In this video, we discuss how to perform a sales discovery meeting.


What is sales discovery?

Before we jump into how to perform a sales discovery meeting, let’s take a step back and just clarify what sales discovery is. This is basically a meeting where the salesperson will ask the prospect a series of questions in order to gather a substantial amount of information.


When to perform a sales discovery?

We break the sales process down into three main steps: 1) Interaction, 2) Conversation, and 3) Explanation. We outline these three steps in another sales training video where we talk more about how to break down and manage the sales process.

But the quick answer for where to perform the sales discovery meeting in these three steps is that it goes in the conversation step and just before the explanation step.

8 Types of Questions
We break the questions that you can ask during a sales discovery meeting down into eight categories.

Pain Questions
One of the most important categories of sales discovery questions is pain questions. These are questions that probe if the prospect has the paint points or challenges that your product or service can help to solve.

These questions will be unique for each salesperson and product or service being sold, so we cannot provide you with pain questions to ask. But what we recommend you do is develop a list of pain points that you can help with, and then for each point, create a question or two to ask.

Current State Questions
These are questions that try to gather details on what is going on with the prospect in the area where your product or service fits. Like pain questions, these are unique for each salesperson, and we cannot provide the exact questions to ask, but here are some sample questions to give you some ideas to build off of.

Who are you currently using today?
How long have you been with them?
How is everything going?
What are some of the things you like about what they provide?
What are some things that you think could be better?
If you could change one thing about their product/service, what would it be?
When was the last time you considered other options in this area?
(Sizing Question) How many _____ do you currently have?
Are you the right person to discuss this area with?

Desired State Questions
These sales discovery meeting questions try to identify what direction the prospect wants to go in the future. Here are some examples to give you some ideas to build off of:

What are the short and long-term goals for the organization?
What is the top priority for the organization?
What areas are targets for future improvements?
What issues or challenges would you like to fix?
If you could wave a wand and change one thing, what would that be?

Organization Questions
In your sales discovery meeting, you could ask questions that help you to learn more about the organization that the prospect is in.

What does the organization look like?
What objectives is the organization measured against?
How is the organization structured?
What does your team look like?
What other departments do you interface with?
Who do you report to?
Is it possible to get a copy of an org chart?

Need to Purchase
It is important to identify if the prospect wants what you sell or if they need what you sell. The more of a need the purchase is, the more qualified the prospect is. Here are some need to purchase questions:

What motivated you to look at us (brought you to us)?
Do you mind if I ask why you took time out of your schedule to meet with us?
What improvements could you see if you make this purchase?
What will happen if you do not purchase something?
Is there a date when this purchase needs to be made?
What happens if the purchase is not made by that date?
What is the time frame that the project needs to work along?

Ability to Purchase
The sales discovery meeting is a good time to try to figure out if the prospect has money to purchase what you are selling. Here are some examples of questions you can use to learn more about how strong or weak the prospect is in that area:

What is the budgetary range that you need this purchase to stay within?
Is there a budget approved for this project?
Have the funds been allocated to this purchase?
What budget (department) will this purchase be made under?
Are there other purchases that this funding may end up being used for?
How does the project fit with other initiatives from a priority standpoint?

Authority to Purchase
Does the prospect have decision-making power in terms of being able to approve the purchase that you are trying to get them to make? Here are some questions to help figure out how much power the prospect has and who is the ultimate decision-maker:

​​What is the decision-making process?
What parties will be involved in making the decision?
What are the key factors that a decision will be based on?
What functional areas (departments) will be impacted by the purchase?
Is there a committee that this type of purchase has to go through?
Who is the ultimate decision maker?
Who is the person that will need to sign the agreement/contract?

Intent to Purchase
A step we can often forget to take is to try to learn if the prospect intends to purchase from us. In other words, we try to figure out if the prospect is going to purchase but sometimes don’t take that extra step to try to figure out if they are leaning more toward our competition. These sales discovery meeting questions help you to get a better idea of what the prospect’s intentions are and if they are leaning more toward purchasing from a competitor.

What other options are you considering?
How far along are you in discussions with them?
How do you feel about your other options?
What do you like about them? What do you not like about them?
How do they compare with what we have to offer?
Is there a reason why you would choose us over them?
If you had to make a decision today, which way would you lean?