How To: Successful Discovery Calls

3rd July 2018 | By Frances Pratt

successful discovery calls

Here you are ... you have a lead, someone to talk to ... someone to potentially work with ... somone to see if you can help and see if they will buy from you. Great!

Now ... where to start. How do you structure a discovery call with your potential client so that you really understand what they want and get all the information you need to wow them and win them.


The point of the Discovery Call is for you to do 2 things:

  1. Find out more about the client and what they actually want (and think they want).
  1. Work out if you can help them and what that might look like.


Often when we are preparing for the first call, the discovery call, we 'think' that we are there to prove to the other person that we can do this. Going in with this mindset puts you at the disadvantage -- as you have the feeling that you have to PROVE yourself.  This feeling and mindset encourages you to focus on what you do rather than what your potential client needs.

Flip it:

The discovery is about THEM. You are there to find out about your potential client, their problem, what they might need and want and then if there is a potential solution which might work for them. 

What that sounds like:

'Thank you ... I will be happy to meet with you .... that will let me find out more about you and your business and what you are hoping to achieve. Once we've done that we will be able to discuss if and how I might help you."


When we go into a first or discovery call, particularly if we feel nervous or needy, we can make the mistake of talking too much about ourselves.  This comes from thinking we have to prove to the other person that we are good enough and worthy of them buying from us.  If we are going to think differently about this (see mindset above) we also need to back this up with the activity that focuses our discovery on client and their needs, fears and aspirations.

Here's a structure that keeps you focused on them and in control of the meeting.

1. Introduction (this is what we are doing): 

"Thanks for the meeting today, my plan is to find out more about you, your business and your needs and wants and then once I understand that we can talk about how I might be able to help you ..... how does that sound?"

2. Questions to them: (80%)

Here's where you can focus 80% of the time on asking them questions about their business and what they want to achieve.

Here's an article I wrote on asking better questions.

3. Summary: What have you learned (10%)

This is the part of the meeting where you have permission to start talking about you and what you offer ... but this is done in the context of what you have heard from them.  This part is about applying all the wonderful things you know to their particular business and set of problems and aspirations.

This section shows that you are a good listener and have been thinking about understanding their problems and how you might be able to help.

"Thank you .... what I have heard you say is ______________________.  I have helped other clients like you with things like that.  Can I share a story or two about that?  Because I want to know we are on the same page with this."

4. Prescription: (5%)

You are on the same page and you know you understand enough about this potential client to make them an offer, or prescribe.  This shows them how can you help them - what package or solution you might recommend.  Once you have delivered this, remember to get their feedback.

"So ________ (client name) I have been thinking about the best way for us to work together.  What I am thinking is that __________ (package or service) might be the best option for you.  What we would do is _________ (brief description).  How does that sound?"

STOP and wait for them to respond.

5. Next steps: (5%)

What are the next steps (proposal, meeting, buy online) and what will happen next?


You will know you have had a great discovery call when you have learned more about the person you are talking to than they have about you.  I know that sounds counter intuitive ... but in truth a great first sales meeting is getting to know your prospective client so that you can confidently propose a solution to their problem.


So my friends ... go out into the brave new world and get curious and discover some new clients!

For the love of sales,

Leave a comment...

Would love to hear about your journey in sales ...