How To Conduct An Effective Sales Discovery Call

June 6, 2016 Joe Vignolo

Most execs today have calendars that look like a game of Tetris, so when you - the sales development rep - are gifted an all-important slot, you better maximize that time.

It’s an opportunity to transcend the usual “salesy” shtick, ask thoughtful questions and become more consultative, working with prospects to solve their problems.

And it’s a lot easier said than done.

That’s why we here at Datanyze partnered with HubSpot to create a Discovery Call Checklist to guide you through your initial interaction with a potential customer. From your first few seconds on the line, to securing a demo, here are some tips to help you conduct an effective sales discovery call.


Build Rapport

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After introducing yourself, it’s time build rapport. This is where research is critical. Being phony is fairly easy to spot, so take some time (even just a few minutes) to research your contact. But remember to be human. You’re not a sales automaton, robotically data-mining for the sole purpose of faking a connection, you’re a person - act like it.

In what city is their office located? Ever been there? Did you go to the same university? There’s something out there that you two have in common, but you may have to dig a little.


Provide Helpful Resources

The purpose of the discovery call is not only to find out if your solution is a good fit for your prospect’s company, but also to build trust. Without trust, there probably won’t be a deal no matter what the fit.

One way to build trust is to provide your potential customer with helpful resources. Whether that’s an ebook, webinar or white paper, offering up useful or interesting content can help them see you as a trusted advisor.

Here’s an example soundbite from a conversation one of SDRs had here at Datanyze:

“I noticed you downloaded our ebook, ‘How To Build A Successful Sales Development Team’. If you found that interesting, we recently held two webinars - ‘How to Effectively Measure Your SDRs and AEs’ and ‘How to Build Your Sales Dream Team’ that you may like. Definitely check out the first one - it lays out the best ways to gain visibility about your team’s performance.”


Get Them To Open Up

A closed-off potential customer can kill a deal before it even starts. If they’re not forthcoming, you won’t discover much on your discovery call. Ask thoughtful questions and make sure they know you actually care about the answers. What’s their day-to-day look like? How many customers do they have?

The goal is to have a conversation, not an interrogation. Remember to practice emotional intelligence and gauge the impact your questioning is having. Colleen Stanley, author of Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success, describes emotional intelligence as “...your ability to identify, assess and control your own emotions and other's emotions.” Is your questioning putting them at ease, or shutting them down?


Provide Positioning Statements

A positioning statement shows your prospect that you understand their pain points. It’s your time to let them know you’ve really been listening. You can paraphrase their pain points or describe times when other companies have dealt with similar problems.

Here’s a positioning statement example from HubSpot:

“When I talk to emerging businesses, there are two main challenges that they are often looking to improve; increasing traffic to their website and increasing the leads they get from their website. They often struggle in these areas for a few reasons: (1) They are overwhelmed with all the information out there about what they SHOULD be doing and don’t know how to get started, (2) They may be doing some social media or SEO, but have a bunch of different tools and find the results are minimal and it is taking too much of their time or (3) an agency is doing marketing for them with less than adequate results. Are these challenges that you face as well?”

(Pause and give prospect time to react)

“Does that situation resonate with you?”


Tell A Relevant Customer Story

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“If you sell for a living, you know the power of a customer testimonial. An effective client reference may mean the difference between a lost opportunity and a won deal,” HubSpot’s Rachel Clapp Miller writes. A relevant customer story is the equivalent of saying “don’t just take my word for it.” It shows you’ve had past success helping companies with similar challenges.

Here’s an example customer story from Datanyze:

“Your situation sounds a lot like the team at DoubleDutch. They were having trouble booking demos and wasting tons of time prospecting companies that probably weren’t going to buy. Datanyze came in and helped their reps uncover the tech stack of prospects and when those prospects added or dropped certain solutions - that’s a really important buying signal. With that info, reps could reach out to the right prospects - the ones most likely to convert - at the right time. Their SDR team now books 25% more demos and those demos are closing 10 days faster.”


So What’s Next?

There are even more tips you can use to conduct an effective sales discovery call - especially when it comes time to set up next-steps and hopefully book that demo. For a step-by-step guide, download our Discovery Call Checklist!

Featured Image Source: Blogger Cellphone Office Business Notebook by Free-Photos CC0 Pixabay

About the Author

Joe Vignolo

Joe is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Datanyze, specializing in authentic storytelling that connects and converts. Before joining Datanyze, he was an award-winning broadcast journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also believes Point Break is a shining example of American cinema.

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