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10 Sales Discovery Questions to Ace your Next Sales Call

Ajay Jay
May 8, 2024
5 min read

In the art of sales, the questions you ask can either make or break the deal. The right questions can open doors, build relationships, and reveal valuable insights that can keep you a step ahead. And to help you hone your sales guru skills, we're here to share 10 important sales discovery questions that would surely ace your next sales call. They say knowledge is power, and in sales, that knowledge often comes from the answers to these insightful queries. 

"In the world of sales, the right questions are keys that can unlock the treasure chest of a successful sale."

The goal, then, is to take a step back and use questions as your strategic tool for understanding your prospect's needs and establishing a lasting connection. Ready to dive in?

What Is a Discovery Call?

A Discovery Call is essentially the nucleus of the entire sales process. In this pivotal interaction, you as a sales representative have the unique opportunity to connect with your potential client for the first time, setting the tone for all future communications.

Furthermore, a well-structured discovery call is not merely a casual conversation. It is a golden chance to gain vital insights about your prospect’s needs, motivations, and decision-making processes. By asking the right questions, not only do you understand what your prospect needs, but also determine if your product or service is the ideal solution for them. 

Understanding the importance of a Discovery Call, therefore, lies in its potential to turn a prospective lead into a satisfied customer. Thus, it's not an overstatement to say that out of all the steps in the sales discovery process, the sales discovery call is the most important one.

And so, now comes the big question - How to optimise this call for maximum benefit? The key to a successful discovery call lies in the systematic use of well-phrased questions. Hence, we have curated a list of '10 Sales Discovery Questions' to guide your next sales call towards desired results:

Why are discovery calls important?

As the initial point of contact, discovery calls set the pace for the potential relationship between a representative and a prospect. Setting the right tone from the beginning is critical to gain the confidence and trust of prospects, therefore, tailoring your approach to the audience's needs is paramount. The information you gather during this introductory stage influences all subsequent interactions.  

The Importance of Thorough Preparation 

Precise preparation boosts the probability of a successful call. Adequate research about the potential client's business, including their industry, competitors, and goals, allows for a more customised and empathetic conversation. It sets you apart from the competition, showing the prospect that you care about more than just making a sale - you understand and value their needs.  

Earning Insights from Discovery Calls 

Besides providing a personal touch, these calls are also a goldmine of insights. Details gathered during a well-structured discovery call help in comprehending the prospect's unique pain points, expectations, and buying processes. This knowledge drives the development of tailored solutions that can help lead the prospect further down the sales funnel more effectively.  

High Stakes, High Rewards 

The business stakes of these calls are high, given they virtually dictate the course of potential deals. They enable salespeople to identify higher quality prospects, thereby focusing efforts on opportunities more likely to close. This strategic planning not only increases efficiency but also paves the way for higher sales quota attainment. 

Investing in a Successful Discovery Call 

Therefore, investing ample time and energy into a successful discovery call can definitely yield substantial rewards.

What Are Discovery Call Questions?

Discovery call questions are the probing questions asked by a sales professional to understand their prospect's needs, pain points, and goals. They play a critical role in establishing a warm and personal rapport with your potential customers. Through these questions, you aim to identify if your product or service aligns with the prospect's expectations and business requirements. 

A well-structured discovery call, facilitated by thoughtful and strategic questions, is a powerful tool in a sales rep's armoury. It not only aids in gaining a comprehensive view of your prospect's business landscape but also positions you as a trusted advisor rather than just another salesperson pushing a product. 

The 10 Essential Sales Discovery Questions 

Gearing up for your next discovery call? Here are the 10 best discovery questions you should be asking your potential clients to set the stage for a successful sales journey.


  1. What are the biggest challenges your company is currently facing?
  2. How have you addressed these challenges in the past?
  3. What are your main objectives for this quarter/this year?
  4. What is the decision-making process in your organization?
  5. What impact will resolving these challenges have on your company?
  6. Who else is involved in the buying process or decision-making?
  7. What are the measures you're taking to achieve your targets?
  8. How can our product/service support your goals?
  9. Have you used similar products/services before? If so, what was your experience?
  10. What's the timeline to start implementing a solution?

Each of these questions delve into different aspects of your prospect's business – their existing problem areas, their ambitions, their previous solutions and resources, decision and approval routes, and their evaluation criteria. Use these as a guide, and customize based on your understanding of their needs. 

Remember to listen actively and empathetically, allowing them to express their needs without interruption. 

Pick Discovery Questions That Fit Your Prospects

Now that we've established the concept and need for sales discovery questions, pivotal to the success of your sales pitches, it's time to delve into the tactful technique of picking the right questions to ask your prospects. Personalization here is the key. Remember, a one-size-fits-all approach is a path leading to failure. 

You're dealing with unique individuals with distinct concerns, goals, and backgrounds. Therefore, your successful discovery call will ride heavily on your ability to tailor questions that resonate with your respective prospect. Here are a few suggestions: 

Understand Your Prospects 

Have a firm understanding of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas. These can serve as invaluable guidelines for crafting personalized questions. Every question must be built with a purpose - to gather more insights about your prospect and pave a path for a fruitful conversation. 

Use The Tools At Your Disposal 

Don't hesitate to use the variety of discovery question categories available to guide your conversation. Segmenting your questions into Staging, Qualifying, Disqualifying, and Next Steps can bring structure and seamlessness to your call. 

Tailor Your Questions 

Bring your prospect's role, their daily activities, and the metrics they prioritize into your conversation. This will unveil their main challenges and needs, and position your product or service as a solution. Be prepared to innovate your questions on the spot. The dynamism this brings to the table can work wonders on prospects. 

Open-Ended Questions are Your Friends 

Don't just settle for simple yes/no answers, use open-ended questions. These are potent aids in deepening your understanding of your prospect's situation, needs, visions, and objections, thereby allowing you to align your responses precisely with their needs. 

Finally, remember to listen rather than just hear. Your primary goal here is to uncover as many insights as possible from your prospect's responses. This can only happen when you're genuinely engaged in the dialogue and attentive to what your prospect is saying. Listening can help you build rapport and trust, which will ultimately lead you to the path of closing the deal.

10 Sales Discovery Questions to Identify Real Prospect Pain Points

You learn a lot about your prospect's needs and goals during the discovery call. With the right questions, you can even identify their biggest challenges and pain points. Therefore, the questions you ask are key to the success of your sales call. So, without any further ado, here are the top 10 sales discovery questions that will get you all the right insights on your next call. 

1. What is the biggest challenge you're facing in your role right now? 

This question will help you identify the pain point that is most impactful to your prospect. It also opens up conversation about how your product or service can help address this challenge. 

2. How are you currently handling this issue? 

The answer to this question will give you an insight into their current solutions and their shortcomings. This can help you strategize how your product or service could be a better alternative. 

3. What is the consequence of not solving this issue? 

This question will help you understand the gravity of the problem and the prospect's urgency to resolve it, allowing you to tailor your proposal accordingly. 

4. Have you tried to solve this problem in the past? What happened? 

This question will give you an idea about the prospect's past attempts and their results, providing you with the context needed to offer a more effective solution. 

5. What outcomes are you hoping to achieve by resolving this issue? 

The answer to this question will provide valuable insight into your prospect's goals and expectations, helping you position your product or service in a way that aligns with these outcomes. 

6. Can you tell me more about the decision-making process here? 

This question will help you understand your prospect's timeline and decision-making process, enabling you to provide timely assistance and follow-ups. 

7. Who else, if anyone, is involved in this decision-making process? 

Knowing who the key decision-makers are can help you customize your pitch to cater to their interests, potential concerns, and needs. 

8. How would your company prioritize fixing this issue? 

This question gives you insight into how your prospect's company assigns resources and where your solutions might fit into their priorities. 

9. What would happen if this problem were not addressed within the specified timeframe? 

Understanding the broader impacts of the problem can provide valuable context for your product or service's importance and necessity. 

10. What role do you play in addressing this issue? 

This question helps ascertain the direct involvement of the prospect in addressing the issue, thus helping you understand their personal stake and how to best direct your pitch. 

By asking these questions, you're not just selling a product or service; you're providing a solution to your prospect's biggest challenges. Remember, the key to a successful discovery call is not only understanding your prospect's general needs but also their specific pain points.


Pick the Right Questions to Ace Your Next Sales Discovery Call

Being armed with the right discovery questions can transform your next sales call into an exploration of the prospect's needs, challenges, and goals. Let's face it, every potential customer is unique and requires a tailored approach. The success of your discovery call will hinge on your ability to adapt your questions to each unique scenario and individual.  

This is where the magic of open-ended questions comes into play. The beauty of this type of question is that they allow for open conversation and deeper discovery. They don't just provide you with inkling into the prospect's current situation; they open the door to their desired outcome and their vision for the future.  

Think about it. When you ask your prospect "What role do you play in addressing this issue?", you’re not only understanding their level of involvement, but also getting a glimpse of their responsibilities and their perception of the problem. Similarly, "What would happen if this problem were not addressed within the specified timeframe?" helps you gauge the urgency of the issue, and the potential impact on their business.  

The Potential of Active Listening 

However, the power of your questions is only as strong as your ability to actively listen to the answers. It is through genuine and focused listening that you'll be able to discern those latent needs and frustrations that may not be immediately apparent to the prospect themselves. This is your chance to stand out as a trusted advisor who can illuminate a pathway toward a solution rather than just a salesperson trying to close a deal.  

Strategizing Your Discovery Questions  

So, how can you ensure you're asking the right questions? Here are a few strategies that you can consider:  

Focusing on Big Talk  

"Big talk" goes beyond mere surface-level conversation; it digs deep into substantive discussion. Your questions should encourage prospects to think and share insights about their business. Also remember to ask follow-up questions - they show you're engaged and provide even more valuable information.  

Addressing More Than One Problem  

Prospects rarely have just one issue to solve. A decent discovery call should be able to uncover multiple challenges. This doesn't mean you have to solve them all, but it does mean that you have a holistic understanding of your prospect's situation.  

Using Stories in Discovery  

Illustrating points with stories can evoke emotions and create a more memorable and personal conversation. Stories encourage prospects to see themselves achieving their goals with your help. 

Consistency in Discovery Calls 

Consistency in asking discovery questions over time can provide a better understanding of your prospects. People’s needs change over time and staying on top of these changes will keep you relevant in their eyes.  

At the end of the day, successful sales discovery is about asking the right questions and listening deeply to your prospect's responses. By personalizing your approach, focusing on open-ended inquiries, and activating the strategies listed above, you are well on your way to acing your next sales discovery call. Remember, the goal is not just to sell, but to build a relationship based on understanding and trust. 

What Makes a Great Discovery Call?

A great discovery call is much more than just a conversation, it's a stepping-stone towards potential success in your sales pursuit. It is your first opportunity to foster trust, understand your prospect's pain points, and enhance your relationship with them. 

The essence of a great discovery call lies in its meticulous planning and execution. A sales rep equipped with the right questions and the capacity to actively listen to prospects, stands a higher chance of guiding the conversation towards a positive direction. And this, in turn, escalates the odds of converting a potential prospect into a satisfied customer. 

The number one goal of a stellar discovery call is discerning how exactly you can solve your prospect's biggest problem. It's about positioning your solutions strategically and convincingly, creating a clear picture of how they can meet the identified needs. In short, it’s about shaping a narrative that compels the prospect to visualize their future success with your product. 

Remember, a discovery call is not a one-and-done task. You need to invest time and energy to make each call worthwhile. The payoff of such investment comes in the form of focusing on high-quality prospects who are more likely to close deals and exceed quota, thereby making it a win-win situation for both parties. 

Finally, a brilliant discovery call is not just about ‘talking’. It employs an excellent balance of ‘listening’ too—and that too, actively! It means paying close attention to what is being said, and even more importantly, understanding what is 'not' being said. The clues to solutions often lie in hidden details, and active listening unlocks these hidden narratives. 

In conclusion, a great discovery call is a clever mix of right questioning, active listening, accurate problem-solving, and sincere relationship building. It's a crucial step in transforming a prospect into a happy customer and should be given the requisite importance in any sales strategy.

Frequently asked questions

Q1: How do I know if I'm asking the right discovery questions?

A: The right discovery questions depend on your understanding of the prospect and their unique challenges. The questions you ask should open up a conversation, not be a series of boxes to tick. Remember, the goal is to uncover real insights that help you position your solution effectively. 

Q2: What happens if a prospect isn't responsive to my discovery questions?

A: If a prospect isn’t responsive, it might be an indication that the questions aren’t relevant to their concerns or you haven't established enough rapport. Take a step back, pause and take another look at the prospect’s current situation. Tailoring your questions and focusing on building a relationship can go a long way. 

Q3: What should I do if the sales discovery process uncovers that a prospect isn't a good fit?

A: If through the discovery process, you realize that the client’s needs do not align with your solution, it’s best to be honest. While it might be tempting to stretch the truth to close a deal, in the long run, this strategy often backfires. Instead, move onto another prospect who is a better fit. 

Q4: How many questions should I ask during a discovery call? Is there a magic number?

A: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this query. The number of questions you ask during a discovery call depends on the prospect's responses and the flow of the conversation. Quality is far more important than quantity when it comes to discovery call questions. 

Q5: Do I always have to stick to these 10 questions or can I customize them?

A: Absolutely, you should customize these questions to better suit your prospects and their unique situations. While we've outlined 10 leading questions for your discovery calls, they're intended as a starting point. You should always tailor your questions to the particular conversation at hand. 


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