Wasting time during the sales process is a common pain point for everyone involved.
There’s nothing more frustrating for professionals than engaging in a long-winded sales call in the midst of a busy day when it turns out the product or service can’t solve any of their problems.
For sales reps, wasting time on unqualified prospects means an inefficient process, a lackluster pipeline, and lower sales figures.
When done right, discovery calls should eliminate time wasting – the goal is simply to either qualify or disqualify your prospect. But in order to make qualifications both accurately and efficiently, sales reps must prepare thoroughly.
Undertaking comprehensive prep for each and every discovery call might feel like a slower process, but your future self will thank you.
Why? You’ll close more, and you’ll save yourself plenty of time in the long run.
Here’s how to master discovery call prep.
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1. Conduct Research
Know Your Prospects
In an era where personalization is everything, going into a discovery call without having researched your prospect is unthinkable.
Social media is your first port of call.
Look up your prospect on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to discover their career history, as well as any mutual hobbies or interests. “Gain an understanding of their personality and adapt your tone to align with this” according to Jack Wilson, Head of Sales at Right Inbox.
Find out if your prospect has any history with your organization: have they used your services within their current company, or at a former employer? If so, was it a positive experience for both you and them? What competitors have they utilized during their career?
Now it’s time for a broader search. Educate yourself on their organization and industry by browsing trade publications and performing a Google news search.
Find the Decision Maker
No matter how enthusiastic your prospect, if they don’t have the authority to green light purchases, you could be wasting your time.
Find the decision maker, and – where possible – ensure your discovery call is with them.
If this isn’t possible, discuss how your contact can internally pitch your product or service to the decision maker, and offer them support during this process.
Understand Their Pain Points and Challenges
Part of the discovery call will be finding out more about the prospect’s pain points and challenges, but through your research and experience with similar organizations, you should be able to go into the call with a good idea of what they’re going to say.
Know How Your Product or Service Can Help Them
Once you’ve gained an understanding of your prospect’s probable pain points, you can prepare well thought out responses and present the appropriate solutions.
This demonstrates your value right off the bat, nudging your prospect further down the sales funnel. Come to the discovery call armed with relevant facts and figures, demos, and results from other clients who were facing similar challenges before using your product or service.
2. Prepare a Script
Scripts polarize sales reps. Some believe that using a cold calling script can stifle the natural flow of a conversation or make them sound robotic.
However, we’re firmly in the pro-script camp. Every sales rep has their go-to introduction, pitch, and closing techniques. Through script writing, you can elevate your established techniques.
For maximum effectiveness, each script should be tailored to the situation.
Pre-Strategize and Roleplay
What are your prospect's pain points and challenges likely to be? What questions will they ask? What similar examples of work do you have?
Roleplay through various probable situations, and center your script around the questions that arise.
Use a Strong Opener to Set the Tone
Your script needs to start with a creative, attention-grabbing opener.
Give yourself no more than 10 seconds to grab their attention. With the average person speaking at a rate of 130 words per minute, this means you’ll have just 20-30 words to capture your prospect’s attention.
Bear in mind that your opener should:
Explain who you are
Touch on pain points
Sell your value
Sales rep: "Hello [Prospect]. My name is [Sales Rep] and I help B2B Marketing Directors in [X industry] like you to boost their ROI by 30% in just one year. How is [current campaign] performing?”
Prospect: "Well, we’re seeing a lot of traction from PPC but our LinkedIn campaign is underperforming."
Salesperson: "What's your biggest pain point regarding your LinkedIn campaign?"
Prospect: "We don’t have the right expertise in house to make the most of social advertising, and I’ve got so much going on I don’t have the time to be more hands on or deal with an agency."
Salesperson: "I hear that a lot. I’d love to arrange a quick 10-minute call to learn more and explain how we can boost social advertising for you without being a drain on your time.”
Prospect: "Sounds good. Can you do 2pm tomorrow?”
3. Build a List of Engaging Questions
The right questions will help you to identify the prospect’s pain points and gain a genuine understanding of what they need: vital information for any successful sale.
So show you care, and exhibit genuine interest.
Essential discovery call questions include:
What are your goals and timeline?
What problem are you trying to solve?
What are the main obstacles to carrying out the plan?
Do you need a product or service to overcome the problem?
4. Learn About Common Sales Objections
Overcoming sales objections makes all the difference between a successful delivery call and losing the interest of a potential lead.
Research the most common sales objections you’re likely to encounter, and train yourself to handle them.
Now’s not a good time. This could be because the prospect personally doesn’t have time to handle the sale, in which case you can ask if anyone other decision makers would be happy to chat. It could also mean it’s really not a good time to buy, in which case you want to avoid overselling due to desperation, and you also want to make sure the prospect is qualified to avoid wasting your own time.
It’s too expensive. This could be a brush off because your prospect doesn’t think your product is valuable, or there could truly be a lack of cash. Either way, you need to uncover the real objection. Then put the price into context and present some hard facts on pricing.
I’m already on another contract. Your prospect is likely worried about cash flow. Offering a discount or a creative pricing structure could help.
I need to run this past my boss. If your prospect is not authorized to make the decision, ask to speak to the person who is. If they are, but will also need to sell it internally, offer them support during this process.
5. Practice The Art of Listening
Listening is probably the most important success factor when it comes to contemporary selling.
According to William Ury, the author of Getting to Yes, it comes down to:
Understanding: You can’t change someone’s mind if you don’t know what they believe in the first place.
Connecting: Building rapport and trust makes prospects more likely to share more intimate and helpful business details.
Reciprocity: When we truly listen to people, it makes them more likely to listen to and want to help us.
Here's how to do it:
Slow the conversation down
Make the client feel heard
Ask relevant follow-up questions
Don’t be defensive
Ultimately, if you start to put a higher level of preparation into each discovery call, you’ll find they work harder for you.
Try our method out, and you should see better qualified leads, less time wasted on unqualified leads, and more closes.
Note: Ready to skyrocket your sales with on-point lead generation? Sign up and try Leadfeeder free for 14 days to attract high quality leads for your business.
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