Discovery Call 101

Authored by Josh Schwartz on July 10, 2015

You asked for 15 minutes on your prospect’s calendar thousands of times through emails. You cold called into hundreds of accounts asking for 15 minutes as well. What happens when you land that 15 minute call? Here are a few quick and easy steps to follow on how to have a professional business conversation with your prospect while qualifying them in or out and creating excitement for next steps.


  1. Use an upfront contract

This is your call.Take control by setting the parameters and expectations for how the call will be structured. Sandler training tells us to discuss TIME, PURPOSE, AGENDA. For instance…

  • “We’re scheduled for 15 minutes, does that still work for you? Do you have any hard stops I need to be aware of?”
  • “The purpose of this call is to see if we’re a good fit. I’m going to ask you some qualifying questions and see if we can solve any business issues that you’re currently experiencing.”
  • "Usually on this type of call we want to discuss these three things X, Y and Z,  recap and if we’re a good fit, schedule another meeting to dive deeper”
  1. Ask qualifying questions

Whether you’re using BANT, ANUM (Authority-Need-Urgency-Money), or any other process at your company to find qualified opportunities, use this time to ask those questions and build value.

  1. Use active listening

Did your prospect just give you a hint towards their pain? Did you even notice what they said? Or were you contemplating your next response without even listening? The first step in objection handling is listening to your prospect. Then, and only then can you…

  1. Tailor your responses

So you listened to your prospect. Good job. Now repeat it back to them in this order. A I O A.

Agree and show empathy.

Isolate the objection by repeating it back to them.

Overcome with a “however” statement.

Ask your follow up or “leading” question.

  1. Ask follow up questions

Did you find out a surface pain from your qualifying questions? Let’s dig a littler deeper. How does that affect their business? Can you tell me more about that? Finding out WHY that’s a pain is how we build ROI statements.

  1. Teach what you preach

You listened. You overcame the objection. You dug a little deeper and found out some pain. Now it’s time to teach and tailor to your prospect’s pain. How can your product or service solve their company’s issues? Teach them how you do so. Tell a relevant story from one of your previous customers and talk to their pain.

  1. Stay in control

Here’s usually where we run into issues. What do we do next? Are you lost and not sure where to lead the call next? Use these tactics to take back control of the conversation

  1. Time Checks: “Okay, we have five minutes left, let’s do a quick recap and set next steps."
  2. Recap: “From my notes your top three pains are X, Y, and Z. Can you tell me more about how X  affects your business?” Or, “Would you agree those are your top three issues?"
  3. Answer a question with a question: They’ve started to go astray. Bring them back down the right path. “Let me make sure I understand your question correctly. Are you asking about implementation time to see if this can fit into your schedule?"
  1. Final Recap

You’re running out of time on your scheduled call. Do a quick final recap covering the questions they’ve answered and a rundown of their pain. This also lets the prospect know that we’re coming to a close on the call.

  1. Set next steps/ stay true to expectations

In your upfront contract, you should have mentioned what a next step may be, or what the expectations of a successful call would look like. If your prospect is qualified this is the time to get that next meeting date on the calendar. Stay true to those expectations you set earlier and ask for what you told them you’d ask for. For example…

“At the beginning of the call I stated that if we were a good fit I’d ask you for 30 minutes next week for a demonstration of our solution. Looks like we can solve X, Y, and Z business issues for your company. What times do you have available Tuesday morning or after lunch on Wednesday?”

Whether you’re an SDR, AE, or AM if you follow these steps it should guide you through a successful discovery or qualification call.

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