What is a discovery call? Best top tips for mastering them

What is a discovery call
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Jack Bowerman
by Jack Bowerman

2 Min. Read

If first impressions don’t make the difference between securing a deal or losing a potential client, then what is a discovery call? One crucial step in the sales process where first impressions are formed is during this discovery call, a pivotal interaction that sets the tone for the entire sales process. This article aims to delve deep into the concept of what is a discovery call, providing insights for salespeople to perfect their approach and increase their chances of a successful outcome.

What is a discovery call in sales?

A discovery call is the initial conversation a salesperson has with a prospective client. It is not about making an immediate sale; rather, it’s an exploratory interaction to understand the prospect’s needs, challenges, and goals. This call is fundamental to the sales process as it forms the basis of relationship-building, setting up a foundation of trust and rapport.

During a discovery call, the salesperson listens intently to gather as much information as possible about the prospect. They ask targeted questions about the prospect’s business, their current situation, and the problems they face. The information gathered in this call helps the salesperson to position their product or service as a solution to the prospect’s needs, tailor the sales pitch, and identify the most suitable next steps in the sales process.

Understanding the prospects, their business environment, and the challenges they face is a crucial aspect of sales. By aligning the conversation with the prospect’s needs and preferences, salespeople can foster strong relationships and make strides toward the ultimate goal of a successful sale.

The role of a discovery call in the sales cycle

The discovery call plays an integral role in the sales cycle. It’s typically the first step after lead generation and qualification. In essence, it’s the transition point from a prospect being a mere name in a database to a potential customer with known needs and pain points. Its important to keep that – ‘needs and pain points’ – in mind when asking your self what is a discovery call.

The discovery call is where the salesperson gets the opportunity to move the prospect through the sales funnel, from awareness to consideration, and eventually, decision-making. By effectively identifying the prospect’s needs and offering solutions that align with these needs, a successful discovery call can set the stage for future discussions and sales presentations, all the way to closing the deal.

Find out more about the difference between leads and opportunities in Salesforce.

Elements of an effective discovery call

‘What is a discovery call’ should be followed by ‘what makes an effective discovery call’. There are several components that make up a successful discovery call. First and foremost, preparation is key. Before the call, the salesperson should research the prospect and their company to understand their industry, competitors, and potential challenges.

During the call, it’s important to ask open-ended questions that encourage the prospect to share detailed information. These could range from understanding their business processes, existing pain points, goals, or how their decision-making process works.

Active listening is another critical aspect when asking yourself what is a discovery call. Salespeople must listen more than they speak, understanding the nuances of the prospect’s responses. This not only shows respect and genuine interest but also provides valuable insights that can help tailor the product or service offering to the prospect’s needs.

Lastly, the salesperson must clearly communicate the next steps at the end of the call, ensuring both parties are aligned on the path forward. This might involve scheduling a follow-up call, a product demo, or sending additional information about the product or service.

Cold calls: Definition and relevance

In the context of sales, cold calling refers to the practice of reaching out to potential customers who have not previously expressed interest in the offered product or service. It’s a proactive strategy that involves initiating contact with prospects, usually via phone, without any prior interaction.

Cold calls are an integral part of many sales processes and can be particularly effective when done correctly. They provide a direct line of communication to the prospect and offer the opportunity to establish a relationship. Cold calls also present an opportunity to gather firsthand information about the prospect’s needs and challenges.

However, to be successful at cold calling, salespeople need to hone their skills. This includes crafting a strong opening line, handling objections, and knowing when and how to transition from a cold call to what is a discovery call, where the salesperson can further delve into the prospect’s needs, but also using the right toolkit, such as an outbound calling solution, to improve efficiency and the overall experience.

Mastering the art of asking for the sale

Even with the right sales mindset, asking for the sale can be one of the most challenging parts of the sales process for many salespeople. However, it’s a critical step that cannot be overlooked. The key is to ask for the sale at the right time and in the right way. 

First, ensure the prospect is ready. This involves confirming that they see the value in your product or service and understand how it can help solve their problem. You can achieve this through a process of trial closes throughout your conversation, gauging their readiness to move forward.

When the time is right, make your close direct and straightforward. Instead of beating around the bush, clearly state your proposition and ask if they are ready to move forward. It could be as simple as, “Based on our discussion and how our product can solve your challenges, are you ready to proceed?”

Remember, objections may come, and that’s okay. What is a discovery call without objections? Address objections as opportunities to provide further clarity and reassure the prospect about their decision. Practice, patience, and persistence are essential when perfecting the art of asking for the sale.

Crafting compelling outreach messages

Outreach messages are vital tools in a salesperson’s arsenal. They provide the first impression of you and your company to the prospect, and hence, need to be crafted carefully.

The objective of an outreach message is three-fold: grab attention, pique interest, and provoke action. Begin with a compelling subject line or opening statement that sparks curiosity. Personalize the message by mentioning the prospect’s name and referencing their company or industry.

The body of the message should be concise and focused on the prospect’s needs rather than your product’s features. Show them you’ve done your homework and understand their challenges. Finally, end with a clear call-to-action that prompts a response, like scheduling a discovery call.

Discovery call interview: What it entails

What is a discovery call without questions? A discovery call interview is much like a sales discovery call but within the context of a job interview. The aim is to understand the candidate’s skills, experience, and suitability for the sales role.

The interviewer may ask questions about the candidate’s sales process, their experience with discovery calls, how they handle objections, and their strategies for closing sales. On the other hand, the candidate gets the opportunity to ask questions about the company, the product, and the sales team. Essentially, it’s a two-way discovery process to evaluate the potential fit.

Leveraging note-taking for successful discovery calls

In the fast-paced realm of sales, keeping track of information can become overwhelming. That’s where strategic note-taking enters the picture. Notes aren’t merely jottings on a piece of paper or a digital platform; they are crucial tools that salespeople can use to understand their prospects better, recall important points from previous interactions, and build a more personalized and effective sales approach. One particular platform that exemplifies this practice is Surfe.

Surfe, an integration tool, has an exceptional note-taking feature that can be a game-changer for sales professionals, especially those who conduct their prospecting activities on LinkedIn. This feature allows users to add people directly from LinkedIn to their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. This seamless connection of LinkedIn to your CRM (like Copper or Pipedrive) saves time, enhancing productivity and effectiveness in your sales activities.

However, what truly sets Surfe apart is its ability to display your notes about specific clients when browsing LinkedIn. This feature provides real-time information at your fingertips, aiding you in having more productive and targeted interactions with your prospects. Instead of spending valuable time searching through different platforms for information, you have it right there as you browse through your prospect’s LinkedIn profile.

Taking note-making a step further, Surfe users can also utilize the platform’s note template feature. As mentioned earlier in this article, templates can be powerful tools for ensuring consistency and thoroughness in your discovery calls. With Surfe, you can create a note template and have it readily accessible for every single sales call. This way, as you converse with your prospect, you can directly add call notes to their LinkedIn profile, ensuring you don’t miss out on any crucial information or insights. Your note template is always there, waiting for you to fill in the details.

But, how does this tool truly enhance the success of your discovery calls? The answer lies in the comprehensive view it provides. By integrating your note-taking tool with LinkedIn and your CRM, you get a holistic picture of your prospect. You understand their professional background, interests, needs, and previous interactions with your company, all in one place.

This comprehensive view, in turn, allows you to tailor your discovery calls more effectively. You can ask more relevant questions, provide personalized solutions, and even predict potential objections or concerns. In essence, note-taking, when utilized effectively through platforms like Surfe, can make your discovery calls not just conversations, but strategic interactions that bring you closer to the sale. 

With tools and platforms becoming increasingly interconnected, the potential for salespeople to streamline their workflows, keep track of valuable information, and use that information to drive sales has never been greater. Surfe is just one example of how technology can be leveraged to make your sales process not only more organized but also more successful.

Tips for perfecting the discovery call

Perfecting the discovery call is a journey, not a destination. Here are a few tips to help salespeople on this journey:

  1. Prepare: Research your prospect and their business thoroughly. Know their industry, competitors, and challenges.
  2. Listen: Active listening is crucial. Make sure you understand your prospect’s needs, pain points, and goals.
  3. Ask: Use open-ended questions to encourage the prospect to share more details.
  4. Empathize: Show that you genuinely care about the prospect’s challenges and are eager to help them find solutions.
  5. Tailor: Personalize your product or service pitch based on the information gathered during the discovery call.
  1. Follow-up: Clearly communicate the next steps and follow through on any commitments made during the call.


Mastering the discovery call is an essential skill for any salesperson. It sets the foundation for a successful sales process, from understanding the prospect’s needs to asking for the sale. Remember, the goal is not to sell, but to build relationships and solve problems. With preparation, active listening, effective questioning, and genuine empathy, salespeople can make the most of every discovery call and move one step closer to closing the deal. Happy selling!


Use notes templates for your discovery calls with Surfe

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