Is Your Sales Coaching Missing 30 Discovery Questions To Pinpoint Real Pain?

Abhishikha Chatterjee
March 10, 2022
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Last modified on

March 10, 2022
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Whoever asks the questions controls the conversation–a best practice encouraged during sales coaching.

Because top-performing sales reps ensure using the best questions in the market.

Asking questions is healthy for your life and career.

“Asking someone to share their experiences, their insight or their passions with you causes a connection, and often a fondness, that is a powerful foundation for lasting relationships.”- says Amanda Deibert

These days Sales coaching programs stress discovery calls for reasons we know and prepare reps to ask the right discovery questions.

But what are the right discovery questions that need immediate attention?

Before we go on that path, let’s revise our understanding of the discovery call. (We’ll spare 1 minute to understand it to give context to any newcomer.)

What is a discovery call?

The Discovery Call is the first open conversation between the sales rep and the prospect. This call is part of the lead qualification process where the rep asks the prospect questions related to the product- understand the needs, pain points, budget, and objective. 

If you want to understand the 6 steps of discovery calls in a sales process, we recommend Discovery Call In A Sales Process.

Now we can focus on the most pressing issue of discovery calls- How to identify and ask the right questions to the prospect?

Every rep should utilize these 30 discovery questions as the situation demands

Before you get overwhelmed and anxious seeing 30 questions, here’s a little stress-buster for you.

Prospects definitely don’t have the time and energy to entertain 30 questions. This list is designed to create a framework of the type and depth of questions needed. 

As the conversation progresses, you’ll be able to categorize and ask questions that seem necessary at that instant. However, many questions will be counter-questions or overlapping questions. 

In the discovery call, your aim should be to get maximum knowledge of the client and their current situation. 

So let’s get into the type of questions you may need to prepare in a discovery call sales coaching session.

An introduction and icebreaker

You have researched your prospect well; now it’s time to validate the research and go deeper. Here you plan to get more insights and confirmations while setting the stage to open up.

  1. Can you brief me about your company?
  2. What’s your role in the company?  What’s your core activity?
  3. Who are your direct customers?
  4. What is the company’s goal for the next 3-5 years (financial, customer-related, operational)?
  5. Please share the timeline for achieving the goals.
  6. Are you responsible for any KPIs? What are they?

Prospect and vendor qualification

Not all customer problems can be solved by your product and company. The sooner you know, the better. To avoid wasting time behind the wrong prospect, clarify the pain points in length and peel the onion until you get to the root cause.

  1. What challenges are you trying to solve?
  2. Is there a problem in [area relating to the product]?
  3. What’s the root cause of that problem?
  4. What makes it a priority today?
  5.     Why was this issue not addressed earlier?
  6. Do you have any suggestions for a potential solution?
  7. How would you define a successful outcome?
  8. How are you currently handling the problem without a product?

Investigate the decision-making process

After understanding the need and the problem areas; you need to start one more qualification series. In this step, you need to understand the decision-making process and budget to implementation plans.

  1. What are your main challenges in implementing this plan?
  2. When are you planning to implement the project?
  3. Have you defined an approximate budget? 
  4. What’s the approved budget?
  5. Where’s the funding coming from?
  6. Who else will be involved in selecting a vendor?
  7. Will an executive buyer get involved?
  8. After deciding on a product, how do you purchase it?
  9. Can we expect legal and procurement reviews?

Plan and indicate the next steps

After qualifying the prospect, you need to clear the air for the next steps. Give them clues and hints to move forward in the pipeline. You can also suggest the next steps and offer the solution to their problem.

  1. Did you purchase a similar product in the past?
  2. If yes, what went wrong with the previous product?
  3. Could this be considered a competitive situation?
  4. What are the potential obstacles?
  5. Why do you think this solution will make your life better?
  6. What do you plan to achieve in one year if you implement this solution?
  7. Would it be possible to follow up with you on mm/dd?

In a sales coaching scenario, you are not supposed to ask all the questions.

Pick and choose the relevant questions to make it to the next step.

While qualification is a meaningful habit, don’t over qualify the prospect and close the calls with no next steps.

As a closing note, we’ll emphasize practicing discovery call questions with your sales coach and learning to uncover more than what the internet can offer. After the client call, you must feel like the organization’s insider.

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