best discovery call questions

10 Best Discovery Call Questions

Nahla Davies

Everyone likes closing calls. After all, closing calls are the final step to sealing a deal and moving money from a prospect’s bank account into your business. But, there is a lot of work that precedes those final moments of closing the deal. Almost every deal begins with an initial conversation, known as a discovery call.

Not every discovery call will lead to your next deal closing. However, you should have a well refined approach for every discovery call to ensure you maximize the chances of converting a prospect into a customer.Understanding the best discovery call questions to ask can maximize your success and your revenue.

Discovery calls – what are they?

In a nutshell, discovery calls are the initial calls or contacts made after you connect with a prospect/lead, usually over email or some other non-vocal means. During a discovery call, you:

  • Ask the prospect several questions
  • Determine the prospect’s needs, goals, and challenges that may affect your potential deal
  • Determine how likely it is that the prospect will eventually make a purchase

You can think of a discovery call as the first step in the overall sales qualification process. It's also, in many cases, the most crucial step. During the discovery call, you'll set the tone for the relationship your brand house has with the lead (both before and after you make a sale). The discovery call is the first real impression that a lead has of your brand, regardless of what they saw in a marketing email.

To conduct a discovery call, you can employ the use of tools such as a VoIP service, which allows one to make calls using an internet connection. Most VoIP tools can range in price from very affordable to very expensive, depending on which specific services and features are offered as a part of the overall package. If you need to provide a demo or visual presentation, you can consider using popular video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, GoToMeeting or Microsoft Teams. These tools allow you to do screenshare so that you can easily present and walk a potential lead through the product or presentation.

Why are discovery calls important?

Given the above information, it’s easy to see why discovery calls are so critical. If you botch a discovery call, odds are you want to get a sale for your business. On the other hand, if a discovery call resonates with a with a prospect needs, the odds are much greater that they will become a customer (both in the short and long terms).

If you manage a discovery call well, you could see important benefits like:

  • A better understanding of your business and product on the part of your prospects. A good discovery call leaves your prospects feeling comfortable and confident about what your company is and whether they can trust you.
  • The opportunity to show that you are invested in a prospect’s success. Again, this can be highly beneficial when forging a long-term relationship with a potential lead and big spender. In fact, a good discovery callwill show that you are not just after a sale – but truly looking to help the prospect in finding a solution for their needs.
  • Having a better understanding of your chance of securing a sale. This is arguably the most critical part of any discovery call. Your business probably has many different leads and prospects to pursue. After a discovery call, you can categorize the given lead as highly likely to make a purchase, moderately likely, or not very likely, and prioritize your resources accordingly. For instance, it makes more sense to pursue leads who are highly likely to make purchases than it does to pursue all your leads equally.

These benefits can provide important advantages throughout the sales process from start to finish. It’s no stretch to say that the discovery call affects whether your sale will be a success more than the sale call itself.

Oftentimes, a customermakes a decision about whether they'll buy something from your business at the earliest possible opportunity.Everything afterward is a matter of hammering out the detailsand confirming their assumptions about the effectiveness of your product.

Key questions to ask on a discovery call

Now that you grasp the importance of discovery calls, let’s break down some specific questions you should plan to ask the next time you’re on the phone with a lead.

What does your current process look like?

First off, ask the prospect what their current process (or business model, sales model, etc.) looks like. By gathering this information, you’ll immediately understand:

  • How your business or product may be able to help
  • Whether one product or another will be a good fit for the prospect

In other words, this question not only provides you with valuable intelligence. It helps equip you to steer the conversation in the direction that will most likely lead to a sale.

How are you looking to improve your process?

Next, ask the lead how they are looking to improve the process in question. Depending on their answer, you could recommend one product or another, or you could develop the conversation even further to learn more about their specific needs. In either case, understanding how a prospect wants to improve a process enables you to better alleviate their concerns and present your product or solution as the go-to choice for their needs.

What made you reach out to us?

Don’t be fooled by the phrasing of this interview question.It’s not about determining how the lead made contact with you. At this point in the process, it doesn't matter whether the prospect came to you via email, social media post, etc.

Instead, asking this question tells you what the prospect thinks of your brand. It can tell you whether the prospect:

  • Is just trying as many solutions as possible
  • Specifically thinks your business will be the ideal fit for their needs
  • Expects something from your business that you can or cannot provide

This information is crucial when framing expectations and when guiding a prospect to make a sale.

What do you want most from a solution?

It’s a good idea to ask a prospect what they want most out of a potential solution. It informs you aboutthe problems they are trying to solve. When you hear the answer, you’ll know:

  • What product out of your catalog, if any, is the best choice for their needs
  • Whether your business will be able to provide a satisfactory resolution for the prospect

On top of that, you can frame your business solution according to their exact needs. Say that you sell business analytics software and a business owner contacts you. Your business analytics software can do a lot of different things.But if the prospect mentions that they want automation tools, you can highlight the automation tools built into your software solution and make it seem much more appealing. Understanding customer needs helps you better position your product features.

What are the most important components for a solution for you?

“Components” in this sense don’t refer to features or functions but instead major aspects of a solution like scalability, price, and functionality. For example, if a new client you want to onboard says that price is no object and they just want the most robust solution possible, that’s great news for you - if you can talk up your product’s features and benefits!

What would a successful outcome look like?

This generalized question can also be helpful when directing the conversation or steering a prospect to make a sale. Ask them what a successful outcome might look like. Then describe how your product can help them achieve that successful outcome in terms of factors such as:

  • Revenue
  • Data analytics results
  • Lead conversions
  • Anything else depending on the process and your solution

What are the roadblocks keeping you from success?

It may be wise to ask a prospect about the roadblocks that are currently experiencing.Once you know these roadblocks, you can highlight how your solution will solve them. This is particularly advantageous if you need to convert a prospect who already has a solution like yours but is looking to switch providers. 

Who is involved in the decision for the solution?

As each discovery call moves toward its conclusion, ask who you’ll need to talk to when making a final solution decision. In many cases, it will be the person you are on the discovery call with. But for more expensive purchases, you may need to speak to another executive or even a team of prospective buyers.

What’s your budget for solving the problem?

You should also ask what the budget is for solving the lead’s problem. This can be an important question to ask when you offer enterprise-level solutions, which frequently have custom prices or price agreements dictated by resources and features rather than licenses. Additionally, it’s best to know if the prospect’s budget is well aligned with your pricing model. If there’s no alignment, the lead may need either be educated about industry costs for their solution needs or they’ll need to settle for less functionality from another supplier.

What is your timeline for making a purchase decision?

Lastly, ask the prospect what their timeline is for making a decision. If it’s short, remind them that you are equipped to provide them with the solution from your company ASAP.This may incentivize to make a decision earlier, rather than later. A timeline question like this can accelerate the discovery call process and lead a prospect to a sale much more quickly.


All in all, asking the right questions can do a lot to improve your discovery call results and maximize your initial relationship with a lead. Be sure to practice the ten discovery call questions and incorporate them naturally into each discovery call you make. In no time at all, you’ll see improvements in your discovery call outcomes.

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