Discovery Call Tips

So What? Who Cares?

Every AE should think about 'So What' for every step of their value prop. As an example, (1) So your service saves your prospect time? So what? (2) So now your prospect can spend time working on projects they have not had time to work on? So what? (3) So now they will...

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Asking for permission

It NEVER hurts to ask your prospect for permission on a discovery call: 'Is it ok if I ask you a few more specific questions about that?' NO ONE says no. In fact, they might just say 'Of course you can, you don't have to ask me that;)

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After the demo

Some great questions at the end of the demo are (1) 'So, what are your initial thoughts? FOLLOWED BY (2) 'How do you feel about the pricing?' The first question is a soft ask, without them feeling pressured to feel one way or the other. The second ask will allow you...

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It may not be a fit

Although counterintuitive, I find that on a cold call, expressing uncertainty to your prospect about whether or not your service is a fit for them helps lower their resistance level and relate to you more as a person. Examples would be 'I'm not sure whether it's a fit...

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The scale

AFTER A DEMO, a good question I like to ask is, 'So, on a scale of 1-10, '1' being "this is the most useless product I've seen," and '10' being "this is amazing we have to have it," where do you feel you are on the scale?' If they say 'I'm at a 7.' I respond with two...

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How satisfied ?

‘How satisfied are you with…’ cannot fail. We get scared to ask this question on a discovery call, yet it can be quite effective in the middle of the conversation. ‘This may sound a bit direct, but how satisfied would you say the team has been with fund performance...

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Asking for a story

We’re taught to share stories with prospects, yet it’s also powerful to have them share stories with you, allowing them to build on the problem. How? Once they share what problem they are having, some great follow ups are (1) ‘How often does that happen?’ and (2) ‘Is...

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The COLD Call. My Favorite!!!!;)

Here are five versions of opening a cold call.  Feel free to use the one that is right for you, or a combination of them.  The goal here is to communicate that you are respecting their time, giving them control, asking for permission, and indirectly creating a...

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THE SWEET SPOT

When you end up being told what problem your prospect is having, now you can finally have FUN!  Following up with CURIOUS questions helps you get to the impact of the problem, the great SWEET SPOT in sales. Examples include: (1) “Out of curiosity, why do you think you...

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Admit your faults

There are many reasons why your prospect may not see the value in your service.  If you are sensing that they’re not seeing value during your discovery call, responding with something like, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault for not conveying the value the way I should be”...

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I don’t know if I don’t ask

This is a good softener to your bold questions with prospects.  Prospects respect bold questions (that come across the right way), and will respect you a lot more for asking them.  Softening the blow with ‘I don’t know if I don’t ask’ will make you and your prospect...

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To what extent

I find this is a great way to measure the degree of your prospect’s problem, allowing them to share more. When a prospect shares a problem with you, following up with something like ‘I see. Just curious, to what extent would you say that is actually a problem for...

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Your Sales Mindset

We learn about what questions to ask, how to ask them, and when to ask them. Those are all VERY important, and that’s what I've been writing about since December of 2017, but NONE of those questions can be asked unless you know what context you are operating under as...

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Reality – Expectations = Happiness

This is true in life and very true for sales. Expectations for the prospect must be set for each call! 'The purpose of the call' is an example of that. When their expectations are set, they will be more patient with you, lower their resistance level, and share more....

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Sharing take-aways

After you've had your in-depth #discoverycall, as soon as you get on your demo call, a great thing to do is to fist share your take-aways from your discovery call. That would look something like this: 'So Bob, based on our last conversation, it sounds like you...

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Money being spent efficiently?

When you're receiving hesitations on pricing, it means your prospect does not see enough value for your price point. At that point, you have three real options: 1. Schedule another meeting to further prove out the value of your service so the price makes more sense to...

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Everything ok?

When I don’t get a response from a prospect, I send out one of the following emails, written only in the subject line, written in lowercase: (1) “too busy or just not interested?” OR (2) “everything ok?” They almost never fail to get a response.

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Get shut down immediately

"You can't argue with another person into believing that they're wrong." - Jeb Blount.  I personally would hang this quote up on the wall. Great to know this in sales and in life. Keeping this in mind, when faced with an immediate objection on a cold call, it's a...

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What will that accomplish?

As salespeople, we sometimes feel compelled to be defensive with a prospect, especially if we feel that our prospects have been jerking us around for a long time, or negotiating very much with us without ever buying from us, etc. Before we decide to be defensive or...

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Hashing it all out – Your last chance

At the end of your demo call, assuming you are talking to a real champion or a real decision maker, this is the time to hash everything out with your prospects, because you're not really going to get another chance to:-- 'How do you feel about the pricing? -- 'To what...

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Don’t get run over

A typical problem new Account Executives have when making cold calls is as follows: When they're lucky enough to speak with a prospect that is engaged and asking questions, the Account Executive answers them without asking anything back, acting more like an...

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Own your calls. Like, in reality

You'll be more successful on your #coldcalls and #discoverycalls when you let the prospect know that you're taking full ownership of the call. For example, when you're cold calling, after saying 'Hi Bob, It's Mike Smith, how have you been?' following up with an...

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“Nah, I’ll email you later”

After attempting to schedule a next steps call with your prospect via something like "Would it make sense to set something up for next week to discuss next steps?," it's possible you might receive pushback, where they respond they'll get back to you on their own time....

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Kind. Not Weak.

You should be smiling during your sales conversations. You should be nice. You should be happy. You should be caring. That does not mean you should be weak. Robert Herjavec on Shark Tank famously says "I'm a very nice guy, but don't mistake my kindness for weakness."...

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Is it fair to say?

On a discovery call, this is always a thoughtful, yet effective way to ask a prospect a question based on what they’ve shared with you. Thoughtful and effective is the sweet spot. Some examples would be “Is it fair to say that you could have saved money if you…,” “Is...

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Going Extreme

I find that asking the extreme version of a question brings your prospect to conclude that your ask is not unfair at all, increasing the likelihood of any next step, including negotiations.  Questions like “Is that a bad idea? Is that unreasonable? Does that sound...

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It’s not too late…

After you hop off the phone with a prospect, you’ll sometimes realize that you forgot to ask them an important question, like how their team is structured, or what their decision making process is, etc.  Don’t sweat it!  You can just send an email with  a “forgot to...

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You don’t know…

SDR’s and AE’s sometimes feel that if they reached out to someone a number of times and do not get any response, they move on.  My philosophy is always follow up in a professional manner until you get a response one way or another.  You don’t really know what’s...

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The isolation

I find that when you isolate the exact problem that’s preventing you from moving forward with your prospect, there are few excuses they can really rely on.  As a very specific isolation example, if a prospect has an issue with your price point, the following responses...

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‘Correct’

One of my favorite affirmative responses in sales is ‘correct.’  Not very ground breaking, I know.  However, saying ‘correct’ instead of ‘Yes’ or ‘Exactly’ or ‘Absolutely’ exudes a greater form of confidence, without the need to always back up your response. In fact,...

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If you’re going to lose a sale…

When I first started in sales, a wise coach once told me ‘Charles, if you’re going to lose a sale, I’d rather you lose a sale from being completely present and actively listening than from being elsewhere and actively talking. First, your listening skills improve....

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thought of you…

“thought of you” — You can never lose with these words when emailing a prospect. During any part of the sales cycle, especially when the prospect is busy thinking about next steps, sending valuable content with no asks from the prospect is just good business practice....

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Ask for help!

One thing our reps have found useful for pushing deals over the fence is bringing in another senior sales person or manager who’s positioned to approve deals. This person works more closely with the finance team to finalize terms, mentioning that they work with the...

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The purpose of the call

“The purpose of the call” is one of the best ways to kick off a conversation.  It gets right to the point.  On an introductory call, the first thing I say after saying hello is “glad we could connect.” Then I get right to the point, and begin with “So, the purpose of...

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What happens after that?

When your prospect is about to initiate a trial of your product, one of the best ways to ask them about their buying process is to ask what happens afterward, assuming everything goes well: “Before we start the trial, assuming everyone comes back to you at the end of...

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Sorry

Curious what Gong.io data has to say about this, but I feel that saying ‘Sorry’ more often than not when selling is a good idea. I used to think it made you look weak, but it actually makes you more relatable, human, and empathetic.  An email subject line example is:...

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Playing Catch

Answering your prospects questions gives you the right to ask them questions. Timing of your questions and asking thoughtful questions are important, yet when you answer their questions, you’ve earned the right to ask. Answering their question is like catching the...

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Are we practicing what we preach?

Salespeople understand that the more we’re able to actually speak with our prospects instead of emailing them, the more productive it will be. John Barrows speaks about this specifically with regard to negotiation, yet it’s an important rule of thumb across all types...

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NOT work together?

Christopher Voss in “Never Split The Difference” talks about how allowing prospects to say “no” makes them feel relaxed and protected, where having them trapped into ‘yes,’ makes them feel more pressured and uneasy.  Thomas Freese in “Question Based Selling” also...

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What hesitations do you anticipate might come up?

Towards the end of a demo, your prospect may say something along the lines of, “This looks great, I just need to take this back to the team to get their thoughts.” When this comes up, a good question to ask is, “What hesitations do you anticipate might come up with...

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What questions might you have for me?

I mentioned in a previous post that open ended questions are the best to ask.  However, they don’t just apply to very big asks, but are just as relevant for the small asks. One powerful example is, when conducting a demo, instead of asking ‘Do you have any questions...

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Keep it Open

During a demo, you’ll hear a lot of sales people asking close ended questions like (1) ‘Do you find this tool helpful?’ Or (2) ‘Do you think you would use something like this?’ Although you can still get a sale from asking these types of questions (assuming people...

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Getting Uncomfortable?

Great sales people ask thought provoking questions. However, thought provoking questions are the toughest to ask. They just make you downright uncomfortable. Solution? Cushion the question! Cushioning is opening and closing the question with a soft statement,...

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Hello? Is this mic on?

A lot of times you’ll be doing a demonstration, and the prospect is either not saying anything on the call, or just being very curt with their answers, not sharing much with you. We’ve all been there, and it’s pretty annoying. If it’s happening on a call for too long,...

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Why are we on the call?

Typically, the FIRST question I ask a prospect on a discovery call is ‘Out of curiosity, what compelled you to take this call? What are you ultimately looking to solve for?’ This helps opens up the flood gates, uncovering information not otherwise uncovered.

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Silence

I’ve found that during a discovery call, after your prospective client finishes speaking (there are exceptions), waiting a solid 3 SECONDS prior to responding usually results in them sharing more, thereby trusting you more, and ultimately helping you uncover...

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Reach me easily

When sending a summary or follow up email, it’s great to go out of your way and specifically jot down your phone number in the actual body of the email, as opposed to not mentioning at all, and just leaving it in your contact information.  Instead of saying “You can...

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Would YOU Respond?

Sometimes, SDR’s will ask me my opinion about an email they plan on sending out. Typically, my first response is “If you received that email, would YOU respond to it?” Funny enough, usually the answer I get is “No, I wouldn’t.”  Then we laugh about it. Then we change...

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