!
Question #9: What would a (percentage) increase in (metric) mean for your business?
This question gets your prospects to imagine a situation where their key metric is improved.
Also, this is a great opportunity for your sales reps to highlight how your solution helped other customers. Meaning, you can start building trust with your prospects during the discovery call.
If your sales team is offering a sales productivity tool, for example, they could ask the prospects something similar to this:
"What would a 30% increase in your close rate mean for your sales team"?
Question #10: What would success look like to you with a new solution?
When on a sales discovery call, one of your primary missions needs to be to find out what success means for your prospects. Even better if their vision of success includes using your solution.
This will make their purchase decision much easier, as they will already have in mind how your solution can help resolve their challenges.
Question #11: Can you talk me through the goals your company has for the upcoming year?
By finding out the goals your prospects have planned out for the next year, you'll find out if their goals match the products you're offering.
As you learn more about your potential client's goals, try to identify areas where your solution aligns with their main objectives.
Question #12: What are the main obstacles to these goals when it comes to (area related to your solution)?
For any sales discovery call to be successful, you'll want to find out if your solution can actually solve your customer's obstacles to some key goals.
If your product doesn't fit too well with your prospect's business, it's a good chance that their buyer's journey will continue with another brand. In that case, informing them that your solution may not solve all their challenges could be your best bet.
In this situation, being honest will greatly help you build rapport with the customer and establish yourself as a trusted advisor to their business.
Question #13: If you didn't choose a solution, do you have a plan in place to address this problem?
This may seem like a bit of a curveball question, but it's quite effective in helping you understand what's your prospect's plan B. If they don't have a backup plan in place, then finding a solution may be an urgent matter for them.
However, if they do have a plan, you'll need to find out why didn't they choose a product yet. Are they still looking at other options, waiting for a better time, or do they simply still have some concerns that need to be addressed?
Asking such follow-up questions will help you get a better sense of your prospect's needs.
Question #14: When was the last time you purchased a similar solution? Can you walk me through that process?
Asking about the customer's previous purchase experience is a great way to better understand their decision-making process. You'll find out:
- What are they looking for in a potential solution
- How far on their buyer's journey are they now
- What's needed to take them to the next stage of your sales pipeline
Question #15: If I had a solution that matches what you're looking for, who else needs to be part of this process?
This question is the one you need to ask to find out who is the decision maker.
If you're not talking to decision-makers, closing deals won't be an easy mission. The next best thing you can do is to find out who the budget owner is and how to reach him.
Many times, that will be a C-suite executive with several gatekeepers, so be sure to dig deeper and find out how to get in touch with them.
Question #16: What's the approximate budget for solving this problem?
Great discovery calls will always include questions on your prospect's purchase process, including the approximate budget they have in mind. Understanding the budget of your potential customer is valuable for two reasons:
- You can determine if your solution is a good fit, taking into account their financial situation
- You can better tailor your proposal to meet your customers' budgetary constraints
This question should come early in the discovery call, so you can more easily determine if the customer can even make the purchase decision, to begin with. You'll encounter many prospects who simply don't have the budget for your solutions but still want to hear more about your solutions.
They may not be ready to purchase right now, but they still make a fine addition to your sales pipeline.
Question #17: Assuming we finalize the pricing and financials—are you ready to move forward?
This one is as direct as it gets. If your prospect is ready to move forward through the buying process, you can expect a positive answer.
When asking this, be sure to use a confident and friendly tone. Still, avoid sounding too sales-y or desperate for the sale. Also, be sure to have the next steps clearly defined and communicate them as soon as the prospect confirms.
However, if the prospect says they're not ready to move forward, you should ask why and address any remaining concerns.
Question #18: Which aspects of a solution are the most important factors in deciding which product is right for you?
Understanding the right solution for your prospect is of incredible importance. Possibly one of the best discovery call tips would be – find out how does the right solution for your customer look like.
You may need to discuss certain features and functionalities, the level of support they need, the ease of use, integrations, and so on. Still, this is the perfect opportunity to position your product in a way that resonates with your prospect's needs.
Question #19: How do we get from where we are today to a signed contract?
To close the deal and get to a signed contract, you'll need to know a few things beforehand.
- Try to recap key points of the sales call
- If there are any objections, be sure to address them and offer solutions to any arising concerns
- Clearly discuss the next steps and try to move your prospects further through their decision-making process
- Confirm that you agree with the prospect on the proposed solution, pricing, and timeline
- Send the contract with clearly outlined pricing and timeline
- Always follow up, even a few times if necessary
In short, this is where your sales cycle ends and you finally have a new customer.
To get here, make sure you always know who the decision-makers are and that you're speaking with them.
P.S. If you need to follow up with your prospect after a discovery call, read our guide on how to send follow-up emails that can get you a better response rate.
Choose the right questions to win your next discovery call (and close more deals)
By investing time and energy in creating a successful discovery call strategy, you'll definitely know if the prospect is a good fit for your product.
This will help you spend more time on the prospects who are more likely to buy, further helping you even exceed your sales quota and become the top performer in your team.
And when you close the deal and agree to move on to the next stage, you'll need to create a winning sales proposal that can seal the deal. Luckily, this is where we can help!
With Propoze, you can cut the time spent creating proposals by 50% and get that new deal signed much faster. The best thing is - it's 100% free.
Here's the link where you can create your free account.
Also, if there's anything sales or proposal-related you need help with - let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be on it ASAP.
Follow us on our LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram accounts! We post regularly on proposal and sales-related topics.