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Discovery Calls

Why Discovery calls may very well be a waste of time

Often the discovery call is underestimated by salespeople and very seldom do teams put enough time and research into creating and making a great discovery call.  In the greater scheme of the sales process, an effective discovery call plays an important, if not one of the most important roles in the entire process and that is creating a qualified pipeline.  Poor, ineffective discovery calls have a knock-on effect.  It creates a weak pipeline, wastes time and resources and, in nearly every case, shines a spotlight on a poor performing salesperson.  

Click here for our Discovery Call Checklist. 

But before we understand the importance of a discovery call, let’s define what it means.

At the very core of it, the discovery call is a conversation where you as the salesperson is identifying if the prospect has a pain point that you can solve.  In other words, as the salesperson it is your responsibility to walk into this session with one goal in mind and that is “Can the services or products that I supply solve a problem, make your life easier, save you time and, all in all make a difference?”.  At no point did I mention sell. How can you sell if you don’t know what or if there is a problem?

Read How to run a Discovery Call worth Everyone’s Time by Mary Clare Novak 

With in this mind, when pipelines are suffering and sales teams are not performing, one of the most important elements we look at after we cover prospecting, is analysing the discovering call, and in most cases, there is no format, no plan and no structure around this step.  In fact, when pushed, most sales teams admit they “wing it”.  In their excitement, their first instinct is to sell and many a team will show me their sales skills, sometimes bragging at how good they are and confused as to why their results are ordinary.

The first thing I ask any team I walk into is “What is the purpose of this discovery call?”  I mentioned this earlier, you need to decide if you, your products, or services are a fit for your prospect.  To achieve this, your discovery call needs to cover a set of strategic questions in order to unearth current challenges, concerns and pain points. 

You will find many an article on the top 50, 10 million questions to ask in a discovery call, so I am not going to cover the questions but I want to add here that when you start looking at your discovery process it is important to understand what your strategic questions and outcomes are and make sure you are prepared to cover them in the call.  The main point I want to get across is that in discovery, your responsibility as a salesperson is to listen. 

Listening is one of the most underutilized skills in sales but when it comes to discovery, is your most important weapon.  That coupled with powerful, strategic questions, you become more present, allows you to build rapport quickly and most importantly shows your prospect you are interested in working with them to solve their current problems.

In my opinion, if you do not view your discovery call as one of the most important parts of your sales process you are wasting everyone’s time, including your prospects, and if this is your attitude, you may as well not bother.

If you need help with your sales teams or need to improve your discovery calls contact us now and let us help you.