How to Make Successful Sales Discovery Calls

Sales discovery calls are a great way to learn about your potential customers and their needs. By asking the right questions, you can identify whether there is a fit between what they need and what you offer. Sales discovery calls are a great way to learn about your potential customers and their needs. Read on to learn how to make successful discovery calls.

What’s a Sales Discovery Call?

A sales discovery call is an opportunity for a salesperson to learn about a potential buyer, their needs, and how the salesperson can help them. It’s also an opportunity for the buyer to get to know the salesperson and decide if they want to work with them.

The purpose of the first part of a sales process is twofold.

For salespeople, it’s about determining if a prospect is a good fit for your product and organization.

A discovery call is a perfect opportunity to build trust with a potential customer. As a trusted advisor, you can use this time to learn about their specific pain points and needs. You can show that you are invested in helping them find the best possible solution for their situation by providing out-of-the-box solutions.

As a sales professional, your goal should be to ensure that the prospective customer leaves the conversation having learned who you are, what you do, and what you can do for them.

While you might think that preparing for your prospect’s Discovery Call is as simple as reviewing their LinkedIn Profile and thinking of a few good questions, the reality is that the process involves multiple stages.

The sales process starts with the first phone call.

A crucial point in a buyer’s journey is when they finally engage with you after researching their options on their own.

The discovery phone call is the most critical part of the sales cycle. It’s where you learn what your prospect needs and where you lay the groundwork for a lasting relationship.

Sellers often neglect the discovery process, but there are ways around this.

According to recent surveys, 85% of customers and 40% of sales reps are unhappy with the on-phone experience and don’t have the right questions to ask.

A recent study from TopOP shows that, due to coronavirus, the number of buyer-seller interactions has dropped by 150%. This means that, as a salesperson, you have even fewer people to talk to.

A well-thought-out phone conversation can increase your chances of closing a deal.

Here’s what you should remember to include.

The Elements of a Sales Discovery Call

Before the Sales Discovery Calls

  • Research: Based upon data from a cold phone, earlier conversations, and the profile of the company/prospect, social media, etc., gather all information you can about this prospect.
  • Preparation: Create a clear plan, send an invite detailing who you are, your purpose, and the length of the call to minimize no-shows. You can role-play your discovery questions and pre-strategize.

During the Sales Discovery Calls

  • Qualify the prospect. Asking them questions about their prospects is the best way to determine if they are worth your time. Some salespeople can do it themselves. You can use lead qualification frameworks to help you decide what questions to ask.
  • Showcase past successes or present a future reality within their context to build alignment on a shared vision.
  • Schedule the next stage (a demo or presentation).

After the Sales Discovery Calls

  • Send a summary email containing the consultation.

SaaS Discovery Calls Best Practices

Here are four best practices to make discovery calls. These are backed up by studies and recommended highly by sales professionals.

1. Concentrate on 3-4 problems

Gong’s analysis of thousands upon thousands of sales discovery calls has shown that successful salespeople dig deeply into the problems of 3-4 customers.

2. Mirror your prospect’s emotions and label them

According to sales expert, author, and speaker, Christopher Voss, the best way to mirror your conversation partner is to repeat one to three of their last spoken words. During the initial contact, try to use your buyer’s language and ask questions.

He suggests using phrases such as ‘It sounds like your …’, ‘It feels like you …’, or ‘I see why that’s frustrating when describing their emotions. This will help you build a stronger relationship based on empathy and understanding.

3. Pay attention to the tone and body language

When you speak in a discovery call, it is as important what you say as how you say it.

Albert Mehrabian, a psychology professor at the University of California in Los Angeles, developed the 7-38-55 rule that focuses on emotional communication.

It states that 7% of meaning is conveyed by spoken word, 38% through tone of voice, and 55% through body language.

The small contribution (7%) to the spoken word shows that pauses and silence, as well as an atmosphere of trust, and comfort, can make a difference in better discovery calls.

4. Listen actively

Listen more, talk less. This principle applies throughout the sales cycle but is even more relevant at a critical stage like discovery.

RAIN Group studies show that 68% of buyers are highly influenced when sellers are good listeners. They report that only 26% are good at listening.

John Doer, the founder, believes that salespeople who fail to listen during sales conversations miss out on building rapport with their prospects, uncovering their needs and wants, and instilling confidence in them.

How to Evaluate a Discovery Call

A good sales conversation often starts with a great, thorough, and well-thought-out Discovery Call.

If you want your lead to stay engaged, follow up with them frequently. This will keep the conversation going and allow you to maintain control of the process.

Now that you’re their mentor, it’s up to you to follow up with them. If you wait two weeks to follow up, they won’t either.

To optimize your sales prospecting, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the results of your various techniques. This will allow you to hone in on which methods are most effective and which you should abandon.

Why is it crucial to continually tweak and optimize your sales process?

Your sales prospecting process is the foundation for your entire business. It’s how you establish rapport with your prospects, set the pace of your conversations, and greatly influence your results.

A weak discovery process can lead to customers back out of the deal last minute or for you to have to clarify aspects of the sale that should have been discussed weeks earlier. This can cause a bad experience when you start to work together.

Strong sales processes result in you reaching your quotas and your customers achieving success.

But all salespeople aren’t equal, and a successful sales process is easy to understand and implement by your entire sales team.

If your discovery process is effective, you’ll see results from multiple sales reps in less time. If it’s efficient, you’ll see even better results. You can find great fits and streamline your process for future prospects by testing new strategies and channels.

As a sales rep, it’s always important to test new methods and strategies for prospecting. Once you find a strategy that works, you can streamline your time spent with prospective clients and free up your time to focus on other sales-related tasks.


A sales discovery call is a pivotal point in the buyer’s journey. It will determine the next steps in your sales process. You should prepare your discovery call strategy and research information to ensure a successful outcome.

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