Discovery Calls…this is where your sales process begins. Let’s take a step back because technically prospecting is where your process begins, but the discovery call is where you actually begin to engage with your potential buyers. Now, adding another layer to that is where the prospect is in their buying process. For all you know, they’ve already made a decision (or are close to it) by the time they get to you. And p.s., it might not be your product or service they are close to deciding on.
This call sets the stage for the relationship between the client and the company, also known as a first impression 😉. So even though you might not quite know their intent, don’t ruin any potential chances you have by not coming prepared.
Prepare for the call:
Know who you’re talking to, and what their challenge is. If you don’t care about them, why should they care about you? Know the people on the call, their titles, what the company does, and any potential challenges each of their roles likely faces. If you have company ties or mutual LinkedIn connections, document that. Have you worked with other companies that their investors have backed? That could make or break a potential deal if you are able to use that information! It might sound like a lot of prep work, but as long as you have a good qualification process for meetings being booked, this prep step is a no brainer. The quicker you can build rapport the better. People want to buy from people, so establishing a mutually beneficial relationship will be the key to continuing conversations post-discovery.
Have an Agenda:
This should not be a free flow conversation that gets driven by the prospect drilling into Q&A on the product. Typically discovery calls are used as just that, uncovering the needs of the client so that you can make the most of their time on the next call as you provide a demo and solution to their problems. You can’t do that effectively without understanding their business needs and what they’re hoping to solve, so be clear about what this call is for, and that the next step would be more focused on demonstrating your offering and answering additional questions.
Ask, and Listen:
The bulk of this conversation should be driven by listening. If you’re asking the right questions, this opens up the discussion to uncover the pain points you can potentially help them solve. When you ask a question, actually listen. Give sufficient time for them to fully answer. If there is silence, they’ll likely keep going, so don’t be the one to break the silence too quickly. Let them. Being prepared with the questions that you need and want to be answered here is so important. If you let the conversation drive itself, you’ll come back later with key criteria having been missed. These questions should be open-ended, not simple yes or no questions. Again, the key here is getting them to open up, not just rattle through a checklist you need to be completed. Be sure to ask plenty of “what if” questions as well. “What if you had this resource by next week, what would that do for you?”.
Uncover their process:
If you leave the call and don’t have a clue about how they buy, who signs off, or what other competitors they may be considering then just move on because it will be a waste of your time to continue. In order to provide them the most value on the next demo & solution call, you have to understand how they work. Perhaps there are 2 additional people who would need to see the demo, and you haven’t included them in this step. Your sales process just had another cycle added to it, further delaying your potential time to close. Another consideration would be who the approver is on this purchase. If you don’t have this person engaged in the salesperson, you are relying on their team to do the selling for you. Unless they’re also in sales, this likely won’t go as well as they say it will. You also need to know where they are at in their discovery process, and what the steps and timeline look like on their end. Maybe it’s August and you’re hoping to close this for Q4, but in reality, they are evaluating tools for the following year. Bubye quota attainment if you’re betting on this deal and submitting it in your projections.
Know what they know:
Uncovering what they know, or think they know about what you have to offer can be a huge opportunity for a salesperson. Not only could this help qualify, or qualify out a prospect based on whether or not what they think you do actually does that or not, but this opens the doors for you to confirm what they know, or change what they think! Let’s say for a second they have 3 different pain points they’ve outlined during the questioning, but they think your product solves 1 and they’d need something complimentary for the others, this could be a game-changer for you to demonstrate in the next phase in order to close the deal.
Set next steps:
Based on the information you’ve gathered from the session, it’s time to “go for the close” and set your next steps. In most cases, this would be showcasing a demo and customizing a solution that solves their business challenges and needs. Be clear to align their buying process with your sales process. If there are pieces here that don’t match, hit them head-on and address it upfront so it doesn’t become an issue for you further along in the cycle. And don’t forget to get all stakeholders involved at this point if they aren’t already.
The discovery call can be intimidating for some, but in reality, this session is meant to uncover the needs of your prospect. This shouldn’t be turned into a back and forth ping pong game of challenge then solution. The goal here is 1) qualifying your prospect to ensure a mutual fit and 2) get the information you need in order to present back what will solve the issues they’ve outlined for you.
Following a sales process is pivotal in ensuring success as a sales professional.
If you find yourself struggling during any part of the sales process, or worse don’t have a process at all, please reach out today to see how my different mentorship programs might be able to help! Check out the Sales Strong Podcast and follow Mama Sales on Instagram, LinkedIn, or by subscribing at mama-sales.com, as we’ll be sharing additional content to help salespeople succeed and up their game. Let’s go team! 💪🔥