This guest post is by Sujan Patel.
A sales discovery call is often the point in the sales process where your prospect internally decides whether they’re going to buy or not.
This is likely the first time they’ll have spoken with you at length, so it’s essential to get what you need out of the call while also making a great impression.
Remember, you want them to leave the call feeling like you’re genuine, have plenty of expertise, and have an authentic desire to help them.
Read on to find out how to get the most value out of your discovery calls.
1. Find the Right Prospect
If you’ve nailed your sales discovery call technique – you’re asking the right questions, you’re focused on building a relationship – but you’re not getting anywhere, it’s probably because you’re working on the wrong prospects.
As a sales rep, it can be tempting to go after every prospect that comes your way.
The more prospects you hit up, the more sales you’ll make, right? Not exactly.
Spend a little time qualifying your prospects and you’ll likely find that, though your list may be shorter, you'll end up making more sales in the long run.
So how can you make sure you’re talking to the right prospects?
Before you even start scoping out prospects, create your ideal client persona. This should take into account demographic information such as:
- Company size
- Job title
- Company location
First and foremost, ensure that your prospect is a decision maker. This simply means that they have the power to agree to the sale. Where possible, you should also ensure that your prospect will genuinely benefit from your offering.
Before picking up the phone, look up your prospect’s background to see whether they match your ideal client persona.
Search them on:
- Company website
- Personal website
Next, perform a Google search to find out what is currently happening within their organization and their industry. This will help you to identify potential pain points that your product or service can address.
Finally, find out if your prospect has a history with your own company, and see if you can identify any competitors they have used.
As well as giving you insight you can leverage to make your sale, this research phase will also make it easier to strike up a conversation surrounding shared interests and experiences.
2. Create a Script
Sales reps either love scripts or hate them.
We're firmly in the former camp because cold call scripts are simply one of the most useful tools in a salesperson’s arsenal. Think about it: even if you don’t have a script in writing, you have one in your mind.
You’ll have the same openers and the same comebacks to sales objections and challenges. You’ll use the same closing and upsell techniques.
Having a script allows you to refine and optimize this process to make sure you’re saying the best thing in any given situation at any time. Simply put, it provides you with a reference you need to have consistently valuable discussions with prospects.
Salespeople often fear that using a script will make them sound robotic or inhuman. But remember, you’re the one writing the script. You can make it as personable and human as you would be on any given call. What’s more, the idea isn’t simply to write down a script and read it off, word-for-word.
After a few calls, the most successful sales reps will internalize a script and make it their own, honing the language and tactics with every call.\
3. Identify Company and Prospect Problems
These days, making a sale is all about adding value to your prospect – even before they’ve signed on the dotted line.
This shows your prospect that you care about them and their business. And if you’re going the extra mile before they’ve given you a dime, it suggests that once they’re a paying customer, you’ll add more value with every interaction.
In short, they’re buying you and your expertise as well as your product or service. The easiest way to demonstrably add value during the sales process is to identify pain points and then detail how your product or service can solve them.
So how do you go about identifying their pain points? It’s far easier to blast through a slide deck you’ve presented 1000 times than to have an in-depth conversation with a prospect about how business is going and the challenges they’re facing. But in order to get the information you need, this is exactly what you’re going to have to do.
That said, it would be a mistake to lead with: “So what problems are you facing at the moment?”
For this to work, you need to be knowledgeable and compassionate – and you need to have done your research. Jack Wilson, Head of Sales at Right Inbox believes salespeople should “ think of this less as a Q&A and more of a genuine discussion, with helpful input on both sides.”
Start with an overview of who you are and who your company is, along with some examples of clients you’ve worked with before.
Once they’re bought in, ask open ended questions based on your knowledge of the client and their competitors to tease the relevant information out.
4. Build a Relationship
Unless you’re selling a low-value product, the hard sell is not the way to go anymore. If you’re at the discovery stage, you have to put more work in.
This means focusing on building a relationship before you even think about selling. Focus on the other person’s needs rather than securing a sale, and allow the conversation to evolve naturally. Use non-aggressive language, and decide together whether this relationship is worth pursuing.
Most importantly, use rapport building questions, such as:
- What does a good outcome look like?
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- How important is it to you to solve this problem soon?
This is a softer way of selling and one that – perhaps against your instincts – makes you much more likely to close the sale.
5. Guide Them Through the Process
Don’t keep your prospect in the dark. This will only leave them wondering exactly what they're getting for their money, as well as whether there could be any extra costs along the way.
Instead, take them through your process step-by-step. Tell them exactly what you and your colleagues will be working on at every step, and explain where there will be touchpoints as well as what you'll need from them.
This will eliminate any confusion on either end, and get all their questions and objections out of the way early on. Not only will this help you during the sales process, but it will also manage expectations for the delivery stage and minimize any need for refunds.
A large part of guiding your prospect through the process is going to involve addressing sales objections. This is not necessarily a bad thing – it shows that your prospect is genuinely engaged with the process.
Think about common objections you get during the discovery process and work responses into your script.
6. Be Genuine
So many sales reps these days are using consultative selling and relationship building that – when it’s not done right – can cause prospects to be cynical about their intentions.
How do you convince prospects that you’re a trustworthy person who has their best interests and those of their business at heart?
The answer is simple: be genuine. Only chase prospects you know you can help, and be excited about the journey you’re about to go on together.
Any tips of your own to offer for sales discovery calls? Leave a note below.
Author - Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures& co-founder Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.