The Ultimate Guide To A Sales Discovery Call


Wouldn’t be great if all sales professionals had an easy-to-follow formula on how to win at making sales discovery calls? Whether you're a sales rep just starting out, or an experienced sales leader, that’s exactly what we are going to provide you.

It’s not a simple process to qualify a lead. Did you know that according to a study of over 400 salespeople at least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell!

Getting the most from your sales discovery call can;

  • Save time for your sales team by working on the sales opportunity that will most likely close.
  • Create a great first impression and set the tone for the entire business relationship.
  • Offer a great opportunity to build awareness and connect during the sales process, when they’re first learning about the product.

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Our ultimate sales discovery call guide with 9 key areas to help you structure and ask the right questions:

  • What is a discovery call? 
  • How to structure a sales discovery call?
  • Best practice for discovery call introductions.
  • Sales discovery call questions to include in your next meeting.
  • How to provide a solution to any problems found during the discovery call.
  • Case study examples in your discovery calls. 
  • How to close a discovery call #nextsteps?
  • Reviewing discovery calls for self-coaching: Using sales call analysis software.
  • How to stay motivated when making sales discovery calls.

What is a discovery call?

It’s likely you have tried a few times to set up a scheduled video or telephone meeting with your prospect (especially if you are working remotely due to COVID-19). 

Finally, your target has agreed to an appropriate day and time and you want to ensure your first conversation is meaningful.

Arguably, this meeting is the most important part of the sales process. The discovery call is your chance to ask qualifying questions that you couldn’t answer after your initial research.

These conversations will qualify their needs and goals and allow you to determine if the prospect is the right fit for what you’re selling. 

Diving deep to understand the situation, without interrogation or seeming too pushy is a fine skill to master. Coaching or training can help here if it’s something your sales rep needs to work on. Find out more about how to coach here.

The discovery call should leave a good impression. It’s a two-way conversation so you should give them the opportunity to ask questions. Perhaps they’ve already spoken to your competitors and want to compare and discuss your USPs.

Be ready with a well-rehearsed plan to answer this. If you know your stuff, you can build-up trust and assure them you understand their issues and you have the best product or solution to help them. 

4 things you should know at the end of your discovery call

  1. Is the prospect a good or bad fit for your offering?
  2. Do you understand their problem and/or buying journey and/or timeline? 
  3. Should another decision-maker be included in the process?
  4. Do you know what the next steps are and are you ready to discuss them with your sales team?

How to structure a sales discovery call

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare before the call. Allocate a set amount of time on researching everything on Google and LinkedIn about the prospect and company. List some specific questions that will help you understand their emotional drivers so you can pitch with relevance.
  2. Plan a method to develop a tone or style appropriate that will engage with the customer. Speak to them in a language they will understand. For example, if they are a SaaS tech company in B2B sales your approach might be different from a financial institution. 
  3. Consider sending a quick video or email prior to the meeting confirming the agenda of the discovery call. Ask them a few questions in a survey about their goals or if there is anything they would like to discuss. This is important for both of you to ensure the best use of time.
  4. Ask the customer open-ended questions that confirm your background research and explore their requirements further. It’s here where you can find out any challenges they’re facing and see how your product can help them.
  5. It goes without saying that you should have rehearsed your elevator pitch and how your product can help them. If relevant, reveal how you have helped a similar customer with the same problem to show you're listening to their needs. They are more likely to gain trust in you if you have taken the time to understand what they are saying.
  6. End your conversation by discussing the next steps. Will you be introducing them to another sales rep in your team? 
  7. Would they benefit from a product demo? Do you need to get back to them on any questions you couldn’t answer? Have you scheduled your next meeting?
  8. End on a positive note. Even if the customer isn’t ready to progress right now, you never know what the future holds. Building great working relationships are key to business growth and success. 

Best practice discovery call introduction for your meeting

You have a matter of seconds to get people’s attention. The opening lines in a conversation when you introduce yourself can make a big impact on whether or not the prospect will engage with you. 

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Make sure you are true to yourself. Being authentic and confident is the best way to build a relationship. The introduction should focus on them and not you. Practising in front of a mirror or with a sales coach can help you combat any nerves and help you feel prepared.  

Sales discovery call questions to include in your next meeting

  • What are your overarching goals this year? It creates purpose to the question a bit more
  • What are your current pain points?
  • What does success look like to you?
  • Have you looked at anything else similar on the market?
  • How long have they been searching for something?
  • Have they spoken to anyone else yet?
  • Have you tried anything to solve this problem? Did it help?

Presenting solutions to problems

The discovery call is all about finding out what your prospect needs, and recommending the right product and or solution to help them. Hopefully, your service is exactly the answer to their prayers.

Good listening skills, showing empathy, and knowledge of the individual challenges they face can help you present solutions to their problems.

It’s also worth bringing up any pain-points and dealing with them head-on. One method of doing this is by providing case studies or testimonials of any businesses you have worked with and found a solution to the same problem.

Case study examples in your discovery calls from the Jiminny sales team

  • Speak to your prospect about other companies with a similar size you have helped
  • Speak to your prospect about companies in the same industry you have helped
  • Speak to your prospect about any mutual connections you have helped
  • Share any relevant testimonials or customer reviews

What to include when closing a discovery call? Next steps.

If you have scheduled 45 minutes you want to leave some time to wrap up, discuss next steps and answer questions. You need to make a judgment call on the time. Listening to your teams’ discovery calls helps with this.

Sometimes it’s easy, the customer is really excited and is asking you how they can proceed so knowing how to close the deal is important. You’ve got a hot lead here so make sure you have all the tools and details needed to follow the process through to the end.

Other times your persuasion skills are put to the test. If you still think your product or service would be beneficial to them, consider how you can build value and trust in giving this a go. 

When thinking about the next steps, prior to the meeting, you can discuss various scenarios of what to do if certain events happen.

For example, would you put the customer on a 30-day free trial? This could give you the opportunity to convince them differently. 

Your customer success team can get involved and work with you to build trust and connection that wins the deal. 

If the timing isn't right, perhaps schedule a time in the next few months to see if your product is a more viable option then.

Whatever sales process you and your team have discussed, having a strong discovery call and closing on a positive note will set the tone for the rest of your working relationship.

How to review your discovery call for self-coaching with sales call analysis software?

If you practice, rehearse, and get feedback on your sales discovery calls, you are more likely to have a higher success rate.  

The first step is to record your conversations. Revisit all the key moments in your calls that will help you learn and grow. Find out about call recording and analytics here.

Reflect on the moments you think went well and write them down. Tell someone on your team so they can learn from it too. If you do this you’re more likely to confidently repeat this again. 

Share parts of the recording with your manager or a team. Ask for their feedback and reflect on how you might consider changing this for next time. In this video, sales coach Shelley Lavery discusses how you can self-coach your recorded calls. Watch it below.


How to self-coach your Sales/Customer calls with Shelley Lavery:


Final takeaway on how to stay motivated when making sales discovery calls

Caroline Watson,  BDR at Jiminny, loves to use an objective selling method when making discovery calls. It helps her stay focused and feel like she’s accomplished something. This tactic is described in one of her favorite books, Way of the Wolf: Become a Master Closer with Straight Line Selling by Jordan Belfort

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When planning her meeting she writes in order of priority:

GOLD: Gather the most important information needed to get from the call. Like, determine if the prospect is a good fit for the product.

SILVER: Try and find out how serious they have been looking at this by asking if they have spoken to anyone else.

BRONZE: Confirm the next steps. What she should do with the lead?

After a day of cold calling, she used to feel stressed and disheartened if she had lots of short conversations or rejections. But now, setting these smaller objectives, she can celebrate more wins and learn from mistakes.



Jodi @ Jiminny