A Discovery sign in neon lights with black background


4 things to do before your next discovery call

The discovery call is the most important meeting in a sales cycle. It’s the key to running faster sales cycles and increasing your win rate. There are plenty of blogs that tell you what to do during calls. This blog will tell you the 4 things to do before your next discovery call

TL;DR – Define the outcomes you want, measure how well you do, refine and repeat.

List out what you NEED to learn

You probably have more fields in your CRM than you can shake a stick at. A little BANT here, a little MEDDIC there, and a whole slew of other fields everywhere else.

Whatever framework you follow, you won’t likely be able to learn everything you need on your first meeting. No one wants to have a meeting where they feel like they are being interrogated. So you have to prioritize what are the most important, must-learn items.

I’m a big fan of Gap Selling. So I try to understand the business problem the prospect is facing and the business impact of that problem. If there isn’t a business problem, there isn’t anything to solve for. And if it doesn’t have a significant impact, then the sales cycles will likely stall when the prospect tries to sell it internally.

Try this: list out the 2-3 most important things you need to learn on a discovery call


Prepare your gives and gets

Every meeting should conclude with action items. Don’t wing it! It’s your job as the seller to lead the prospect down a path. Preparing your asks ahead of time will help you make a smooth transition to meeting wrap-up. The prospect will get the feeling like they are in good hands like you’ve done this before. If you can establish credibility on your call, they’ll trust you and take your lead.

Identify what your ideal next step is and, here’s the important part, explain how it will help the prospect reach their goals. Explain why you are asking. Share your experience on where opportunities have gone off track if certain parties weren’t engaged early on in the sales cycle.

The prospect may ask for some action items from you as well. Great! Sales is a two-way street with gives and gets. You want to see that there is a commitment on both sides. List out and rank these asks from easy to difficult to deliver. If it’s a big request on their part, be sure to ask for something in return. Knowing this ahead of time will make the conversation natural and prevent you from being caught flat-footed.

Try this: write down 1 ideal next step and prepare a list of 5 potential prospects asks and 5 potential asks you’d make in return.

Do your research

Show me, you know me. It just hits different when you are in a meeting and the person is super prepared, doesn’t it? You never want to ask a question that could have been found using a simple Google search. Differentiate yourself and your company by going a layer deeper. These are some of my favorite research methods:

  • Job postings – you can get a sense of what departments they are hiring for, what messaging these use internally, and what solution and tools they use.
  • Podcasts – everyone and their mother has a podcast these days and podcasts needs guests. There’s a good chance that your prospect may have joined one. Give it a good listen on 1.5x and bring it up on your call!
  • LinkedIn – an obvious place to look but very powerful depending on who you are selling to. Not to see, “Hey, you went to college at BC? My cousin went to BC”. Use it as a window to see what’s top-of-mind based on the type of content they are engaging with.

Try this: use your research to formulate 3 thought-provoking questions in your call


Triggers and associations

The best calls feel like a natural conversation. But there are traps you can fall into. I come from a consulting and product background so if you ask me a question, I can’t WAIT to answer it. Maybe you have similar tendencies as well.

Write down triggers phrases that will help keep you in the right frame of mind. Some good ones include:

  • Ask Why? If the prospect asks if your product does X, ask why is that important to them?

  • Ask Who? If they want to ask for a solution brief, ask who they would plan on sharing it with.

  • Think So What? If you show a feature during a demo, ask yourself, “so what?”, so you reframe what business value is being provided.

Try this: write down 3 triggers that will help you from falling into sales traps


The key to most things in life depends on how you prepare for them. Win your discovery call by being more prepared than anyone else that prospect may talk to after you.