Do you have your discovery questions ready for the next lead?
There are a lot of questions to ask in the sales world. For this resource guide, TigerLRM put together a list of 30 discovery questions for sales professionals. These examples will empower sales teams to identify needs, understand urgency levels, and show value.
When you first talk to a lead, you'll have to determine if your service or product fits their needs. Asking open-ended questions is called a discovery conversation or "asking discovery questions." Those questions must address the potential client's needs, wants, and pain points. But, before you ask for the sale, consider the human factors in decision-making:
The Fear Factor – Making a buying decision often involves fear. "Am I making the right purchase? Is it right for me/my company? What happens if I choose the wrong product/service?" Learn to treat each buyer as a person, not an opportunity. Understand their fears and work with them on the right solutions.
The Mindset Factor – Ask open-ended questions and listen before talking. Then you will understand their mindset, pain points, and needs. Be open-minded and do not assume answers or put in what you want to hear. This is the time when your understanding can begin to become a solution.
The Prejudice Factor – Buyers who don't understand a platform, think it is too complicated, or feel a product or service is unnecessary do not even consider it. This is called buyer prejudice or bias. It is up to the salesperson to educate the buyer and eliminate that prejudice. Some buyers go thru the motions because they were told to do so but are prejudiced from the start.
A sales map (also called a sales process map) is a document/process that allows teams to find successful strategies, discover weak areas, and focus on results as a united team.
The purpose of a discovery meeting is to ask questions. It's been said that one good question during sales discovery will yield more success than five bad ones. A sales rep who thoroughly understands how a solution meets their prospect's needs can establish a good relationship and start winning sales.
When sales reps initiate an outbound sales discovery call or face-to-face meeting, prospects want them to be attuned to their needs. They want to know that the agent is personally invested in them without repeating information. The salesperson should have learned about the client through research or prior communication. Sales reps should have access to a simple, curated library of background information that helps them close any lead quickly and effectively. This database can be enriched by gathering information from prospects. That is why we use sales enablement. Choosing the right client discovery questions will help sales reps identify good leads and crush their quotas.
Become a trusted advisor. Sales reps can ask this question to begin long-term relationships with prospects and help them prosper. There's no need to pry or apply pressure; the goal is to build comfort and trust.
Find the decision maker(s). Sales reps need to understand the prospect's role within their organization to gauge how much influence the lead has over purchasing decisions. When the prospect shares how they measure relevant KPIs, the sales rep can quantify how well the product or service can improve performance.
Get a performance timeline. Suppose a product can improve a particular KPI, like revenue, by at least 10% one year after rollout. Does this statistic match the prospect's timeline? If a client is measuring performance three months or six months after the rollout, how should they evaluate the performance of a solution within this time frame? Sales reps should ask prospects about relevant goals for the next month, quarter, or year so they can plan an approach before discussing a timeline for product implementation.
Find the pain points. This open-ended question allows a lead the opportunity to volunteer information about their challenges and pain points. Their response should reveal which issues take priority or need immediate attention. It can also help the sales rep determine if the offered product or service will solve the prospect's problem.
Why/when did the pain point happen? Has a prospect's once-minor problem intensified or grown intractable for weeks or months? Was its scope or significance misunderstood? How does the issue affect individuals, teams, and the organization? Did anyone attempt a fix, or was the problem too expensive to resolve at the time? This question can help a sales rep determine the urgency of a prospect's need for a solution.
Identifying the source of the problem and providing the right solution is key to closing a deal. Companies are looking for products with flexible, integrated solutions that will solve their current issues. To appeal to their prospects, sales reps must match the solution to the lead and pitch their product correctly.
The following questions will help sales teams identify specific pain points that lead businesses to purchase a solution. This will help you determine if they are just "shopping around" or if they are ready to make a deal.
Why do they want this to happen? This question may reveal a particular pattern, incident, or crisis that was the catalyst for the prospect's call. The inbound lead may tell the sales rep why and how urgently they need a solution. Why is the lead considering the product or service on offer?
Make sure you know the details. This question helps the sales rep learn about a prospect's priorities. The answer will determine whether a product or service provides the essential "must-have" feature that will solve problems and help them succeed. It may also identify some missing feature, or "deal-breaker," that will negate its value in the client's eyes. If your solution provides the primary "must have" feature plus other "nice to have" features and no deal breakers, then the sale has a much better chance of moving forward.
Identify the current issues. When a prospect explains their current situation, the sales rep can identify the inefficiencies, obsolete processes, and practices that the solution can improve upon. If the sales rep can offer a complete resolution, so much the better.
What works for you right now? What do they like or dislike about their current systems? What works, what needs improvement, what's missing, and is the sale rep's offering a better option or improvement?
What do you need? What features and capabilities does the sales offering have? How does the prospect envision a successful outcome? This question helps the sales rep determine if the solution can accomplish the prospect's goals.
Get a schedule. This question tells the sales rep when the prospect expects to experience a measurable or significant degree of positive change.
Find the timeline. This question should help reveal the immediacy of the prospect's need and any externalities. Are they shopping around? Is their problem urgent, or can it wait? Is the prospect motivated to make a purchase decision right away?
Find the decision maker. Does the prospect have the capacity to purchase the solution on offer? This question should reveal the presence of stakeholders who will influence the purchasing process.
What are the decision-making steps? Sales reps need insight into the factors that go into the prospect's decision-making process, the players involved, and the timeline of the sales journey. Sales reps who understand this process will prevent any missteps.
What are the motivations of the other decision-makers? This question will tell sales reps if finding and implementing a solution quickly is a priority for a prospect's organization and its leaders.
As a salesperson, you would love to close every sale. But in reality, that's just not going to happen. In sales, you have to get a sense of urgency for the client, be it a consumer, B2B, or enterprise. While "urgency" means different things to those groups, you can not afford to waste your time pursuing a sale when there is no urgency. You can keep some clients on the back burner while actively hunting clients with urgency. Here are seven questions to ask to discover and spark urgency.
What are current team problems? Sales reps can incentivize and expedite decision-making if their offering improves the prospect's team's performance.
Are you losing business because of… If the prospect recognizes that they will lose business, revenue, and competitive advantage by leaving their problem unresolved, they will see the benefits of solving it now, not later.
How do you know if this works? A sales rep who understands how a prospect sees value and measures success can deliver an optimized solution. When a particular key metric is optimized, this question reveals the prospect's vision of a positive outcome.
What's the reward? If a prospect implements the offered solution and achieves success, how will they feel? How will their team react? What is their tangible reward?
What features does the prospect want, and why? What challenges do those features solve? Your lead can imagine and articulate their ideal components, and you can show them how your solution is a perfect fit.
How important is this? This question reveals whether the prospect envisions the product or service as a short-term or long-term solution.
What do you like best about us? What competitive advantages does the solution provide? What features and benefits, like ease of migration, user-friendliness, and flexibility, make the solution the best choice? Do these features break down or bypass barriers to adoption?
As a sales professional, your job is to be a trusted advisor and guide your potential client toward a solution that you both can identify.
Tell us the future. Will the relationship with the prospect be ongoing, with potential growth? It takes more than selling a solution to make a prospect into a customer. TigerLRM sales enablement experts use constant communication to follow up on leads, close deals and increase retention.
Is the client right for the product? During the discovery process, a sales rep should ask questions that might disqualify the prospect by discovering how their budget and schedule could affect the purchasing decision. Additionally, you'll find out what biases exist.
What's stopping us? The prospect needs to identify and articulate the obstacles preventing them from achieving their goals. Afterward, the sales rep should show how the solution bypasses, overcomes, or circumvents those obstacles and helps them achieve their goals..
Do you need to use other software? Sales reps should ask this question early in the sales process to identify deal breakers. Does the product need to integrate with other software and solutions the prospect is using today? Are there any must-have integrations? Will the prospect need a custom solution?
What other companies are you looking at? Sales reps should discover what their prospects like or dislike about competing options and how those match up to the solution or offer. A sales rep who helps a prospect understand the relative merits of products or solutions they are considering can gain a favorable position.
What matters the most? This question reveals whether the offered solution is a good fit now and in the long term. It helps the sales rep and the prospect identify whether the price is right and what matters most when moving forward.
Is doing nothing a viable option? Will the prospect lose money, competitive advantage, or employees if they do not implement a solution to their problem? Will they fall behind?
What is your budget? Although a prospect may decline to give a concrete numerical figure at this stage in the conversation, this question opens up negotiations. Sales reps should emphasize value before discussing price. If a prospect can profit by investing in the solution on offer, they will be more likely to purchase it. Sales reps who build trust with their prospects are better equipped to determine where the money will come from.
What happens after the sale? What is the prospect's vision of success once a solution is implemented? What do "before" and "after" look like? How does the solution improve team productivity, morale, company reputation, sales figures, and the bottom line?
Ask for the sale! Don't be afraid to ask for the sale. You've solved their problems, and it's time to move to the next stage. Don't assume they aren't ready.
While our questions are comprehensive, one size does not fit all in sales. In your playbook, you can write down these questions and modify them over time to suit your target market and your product/service. Additionally, you can write down common objections and answers to those objections in your playbook (training & coaching). Each sales team member should learn and contribute to the playbook so that you can have the questions, objections, and responses in one place. New hires can learn your sales process quickly, and seasoned employees can continue to improve their closing ratios.
A sales team that chooses the right questions during a sales discovery process will learn to understand what prospects want and be more effective closers. The right questions save time by filtering unqualified leads from the sales funnel. Sales reps who tackle their prospects' pain points can effectively improve conversion rates. Companies that invest in educating their sales teams are more likely to see them ace discovery calls and close more deals. Building personal connections with prospects creates a foundation for ongoing outreach when a contact moves to another company. Sales enablement services are the best way to maximize sales efforts and boost team productivity. When all questions are prepared, your sales rep can qualify better and close faster with no lead left behind. Educated sales reps can exceed their quotas and grow sales month after month. Invest in an enhanced discovery process to take your organization to the next level.