Identifying the right discovery questions for sales calls will give you insight into what new clients will need from you

One way to get people to like you is to ask them questions about themselves. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Ask about them, and they’ll think you’re the most interesting person at the party.

It’s true in sales, too. Asking discovery questions for sales prospecting and relationship-building will help land new clients, and keep them, too.

Discovery questions are asked when you want to get to know a customer. Although it works in any type of sale, it’s most necessary in personal sales with a high pricetag, like real estate or even insurance. You ask them this type of question because you want to learn their wants and needs, so you can pitch your product as a solution. Below are some examples.

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1. What do you look for in ____________?

Cut right down to the chase. Ask them directly what they look for in a company like yours. Who are they using now, and what do they like and dislike about them? Do they want to work hand-in-hand with you when making decisions, or are they seeking your expertise and trust your instinct? Gather as many details as possible, so if the time comes you’ll specifically know what they want from you, compared to your competitors.

2. Do you have any hesitations about working with us, so far?

Heavy! But it’s an important question to ask anyone that’s seeking you for a professional relationship. Ask this mid-way through a sales call, or at the end before you hang up if you feel the call is about to get left up in the air. Hopefully, you’ll get a positive outcome from asking this question–whether or not they give you a response you’re prepared to hear. For whatever hesitatation they express, calm their fear with a solution.

3. Can you explain what challenges you typically face?

Try to get insight into the struggles they’re facing on a regular basis. The reason this is an important discovery question for sales is that you’ll understand if they are the right client for you. If you think you can tackle some of the difficulties they face, show that person what you’re going to do to alleviate their struggles and how you are going to accomplish this goal. If you can’t, sometimes being honest is a great way to win business through referrals later on.

4. Do you want to make any changes, as of right now?

Similar to the above question, figure out if you can help them improve and what you will do to follow through with your promise. This question could apply to them wanting to make changes within their company or their relationship with you. If they’re willing to talk about making effective, positive changes, it shows that they’re willing to progress and move their business forward with you.

5. When you look ahead 1, 5 and 10 years from now, what do you see?

When you ask a client about their future, it’ll give you a vision of your relationship with them. Depending on their answer, you’ll have an estimation of your time, and see if there is potential longevity with your relationship. Do you see yourself with them in one year? Five years? Ten? Do you think they can sustain a long-lasting relationship with you? Asking questions that matter to the “here-and-now” is important, but you don’t want to overlook the relevance of questions that pertain to the future.

When you ask, listen closely to the client. When you receive a clear answer from them, record or write down their answers to each question so that you don’t forget when it comes time to close a deal.

Here’s a list of other useful discovery questions for sales calls:

Discovery questions for business-to-business sales:

  • What’s your timeframe for making this purchase?
  • What has changed about your business in the past five years?
  • What is the pricing package that you most want your customers to buy?
  • What do you think it will take for your business to increase profits?
  • What’s your biggest challenge right at this moment?
  • If you could fix any one thing about your business right now, what would you fix?
  • How are your competitors handling this issue right now?
  • Who else needs to be involved in the decision making process?
  • What’s your budget?
  • If you hire us, how will you define success?

Discovery questions for business-to-consumer sales:

  • What’s your timeframe for making this purchase?
  • What’s your biggest challenge right at this moment?
  • If you could make your life easier in one way right now, what would it be?
  • Out of the problems you’re experiencing right now, which is the one most pressing?
  • What is it that you want to accomplish?
  • Who else needs to be involved in the decision making process?
  • If you hire us, how will you define success?

Asking the question is only half the battle; following through with your end of the bargain will seal the deal and keep your customers coming back to you.

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client-managerSave yourself hours a day with automated lead management software. Feed in leads automatically, assign them to staff and start an automatic follow-up process. Sign up with Blitz today for a 30-day free trial.

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Can you think of a few more important discovery questions for sales? Leave a comment with your additions!