9 Top Discovery Call Tips for Sales You will Ever Read

December 28, 2022

A productive discovery call could mean the difference between winning and losing a deal.

Your discovery call sets the trajectory and builds the momentum.

So, what makes a great discovery call?

It actually depends on the customer type you’re selling to.

We analysed 126,000 recorded discovery calls with AI to understand what drives successful outcomes.

These discovery calls were recorded on web conferencing platforms with MeetRecord , transcribed, and analyzed with unsupervised machine learning to identify the discovery call questions and techniques that drive revenue.

Let’s take a look at our learnings.

Discuss 3 Pain-points During Your Discovery Call

First, we found that the most effective discovery calls uncover around three business problems.

The algorithms that analysed the calls in this study are able to detect what topics are being discussed at each point of the call.

The most successful salespeople tend to dive deeply into 3-4 customer pain-points, and then wrap up logistics and next steps at the end.

Why “3-4 customers problems”?

Why not more? Could be anybody's guess

But my hypothesis is that less than that, and you don’t have a buyer in enough pain.

More than that, and they have too many priorities going on at once to make any headway with you.

It's a choice between spreading yourself thin and being all over the place. 3-4 is sort of a sweet spot!

Ask 12 Discovery Call Questions

This leads us to our next discovery call data point.

The number of discovery call questions to ask.

We found that asking between 11-13 discovery call questions during the course of the call correlates with the greatest success.

Less than that and your discovery call might not be robust enough.

More than that, and it will likely start to feel like an interrogation, rather than a natural conversation.

A Few Tips on Discovery Call Questions

First, the types of discovery call questions you ask matter dearly.

Asking a generic line of questioning is likely to get you kicked in the teeth.

Your best bet for discovery call success is asking questions about key business problems or goals the customer is trying to solve for.

Let me explain the above chart.

Like I mentioned, the call recording technology we used to analyse these discovery calls can identify specific topics that are being discussed.

We found that top sellers most after ask their questions while discussing problem-related topics with their buyers.

They ask fewer questions outside of discussing those topics.

Here’s your next tip on asking discovery call questions.

Phrase your questions in a way that prompt your buyer to give you a long response.

We found that there’s a direct correlation between getting your customer to talk uninterrupted for a long time in response to a discovery call question.

Here are some ways you can phrase your questions for a long response…

  • “Can you help me understand…”
  • “Can you walk me through…”
  • “Talk to me about…”

Phrasing your discovery call questions in these ways encourages your buyer to respond thoroughly.

Which helps your cause in closing the deal.

Make Your Discovery Call Conversational

The more your discovery call feels like a natural conversation, the better.

Avoid pitching.

But also avoid interrogating your buyer with questions.

Notice the question velocity the most successful salespeople.

Top sellers balance and spread their discovery call questions evenly throughout the sales call.

“Average” salespeople, by contrast, “frontload” their questions at the beginning of the call.

It’s as if they’re making their way through a to-do list of pre-loaded discovery call questions.

It also turns out that the more back-and-forth dialogue there is, the more likely you’ll succeed.

We measured “speaker switches per minute,” and found there is a strong correlation with discovery call success.

In other words, your discovery calls should feel like a “tennis match,” not a football game 🙂

The Ideal Discovery Call Talk-to-Listen Ratio

When you follow all of the above discovery call techniques, you naturally end up with a winning “talk-to-listen ratio.”

You listen more.

You get your customer to talk more.

On an average, we see an engaging conversation when the customer is talking 70% of the time.

But, after talking with few sales managers, we realize it is a lot dependant on sales person's ability.

Someone who focuses on relationship building might have this number in a lower range.

Objective is to do in a natural way. One that doesn’t feel like an abrasive interrogation or barrage of discovery questions.

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