Discovery call best practices: things not to do.

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You’ve done it. Pushed through all those awkward moments and earned the privilege of a discovery call with a prospect.

That one call that basically sets the tone for how your sales process with them will go. You’ve established rapport during your cold call, and everything is going well. As a gentle warning, this isn’t the point where you rest and wing it. In fact, we don’t generally advise anyone to wing any part of their prospecting. It’s important to prepare. You never know what curveballs that one call could throw at you.

This stage is where you should work hard to learn your prospect’s needs, pain points, goals, and drivers. You need to work out whether the assumptions you made through your prior research are valid or not. You’ll need a set of discovery questions planned out prior to your call. No one enjoys being stuck in the land of no decision. So how do you avoid that?

Here are some things you need to consider when planning out your discovery call. They will help you avoid any faux pas that may trip you up.

Never assume you know your prospect’s challenges.

We sometimes get tempted to think we know everything about our prospects because we’ve spent so much time researching them and their role. The whole point of a discovery call is to clarify whether the assumptions you formed during your research are true or not. Assuming that you understand their challenges defeats the point of the call. This is seldom ever true.

Set the scope, tone, and agenda of your discovery meeting from the onset.

Clearly communicating your agenda with your prospect and letting them know what you’ll be asking of them, why you’ll ask that, and what they should expect will help them feel at ease. It’s important to encourage them to bring questions and emphasise that the meeting will be conversational.

Listen to your prospect.

Make sure your prospect understands the purpose of your questions. We highly recommend reassuring them and showing that you’re listening and understand their needs.

Don’t ask close-ended questions

Asking yes or no questions defeats the purpose of a discovery meeting. You won’t get any new insights from them, only confirmation of the problems you’ve identified. Chances are, they have other problems that you may have yet to find. So, instead of “Do you struggle with [identified pain point]?”, ask ‘Please tell me about some challenges you currently face’.

Avoid asking too many questions at the same time.

Asking multiple questions all at once can be overwhelming and confusing. You won’t get all the answers you need, and the prospect will get stressed out.

Avoid doing a product demo during your discovery call.

A discovery call is the time to get all the information you need and find out as much as you can about their processes, needs, yearly objectives, and even budgets. You won’t get another chance in the sales process to do this. Plus, you need this data to inform the rest of your sales process.

Note down your discovery information.

Either record your discovery call, please ask for permission if you choose to do so or transcribe your prospect’s answers. They will come in handy during later stages of the sales process. Also, sending a follow up email with a recap won’t hurt. It will help solidify your prospective client’s trust in you.

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