Discovery Call checklist: How to Qualify Prospects
The first conversation sales reps have with a prospect is the most important one. It can determine whether or not your entire sales process will be successful. Here is the discovery call checklist that will help ensure your call is successful.
The first conversation sales reps have with a prospect is the most important one. This conversation, which takes place after the prospect has shown initial interest in a product or service, is called a discovery call. It can determine whether or not your entire sales process will be successful.
The main goal of a sales discovery call is to ascertain whether your product or service suits the prospect’s needs or can solve their problems. So, essentially, this is when you decide if the prospects qualify to continue moving through the sales process.
As this is a pivotal stage in the sales process, it’s very important to get it right. Here is the discovery call checklist that will help ensure your call is successful.
1. Clearly Define Who Qualifies
Before speaking to the prospect, sales reps need to have a clear idea of what your qualification criteria are.
Define things like industry, company size, revenue, budget, company objectives, and pain points. Note that it can also be very helpful to specify which qualities mean the prospect does not qualify.
2. Winging It Is Never A Good Idea
Sales reps should always do their homework before calling the prospect.
There are two huge benefits to researching the prospect before the call. First, it may help disqualify the prospect and save a lot of time. Second, with pre-call research, sales reps can ask the right questions instead of wasting time on questions that a simple online search can answer and tailor the messages to the prospect.
Focus your research on these two resources:
- Company website. Visit the About Us page and blog to learn about the values and stories of the company and its leaders.
- Social profile (mainly LinkedIn). Check the prospect’s LinkedIn social profile and try to find mutual connections because a referral can put you on the fast track to your next sales meeting.
According to Harvard Business Review, “84% of B2B buyers are now starting the purchasing process with a referral, and peer recommendations are influencing more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions.”
3. Have The Right Attitude
Note that prospects can sense when they are simply being qualified instead of listened to. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how it feels to sit through back-to-back meetings with various vendors. Exhausting, right?
So, instead of talking to them, sales reps should open a conversation to allow prospects to respond and provide great value. This way, if they are a good fit, it will be easy to make a follow-up appointment.
To do this, it’s best to first run through the agenda and then ask them if it works for them.
For example, sales reps can say, “I want to discuss A, B, and C, but before we start, is there anything else you would like me to cover?”
4. Build Rapport
If you want to have a conversation and get honest answers, you need to build rapport as soon as possible.
So, going back to the prospect’s social profile, sales reps should try to find common ground between them and their prospect because similarities, even the most coincidental ones, have a powerful effect on the willingness to buy from a person.
In addition, try to find some personal accomplishment to compliment on.
“Implicit attitudes (unconscious ideas) tend to remain untouched by contradictory explicit information,” said Jaideep Sengupta, a professor of marketing at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the co-author of Insincere Flattery Actually Works: A Dual Attitudes Perspective. “It’s a testament to how insidiously flattery affects us.”
It’s also a good idea to start the conversation with a piece of information found during the research stage. For example, “I hear you have new offices now, congrats! It’s amazing how fast you’re growing.” Or, “Thanks for the great discovery call tips! Read your blog the other day and shared it with my team.”
5. Uncover Pain Points
While you listen more than you talk on your discovery call, center the conversation around the prospect and their pain points. This will provide insights that will allow you to qualify or disqualify them.
According to Chorus, on average, top-performing reps speak 48% of the time in a discovery call, which means they listen 52% of the time. And that’s not surprising, as the goal of the discovery call is to get to know the prospect as much as possible.
To get your prospect to talk, ask open-ended questions that require explanations that will give you as much information as possible and help you understand their pain points.
Here are some questions that can help you during a discovery call:
- How are you currently coping with this issue?
- How did you try to handle this problem in the past?
- What challenges did you face when you tried other solutions?
6. Present Your Solution
If a sales rep cannot offer a solution to the prospect’s pain points, it means the prospect does not qualify.
If the prospect does qualify, it’s time to present the company’s solution through the lens of the prospect’s pain points, which by now, the sales rep knows very well because they listened during the call.
Make the connection between the prospect’s pain point and specific features of your solution, and explain exactly how it will work.
If there are examples of similar companies that faced similar challenges your solution helped solve, this is the time to talk about them, offer testimonials or show case studies.
But don’t overdo it. Leave the heavy pitching to the demo call that will come next.
Read next: “How to Prepare for a Sales Discovery Call”
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