As a sales professional, you know that effective discovery calls are critical to building a strong pipeline and ultimately closing more deals. But how do you conduct discovery calls that not only uncover your prospect's needs but also move them closer to an in-depth demo call?
In this article, we'll share ten tips for conducting effective discovery calls that lead to more demo calls and help you build a more successful sales process.
Do Your Research Before the Call
Before you hop on the call, make sure you've done your research on the company and the person you'll be speaking with. This will help you understand their business and industry, identify potential pain points and challenges, and tailor your questions and approach accordingly to unite with the customer effectively and build rapport. Be sure to have your webcam on!!
Prepare a Clear Agenda
Before the call, prepare a clear agenda that outlines the topics you'll cover and the questions you'll ask. This will help keep the call focused and ensure you cover all the key points you need to in order to move the prospect closer to a demo call.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
During the call, focus on asking open-ended questions that encourage the prospect to share their problems, updates and insights. This will help you understand their needs and pain points, as well as build rapport and trust with the prospect.
Aim to phrase the questions that encourage a long response with this type of phrasing:
Can you help me understand …
Can you walk me through …
Can you talk to me about …
Can you tell me about …
Aim to replace your 'what's' and your 'why's' with 'can you's' and 'please tell me more's'.
Listen More Than You Talk
At Focused we recommend a talk time ratio between 45 to 55% of the time...
One of the most important aspects of effective discovery calls is listening. Make sure you're actively listening to the prospect and taking notes on their needs and concerns. This will help you tailor your pitch and move them closer to a demo call. A good method to give the customer confidence you are actively listening is to paraphrase the response with a few important key words..this also ensures that you did understand them correctly also.
Take a Consultative Approach
Instead of just pitching your product or solution, take a consultative approach that focuses on understanding and evaluating the prospect's needs and challenges. This will help build trust and credibility and position you as a partner, not just a salesperson. Is there a sweet spot for the number of calls you should be asking during a discovery call? Our research suggests ask between 11 and 14 questions.
Ask more than that and you risk making your buyer feel interrogated. Fewer than that and you won’t get you enough information to plan your second call, an in-depth demo, that hits all the right notes.
Yet, please do note the more senior the prospect the fewer questions you should ask...for C suite sales it is more important to research well before the call and ask between 4 and 7 questions.
During the call, be flexible and adjust your approach as needed. If the prospect has unexpected questions or concerns, address them in real-time and adjust your pitch accordingly. Be sure to note these questions so that you can relay them on to your team to learn from in the future.
Therefore, don't necessary 'stick to the script', begin to slowly unwrap your questions that relate to the buyers line of thought. Do not simply unpack them all at once at the beginning of the call.
Address Objections Head-On
If the prospect raises objections during the call, don't shy away from them. Address them head-on and provide clear and concise responses that help alleviate their concerns. Be sure to engage brain before mouth, hence do not interrupt the client and do not be afraid of taking some time to pause and think in silence before responding. It can often also encourage the customer to keep talking.
Summarise and Confirm Next Steps
At the end of the call, summarise the key points you have discovered and confirm the next steps, whether that's scheduling a demo call, sending additional resources, or following up in a few days. Remember not to show too much of the product / demo in the discovery call. We suggest a maximum of 5 minutes...read this blog post for more details on the topic - Why to show a demo on the first call.
Follow Up Promptly
After the call, follow up promptly with any additional resources or information the prospect requested, and thank them for their time and insights. Aim to delight your customer by exceeding expectations, effectively going the extra mile.
Continuously Refine Your Approach
Finally, continuously refine your approach to discovery calls based on what works and what doesn't. Solicit feedback from your prospects and team members and adjust your approach as needed to improve your success rate.
Question Intelligence + Listening Intelligence = Market Intelligence.
By following these ten tips for conducting effective discovery calls, you'll not only uncover your prospect's needs and pain points but also move them closer to a demo call and ultimately increase your chances of closing more deals.
Why not implement them with Focused - your real-time sales training tool, sign up now for an early invite for the tool to ensure you conduct awesome discovery calls that convert. Listen More, Talk Less, Discover More.