Acquiring new clients can be a hard and lengthy process, especially if you don’t know which sales questions to ask. Once you qualify your leads and start communicating over email, they might ask you for a proposal. That’s our favourite part of the proposal process.
It starts with a meeting or long call with your client. The purpose of it is to find out all the needed information you’ll use to write a high-quality proposal that will get you paid in mere hours.
In this article, we’ll explain the importance of a sales discovery call and provide a list of questions to use in your next one.
What is a sales discovery call?
A discovery call is the first contact you make with your potential client after establishing their interest over email. During the call, you need to ask specific sales questions which will help you understand their needs, goals, and challenges.
Your clients are not going to have the same amount of technical knowledge as you do. This is why you’ll have to make sure you’re on the same page. For example, if you’re offering social media management and your clients say they expect an increase in sales through a rise in the number of likes, you need to explain to them that these two things are not connected.
Only through a sales call can you establish what your clients really expect from you. This is the time when the two of you can set the long-term goals and the short-term ones that will help them get there.
Why are discovery calls important?
Discovery calls are important for figuring out whether your products and services are a good fit for the potential client. You don’t want to waste time on the proposal and follow-up processes just to learn that your client is not interested in your product or doesn’t have the budget required for the job.
The discovery call will help you assess whether you want to work with that person and company and if you’ll be a good fit for each other. If the answers are yes, you can use the call to improve your chances of success.
Let us show you how with a list of specific sales questions.
Discovery call questions
These are the tried and tested questions that will help you make a good impression and win over the client before you even send out your proposal.
What does your company do?
Although we’re sure you researched your potential client beforehand, it’s always good to start with an easy question that will get them to open up. Everybody loves talking about themselves and this question will give them the opportunity to do just that.
Not all companies invested in professional copywriting, meaning there isn’t always sufficient data on their company and products and services. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask your clients directly.
It will give you insight into how the clients see their place in the market. Often when talking about their company, they will start to talk about the competition. All of this is valuable information.
What made you reach out to us?
Your client’s answer to this question will tell you how serious they are about working with you. Did they get a recommendation, or did they just Google a solution and click on a random link?
Use this sales question to gauge your client’s interest and whether they’re truly interested in starting a business relationship with you.
Did you reach out to any of our competitors?
Knowing whether your client reached out to your competition will not only help you win the deal but also give you insight into what doing business with your competitors is like. If your client says that they’re looking into multiple companies, you’ll know which factors to think of when presenting your pricing.
You can only ask this sales question if you can win a debate on the pros and cons of your solution as supposed to any of your competitors. If the client names the competitors, you can detail why your solution is the better option.
Remember what your clients say about your competitors. You can use it to shape your content and win over more deals.
Have you worked with any of our competitors before?
It’s good to know whether you’re the first company in your industry your client worked with. Your approach will be different based on the answer. If they reached out to you because they were not happy with a competitor, you’ll have to highlight the difference between you two.
Unfortunately, if they had a bad experience with a competitor, you’ll have to work harder to earn their trust. This can be done by highlighting the benefits of working with you and including a guarantee in your proposal.
It will ease their mind if they know there is a fall-safe strategy they can rely on if necessary.
How are you currently handling the issue you’re reaching out for?
In our experience, most of our new clients are tired of creating business proposals in Word and not knowing what happens once they send them out. They love the features Better Proposals offer and respond very favourably to our template library, payment options and more.
These types of sales questions will give you insight into the roadblock your client is currently facing, which you can utilize in your proposal.
Have you tried handing the solution internally?
Knowing if there is an in-house person focused on resolving this issue will give you a great overview of the situation. Remember, at this phase, you’re still figuring out if you want to work with the other person.
If they tell you there are five different people you will have to go through every time you deliver a solution, that should be a red flag. Make sure the client understands they have to create an internal process that will support your work.
If you’re a web designer, they need to have an internal agreement on the goals they want to achieve. Otherwise, every person in the team will give you their own comments which will result in opposing input and will slow down your process.
What is the main metric you use to measure success?
This sales question will get your client to think outside of the box. If they don’t have a standardized way of measuring success, they might respond with a question. Be prepared to answer the question – how do you think they should measure success.
If everything goes right and you start working together, you’ll have to answer to them and provide results. However, the client needs to come up with specific metrics to divide your results from their team’s.
What are your goals?
Understanding your client’s short and long-term goals will give you much-needed insight. From there you will know how to approach the solution in your proposal. If your clients are going about reaching their goals in a counterproductive way, you have to get to the bottom of it before you begin your work.
They need to understand your process and how you’ll help them reach their goals. For example, if you’re an SEO specialist and your clients have a list of keywords that you know won’t translate into traffic, let alone sales, you need to explain that to them. If you’re offering indoor tracking and your customers don’t even know how it works, you’ll need to explain the basics.
You are the authority on the problem and solution at hand. That’s why you need to tell them which goals are feasible and how they should go about achieving them.
When do you hope to achieve your goals?
Your timescales need to be in line with the client’s expectations. You need to be on the same page. If they have an unreasonable expectation then you know that it’s not a good fit. Explain to them how long your process takes and what you’ll be doing on a week-to-week basis.
What is keeping you from achieving your goals right now?
You don’t want to outright ridicule your client for not thinking of a solution before. You also don’t want to accuse anyone on their team of anything. That’s why you need to form your sales question in a polite but direct way.
If they say that the company wasn’t aware of the problem before, or that they thought it was a temporary issue, you’ll know not to undersell yourself. On the other hand, if they say that the budget was the biggest obstacle, you’ll know to set your pricing in instalments.
What would happen if you didn’t do anything about the issue for the next 6 months?
Similar sales questions to this one are important for starting the portion of the conversation about the budget. It’s not always easy to present your price, but there are questions that help you set the right tone.
If you showcase how much money they’re losing from not doing anything, they will be more incentivized to agree to your proposal.
Do you have an allocated budget?
This is a great question for getting a sense of your client’s expectations about what they want to pay. If they ask you to give them a ballpark figure, you can say a wide range and look for their reaction. If they say that they can’t match the higher figure, ask them what figure do they have in their mind.
Knowing your range, they’ll be more likely to say a number closer to the higher one. Because that way, they don’t look cheap. Once you know their budget, you can confidently create your proposal, knowing you’ve agreed on the most important part.
Can you tell me how you’re going to make your decision? Are you going for the cheapest option?
This is one of our favourite sales questions because it brings out the truth every time. In our experience, the client would always say that they’re not going with the cheapest solution. Now, if they say it out loud, they need to prove to you that they’re going off on a different factor.
This is a great chance for you to talk about ROI and the benefits they would experience working with you.
Who else do we need to get on board with this?
It’s important to know who else is included in the selection process. Usually, there are a few decision-makers. This question will help you prepare for the follow-up process. The more people are included, the longer the process will be.
Will the follow-up process be lengthy?
Of course, the client will say something along the lines of – we would like to start working as soon as possible. This is where you tell them what you require to start work – a signed proposal, the first fee paid, and selected materials.
Whatever the case is for you, this is where you explain your next steps, which you’ll outline in the proposal as well.
Make sure to end the call by asking if they have any questions for you.
If you follow our list of sales questions, you’ll have a productive discovery call. You no longer need to go into meetings and calls blind and without a plan. Make sure to customize the questions to your situation and personality.
Once you finish a productive discovery call, the next step is writing the proposal. Speed up the process with reliable proposal software that comes with a library of proposal templates, digital signature options and payment integration that will help you get paid instantly.
Sign up for a Better Proposals free trial and transform your proposal process today!