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How to run a successful discovery call? [9 essential steps]

Victoire Léveilley
March 18, 2024
Remote Works

After hours of sourcing and prospecting, meticulously researching potential clients and scouring through leads, you finally have a list of promising prospects at your fingertips.

The next crucial step? Picking up the phone, grabbing your sales script and launching into the discovery call. This moment marks the transition from passive research to proactive engagement. All the  success of your sales efforts hinges on your ability to navigate the intricacies of the discovery call effectively.

In the world of sales, every conversation is a stepping stone towards closing a deal. Therefore, you really need to master the art of the discovery call.

What is a discovery call?

What exactly is a discovery call? A discovery call is a strategic conversation between a salesperson and a prospective client aimed at uncovering the client's pain points, objectives, and requirements.

It's not merely a preliminary chat; rather, it's an opportunity to establish rapport, gain clarity, and lay the groundwork for a mutually beneficial partnership. 

We'll explore the nine essential steps to conducting a successful discovery call. We’ll equip you with the tools and techniques to navigate these crucial conversations with confidence to take your sales pitch to the next level.

9-steps discovery call process

  1. Prepare before the call;
  2. Make a grand entrance;
  3. Remind about the agenda of the call;
  4. Ask questions to qualify the prospect;
  5. Listen actively to your prospect;
  6. Unveil pain points;
  7. Share your value proposition;
  8. Handle objections;
  9. Set up the next steps.

Step #1: Prepare before the call

Before diving into the discovery call, thorough preparation is key to laying a solid foundation for a productive conversation. Here's how to ensure you're fully equipped for the discovery call:

Qualify Your Prospect

Begin by assessing whether the prospect is a good fit for your product or service. To do so, you can look for indicators such as their industry, company size, and pain points that align with your offering.

Organize Your Research

In order to be efficient, keep detailed notes of your research on each prospect (company background, challenges, and any previous interactions).

You can use a CRM system or a dedicated note-taking tool like Notion to centralize your research and ensure easy access during the call.

Verify Contact Information

Before calling, you should double-check contact details such as phone numbers and email addresses to ensure you're reaching out to the right person.

Don’t forget to determine if the prospect is the good point of contact. They should have the authority and budget to make purchasing decisions. This way, you ensure you're not investing time in leads that won't convert.

Craft Your Approach Strategy

First, you’ll have to define the goals you aim to achieve during the discovery call, whether it's uncovering specific pain points, qualifying the prospect, or scheduling a follow-up meeting.

Then, consider sending an email in advance of the call to propose an agenda for the discussion.

Step #2: Make a grand entrance

The opening moments of a discovery call will set the tone for the entire conversation. It’s super important to start by making an entrance that grabs the prospect's attention and establishes rapport. Here is how you can succeed:

  • Begin with a warm greeting, using the prospect's name to personalize the interaction;
  • Use an icebreaker;
  • Share a brief but relevant tidbit of information or compliment to initiate a positive connection;
  • Introduce yourself and your role, emphasizing how you can help address the prospect's needs or challenges.

Step #3: Remind about the agenda of the call

Sharing the agenda upfront, before starting the actual conversation, serves to give everyone a roadmap.

The best thing to do at the beginning of a discovery call is to remind the agenda you proposed before the call, by email.

Step #4: Ask questions to qualify the prospect

Now it's time to dive into the heart of the discovery call: qualifying the prospect by asking questions.

This step is about uncovering whether the prospect is a good fit for what you offer and vice versa. To do this effectively, start by asking open-ended questions that get the prospect talking about their needs, challenges, and goals.

Avoid bombarding them with too many questions right off the bat. Instead, you should focus on building rapport and gradually guiding the conversation towards qualification. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • "Can you tell me more about your [current challenge/pain point in the industry] at your company?”
  • "How does your team currently handle [specific process or task]?"
  • "What specific technical/practical/operational goals in the near future?"
  • "What criteria are you using to evaluate potential solutions or vendors?"
  • "Who else is involved in the decision-making process, and what are their priorities?"
  • “What is your main priority today?”

Of course, try to keep the conversation flowing naturally and maintain a conversational tone to make the prospect feel comfortable sharing.

Step #5: Listen actively

Active listening serves as the bedrock for meaningful communication and rapport-building with potential clients. It goes beyond merely hearing words; it involves fully comprehending and engaging with the message being conveyed.

3 steps: receiving, understanding and responding

This process encompasses three vital steps: receiving, understanding, and responding.

  • Receiving: it's crucial to set aside distractions and preconceptions to truly absorb what the prospect is saying;
  • Understanding: it requires interpretation of not just the content but also the speaker's emotions and intentions. This insight allows for tailoring the sales approach effectively;
  • Responding: a phase where acknowledgment and understanding of the prospect's message are demonstrated. This could entail summarizing their points, seeking clarification, or expressing empathy.

Take notes

Taking notes during the call is essential to capture key information and insights.

Tools like Claap, with AI-powered summary and notes capabilities, can streamline this process. They allow sales professionals to focus fully on the conversation knowing that important details are being recorded for later review.

What’s more? Claap records all your sales calls so you can access them later in a centralized hub. This way, you can consult the meetings or their transcripts at any time to recall every detail.

Ultimately, active listening fosters a dialogue where the prospect feels valued and understood, laying a solid foundation for building successful sales relationships.

Step #6: Unveil pain points

Uncovering the pain points or challenges faced by prospects is a crucial aspect of a discovery call. Once a pain point is identified, delve deeper to gain a better understanding of its root cause and impact. Ask follow-up questions to uncover specific details and examples.

This process must be approached delicately to ensure a positive and productive conversation.

Be supportive

After your prospect shares challenges with you, you should show empathy and understanding towards the prospect's challenges. Clearly validate their concerns by acknowledging the impact these issues may have on their business or personal goals.

Above all, be super mindful of your language and tone to avoid sounding confrontational or dismissive. For example, you can say "I understand" or "That must be challenging" to convey empathy and support.

Prepare the ground for your solutions

Make sure that your prospect fully understands the severity and urgency of addressing the challenges you identified together. This awareness will motivate them to take action and seek solutions.

To do so, emphasize the potential impact of leaving the pain points unaddressed, highlighting the risks and consequences they may face.

Step #7: Share your value proposition

That's it! We've reached the heart of the discovery call: you're about to explain your value proposition. You’ll have to position yourself as a problem solver by suggesting potential solutions or strategies to address the prospect's pain points.

A way to ensure your credibility is to share success stories or case studies of how similar clients have overcome similar challenges with your help. This can help validate your expertise and reassure the prospect of the potential benefits of working with you.

Leverage tools and multimedia content

If the context of the call allows it, don't hesitate to use product demos, sales videos, case studies, customized videos, testimonials or statistics to illustrate your point.

Today, there are a huge number of software programs available to help you create multimedia content that will help you convince your caller: don't miss out!

For example, don't overlook all the possibilities offered by Claap to elevate your sales process.

How can Claap help you close more deals

Claap is an all-in-one video platform supercharging your sales meetings and fostering improved collaboration within your company, featuring:

  1. Meeting recordings with audio and video transcriptions;
  2. AI-generated notes and summaries according to a desired template;
  3. All-in-one video platform to store your sales videos and collaborate with your teams;
  4. Turn customer calls into insights;
  5. Screen and webcam recording for your demo videos.

Claap will help you at every stage of your sales process, from prospecting to closing deals.

Step #8: Handle objections

Let's talk about objections now. Objections in sales calls are like the hurdles in a race. With the right approach, you can leap over them and even outperform your competitors if you respond in an excellent way.

Objections can be a lack of budget, a lack of urgency or even a lack of trust in you or your product.

When objections pop up during a discovery call (and trust me, they will), it's your chance to shine. Stay cool. Start by listening carefully to what the prospect is saying. Next, dive in with confidence, offering solutions or alternatives that address their concerns head-on.

Ideally, you should have written a list of common objections in advance, so you're never caught off guard.

Find out our dedicated article on how to handle objections in sales calls.

Step #9: Set up the next steps

As you wrap up the discovery call, don't hang up until you've established the next steps with your prospect.

Whether it's scheduling a follow-up meeting, providing additional information, or arranging a demo, you’ll have to make sure you and your prospect are clear on the action items moving forward.

It would be a mistake to ruin the efforts of your discovery call by forgetting to specify the next steps.

Post-call follow-up

After the call, reinforce these next steps by sending a follow-up email summarizing the key points discussed during the conversation and reiterating the agreed-upon action items.

This not only serves as a helpful reference for the prospect but also reinforces your professionalism and attention to detail.

For a fun, personalized and interactive follow-up, why not include a short video recorded with Claap in your follow-up email?

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