Conversation Intelligence

What is a Discovery Call? (+ 4 Unbelievable Tips To Win Prospects) Learn From The Experts!

Abhishikha Chatterjee
July 9, 2022
 mins read

Last modified on

July 9, 2022
Table of Content:

What horrible things do you remember about your first discovery call?

Was it tough?

Were you trembling with fear?

Missed asking the most critical questions?

If this is what you’ve been through or seen another colleague go through, this post is definitely for you. 

Discovery calls can be tricky if you don't know the right way of doing it, and discovery calls are the gateway to learning the prospect intimately enough to build a rapport.

We are inspired by our podcast guest Keenan Yoseph, a mid-market account executive who is tremendously passionate about the discovery call process

Listen to the podcast right here!

In this post, you’ll learn the ins and outs of a discovery call and how to perform it to win the prospect effectively.

Here we go.

  • What is a discovery call? 
  • Why is the discovery call important? 
  • What are the components of a great discovery call? 
  • How does an ideal discovery call run?

What is a discovery call? 

“I would say the fundamental core of a discovery call is to determine if your product or service is a good fit for the other person and if the person qualifies for your product or service. So basically, just to see if it's a good fit on both sides." says Keenan.                                     

The discovery call is a phone call between the prospect and the salesperson to see if both fulfill each other's needs.

The prospect is in search of an ideal solution for his problems, and the salesperson is trying to solve the prospect's problem. A discovery call is a meeting where both decide if they want to move forward with each other or not.

Ideally, the salesperson tries to know everything about the prospect from their pain points, interests, likes & dislikes, challenges, and problems they're trying to solve and connect his solution to their problems.

Based on your discussion on the call, the salesperson offers the solution to cater to the prospects' needs. The basic discovery call questions are as follows:

  1. What problem are you trying to solve?
  2. What kind of solution do you expect?
  3. What is the most challenging phase of your work?
  4. What is the purpose of your business?
  5. What do you expect from us?

Recommended read: What is a discovery call in a sales process?

Why is the discovery call important? 

The discovery call turns out to be the initial step of the sales cycle. Key essential elements add up to make it the "must-do" thing of the sales process. Here's why discovery calls matter the most:

#1 A better understanding of the product/service

A discovery call involves a thorough knowledge of the product from both buyer's and the seller's perspectives. Buyers must understand the product to present it well to the prospects and solve their problems. Prospects need to understand the product well to find the best solution to their problem in the market. Understanding the product well is the core idea of the discovery call. 

#2 Discover ideas prospects didn't realize they had.

When you open a set of questions from different angles, they consider another point of view of the product. Showing them different product features can open the doors for more communication.

Prospects get to know about the ideas they didn't think existed before. Asking questions opens the doors.                                                                                                                                                                      

#3 Explore the opportunity of solving problems.

Solving the problems gives you different perspectives of things and makes you a better thinker. On a discovery call, you can listen to the prospects' issues face to face and give your unique perspective. You get to explore lots of opportunities from it, and you become a better person, creative thinker, and problem solver.

What are the components of a great discovery call? 

Here are the essential components of a discovery call.

1. Research 

Research plays a crucial role in determining the quality of your work, and well-researched content provides an edge to your prospecting efforts. So how do you perform the analysis? 

  • Explore prospect's social media profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Go to their website and learn more about what they do and how they do it 
  • Sign up for their newsletter to know more about what products they offer.
  • Research more on their competitors, help them find out the gaps in the market and bridge those gaps.

2. Gap selling

Gap selling is the form of selling in which the sellers approach prospects with a point of view of showing them a picture of a better future. For effective gap selling, it's essential to know the prospect's current position to where they want to be short, and closing the gap becomes the means of future conversations.

So what makes the customer's current state?

It includes details like

  • Where is the customer based? 
  • What's his current situation? 
  • What kind of problem is he facing from a technical and business perspective?
  • The impact of the company on prospects' personal and professional life?
  • The root cause of the problem, what initiated the issue?

3. Structure of the discovery call

The structure of a discovery call is a self-assessed process; 


  • You do the research, 
  • You get on a call with a prospect, 
  • Figure out the prospect's pain points, 
  • You make them realize the problems they were facing, 
  • Offer the exact solution you want to present, 
  • Asking open-ended questions will help extend the conversation.
  • Implement the gap selling approach to take the conversation to the next level.

How does an ideal discovery call run?

Keenan describes the following approach for a great discovery call:

  1. Block your time: Confirm at least 30 minutes for the call.
  1. Introduction - Introduce yourself; while doing that, establish credibility, talk about that person's industry, and share some insights about that person's initiative, which will present you as an expert.
  1. Ask them to give their intro: As discussed earlier, know more about them. Ask prospects to share what they do, how far they've come in their journey, and what they expect from you.
  1. Get straight into the business questions: It involves discussing how you can help them through your product and services.
  1. Schedule a demo call: If everything matches perfectly on both sides, schedule a demo call, go through pricing, show them what the platform looks like, and show them features that solve their problems.

Four tips for conquering your next discovery call 

Discovery calls can get tricky if you don't know the right ways of doing it. Here are the top 4 ways you win discovery calls.

1. Find the perfect match.

The first thing you need to do before getting on a discovery call is to find the sweet spot between the prospect's problems and your offer.

The more you research the prospect, the more in-depth you can venture in the conversation.

The following are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. Spend time where the prospect hangs out the most and find out what they want.
  1. Put yourself in the prospect's shoes. Think about what you would have done in a    similar situation.
  1.  Lead with value. Provide them with enough data for competitor analysis and insights about their business. Help them to understand the metrics.

2. Qualify the prospects

Qualifying the prospect on a discovery call is critical so that you don't waste your and their time. You want to ensure that the prospect is the person you were looking for to provide your product/service.

Also, ensure that the prospect is satisfied with your product/service. The following are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Make them aware of your price range, terms and conditions of work, and project duration.
  1. Get clear with their expectations. Ask lots of questions that clarify their intention. Ask yourself: How can I serve them to the best possible level? Am I able to fulfill their needs?
  1. See if the prospect is genuinely ready to move forward. Use your gut instincts to know that prospect is interested in moving ahead with you.

3. Not too few, not too many questions

The quality of questions you ask determine your success in a discovery call. The questions should be straightforward and clear so that the prospect understands them well and is easy to answer.

Also, the number of questions shouldn't be a lot so that the prospect gets annoyed and leaves the conversation.

Here's what you should ask:

  1. What's your highest priority? And why?
  2. Which type of solution can help you?
  3. What kind of future have you wished for yourself?
  4. What's your vision and mission?
  5. When should I get back to you/follow up?
  6. What emotions are concerned with this solution?
  7. What roadblocks did you face while solving this problem before?
  8. Are you focusing on the right metrics? What are they?
  9. How do you make the decisions?

4. Maintain talk-to-listen ratio

The talk-to-listen ratio is the ratio of words you speak to the phrase prospects speak. The best sales reps in the world listen more than they talk.

Saleshackers performed a survey, where they found that the ideal talk-to-listen ratio is 43/57. Also, it affirms that the best calls are natural, balanced, and two-way conversations between you and the customers.

A whopping 47% of people who listen to the conversation carefully win the game. Listening seems to be the most in-demand skill, and listening carefully requires patience. It would be best if you did not listen to talk but get the gist of what the prospect is saying.

Are you ready to ace the discovery calls?

Discovery calls involve:

  • Researching the prospect.
  • Asking the right questions.
  • Listening carefully.
  • And building rapport 

It could get overwhelming if you don't have proper systems.

Can Conversation Intelligence Help?

Convin is a conversation intelligence platform that can help you record, transcribe, and analyze sales conversations. It provides the data-driven insights you need to proceed further in your sales journey.

Want to know how it works? 

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