As a salesperson, one of the most important things you can do is ask discovery questions. Discovery questions help you to uncover needs, build rapport, and ultimately close more deals.I remember when I was first starting out in sales, I would get so nervous before calls that I would rush through my discovery questions and not really take the time to listen to the answers. As a result, I wasn’t able to effectively identify needs or establish trust with potential customers.
It wasn’t until I started slowing down and taking the time to truly engage with prospects that I began seeing results.If you’re looking for some guidance on what sales discovery questions to ask, look no further! Here are essential questions that will help you close more deals:
Sales Discovery Questions
Sales discovery questions are designed to help a salesperson learn about a potential customer’s needs and requirements. These questions typically focus on the customer’s budget, timeline, and decision-making process.
By asking sales discovery questions, a salesperson can gain a better understanding of the customer’s situation and needs, which can help them close the deal.
What is a sales discovery call?
The first conversation with a prospect after they have indicated interest in your product is referred to as a “first contact” or “initial”. It’s essential to make a positive impression here, as this will set the tone for your entire relationship with this customer.
The goals of the sales discovery phone call are twofold.
For sales people, it’s all about identifying and prioritizing the needs, problems and priorities of your prospects.
A sales discovery call is the perfect opportunity to build trust with a potential customer. As a trusted advisor, you can use this time to get to know their specific needs and pain points. By providing out-of-the-box solutions, you can show that you are invested in helping them find the best possible solution for their problem.
As a sales professional, your goal should be to ensure that the prospective customer leaves the conversation understanding who you are, what you do and what you can do for them.
While you might think that preparing for your upcoming Discovery Call is as simple as checking someone’s LinkedIn and writing down a few questions, the reality is that the preparation process is a multistep one.
The Sales Discovery Call is the most critical conversation a sales rep can have with a prospect.
A sales discovery call is a crucial moment in the buyer’s journey. After evaluating various solutions, the prospect is finally ready to engage. The discovery call will chart the course for the entire sales process and help to establish lasting customer relationships.
A discovery call is the first step in the sales process, and it’s important to get it right. This call sets the stage for the rest of the sales process and establishes a foundation for a lasting customer relationship.
Sellers often neglect the discovery process, but it’s important to not skip it.
According to multiple studies, 85% of customers and 40% of sales reps are unhappy with the on phone experience and don’t have the right questions to ask.
According to recent data from TOPO, the number of buyer-seller interactions has plummeted by 150%. This means salespeople have fewer opportunities to pitch their products or services to potential buyers.
A well thought-out phone conversation plan can greatly increase your odds of success.
Here’s what you should keep in mind when sending a sales call to voice mail.
Sales Discovery Process
The Connect phase is where you build rapport with your prospects.
In the sales process, you will do your research, connect with your lead, ask their qualification questions and answer theirs, and ideally move your lead to the next stage of the sales funnel.
Now that we’ve discussed each of the parts of the sales process, let’s discuss which of these questions should be asked during each part of the process.
Questions That Set the Stage
This is where you gather information that will help you better understand your customer’s needs.
1. What is your business all about?
This easy, but important, question is about a prospect’s very own business.
Asking them about themselves is a great way to break the ice, but be careful not to ask it too soon. If you jump right into it, it might look like you haven’t done any research on them at all.
You know a lot about your prospective client’s business, so you want to ask them a question so they can build on the information you’ve provided.
2. Tell me more about what you do?
This is a great starting point to learn more about an employee, not a company. And, they will be happy to tell you about themselves.
3. What key performance indicators (KPIs) are you tasked with measuring?
Now, the pressure is on. If they haven’t touched on what they’re in charge of, then this question will expose that.
Remember that “metrics” are measurable numbers, so you’ll need to figure out a way to measure how successful your software is.
Questions That Qualify
After identifying your prospect’s pain points, you need to address them. Find out what issues they’re having so you can solve them!
4. Questions about Your Products
What goals do you have for the near future? (This question can be appended with a timeframe, depending on your product.)
If your product requires a long installation process, you could ask people about an annual plan instead of a monthly one.
5. When should you try to reach your goals?
This question is asking about the timeline for when a prospect needs to achieve a goal.
A 5% increase in revenue might be achieved by March 1st, 2019.
“Annual” means “every single calendar year.” It doesn’t mean “this quarter.”
6. What issue are you trying to address?
This question is intentionally open-ended. You’re not trying to pin them down into a specific response.
What problems are they looking to solve? By discussing their pain points, you can better understand their business needs from a wider angle.
7. Are you having any issues with [the area as it pertains to the product]?
Now, we’re getting more specific. This question is still open ended, but you’re trying to drive them towards a specific part of the company.
This is a yesno question that’ll help you gauge how serious a prospect is about solving their problem.
8. What’s the source of that problem?
Asking about problems or issues is a great way to uncover pain-points or points of frustration.
If you don’t know why your prospect is having the problem, you won’t be able to offer a solution.
If you want to create an irresistible sales pitch, it’s important to understand the source of your prospect’s problem. Only then can you focus on eliminating it.
9. Why is it a priority today?
If your lead has answered why it’s an urgent problem, you can skip over the question. However, if you’re unsure, asking your lead to elaborate can help reveal how pressing it is.
10. Why haven’t we seen this discussed before?
Asking your prospect about the roadblocks they’ve faced in solving their problem can give you insight into what might be holding them back now, or could in the future. This information can help you focus on qualifying factors, such as budget restrictions.
If your prospective client mentions money as a concern, you can address that as a qualifier.
11. How do you think this problem can be solved? Why?
This question will help you figure out how your prospect plans to solve their problem without your product or service.
12. How would you define success?
Here, you’ll learn what your prospects’ vision of success is. Is it reasonable?
Is it something that your product or service can help the prospect with? Listen to their problem, but make sure to note down their expectation to confirm that you can indeed help them.
13.If you did not select a product, do you have a plan of action in place to deal with this issue?
Find out, in another way, just how urgent their need for the product is.
Do you have a plan in place for solving this problem? If not, then you definitely are a good fit for our services.
Questions That Disqualify Prospects
Next, ask the prospective client some questions about his or her buying process. Try to find out as much as possible about his or her budget, timeline, and decision-making authority.
14. What are your primary roadblocks to implementing this plan?
It’s important to confirm your understanding of your prospect’s challenge so you can better address it.
15. What’s your timeline for implementation?
This will help you understand if the timeline for implementing your product lines up with the timeline of your potential customer. If there is a discrepancy, it’s likely that they are not a good match.
16. What’s the approximate budget for solving this problem?
When considering whether or not to invest money in a new project, the first question to ask is whether there is enough money to fund it.
17. Whose budget does the funding come from?
Before you ask this, gauge how familiar the prospect is with you. It might sound too forward for someone who is unfamiliar with you.
If you’re on friendly enough terms and you know where the money is coming from, ask where the prospect is getting the funding.
18. Is the budget owner an “executive sponsor”?
An Executive Sponsor is a high-level employee that’s directly involved with your project and is fully committed to its successful completion.
The person who is signing off on purchases and is the final decision-maker on whether or not a purchase will be made is called the “budget holder.”
Questions That Move Prospects Along the Pipeline
Finally, ask a closing question. Offer your solution and suggest the next steps.
19. Who else will be involved in choosing a vendor?
Who will be involved in the decision making process? This question will help you determine whether your contact is a decision maker, an influencer, or a gatekeeper.
20. Do you have written decision criteria for choosing a vendor? Who compiled these criteria?
This is a very important question to ask when you’re dealing with smaller firms. But, it’s also important to ask when working with larger enterprises.
Try to get access into the decision making process.
21. Have you purchased a similar product before?
If you’re aware of your competitor’s product, you can establish your advantage by showing how yours is better. Even if you don’t mention your rival by name, you can explain how your solution is more advantageous.
22. Is this a competitive situation?
What other vendors is your prospective client currently looking at? This helps you understand how they’re thinking without being too intrusive.
23. What’s the process for actually purchasing the product once you decide on it? Are there legal or procurement reviews?
At this point, you have likely built enough rapport with your lead that you can ask them about the purchasing process and not worry about them getting annoyed.
24. What are potential curveballs?
What are some possible obstacles that could prevent us from closing this sale?
Asking about potential road blocks is a great way to uncover them.
25. How can I help make this easy?
The prospect might simply have nothing for you, or they might also have other resources and documentation for you. Either way, you should still listen to their suggestions on how to make the process easier.
26. How will this solution make your life better?
Showing your prospective customer how their life will be improved after purchasing your product or service will help your potential customer present your solution more easily to key stakeholders.
27. If you implement this solution, how do you hope things will be different in one year?
If they implement this solution, they will hopefully have more customers and less time wasted doing menial tasks.
Again, remind them of how much better their life will be with your product or service.
28. Can I follow up with you on mm/dd?
End your call by suggesting when to follow up with them.
A discovery call should result in a plan of action between you and your prospect.
If there are still lingering questions, set up a follow-up phone call.
Asking sales discovery questions is an essential part of the selling process. By taking the time to ask these 10 questions, you’ll be able to uncover needs, build rapport, and close more deals. So don’t hesitate – start using these sales discovery questions today and see your success rate soar!