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Discovery questions are some of the most important questions that you will ask during your sales call. This is where you will discover a true customer problem or need that your product/service can fulfill. When you uncover that need or problem, it will allow you to seamlessly pitch your product/service to them in a way that will help them the most.

he idea here is to discover a need, not invent a need. One of the reasons why some salespeople have such a poor reputation is because some of them invent needs for prospects, rather than discovering them. Even worse is when salespeople make-up benefits of their product or service to fulfill the phony need.

It’s incredibly important that you discover a true need that the prospect has. When you uncover a real need that they are experiencing, you will have the following benefits:

  • They will feel good about what they have purchased.
  • The likelihood that they will rescind on the sale will decrease.
  • They have a strong chance of becoming a loyal customer to you and the brand.
  • Your will develop a solid reputation for being a helpful salesperson.

The question is, how can we discover real needs from the prospect?

The answer is to ask engaging and strategic open-ended questions. If you have developed a solid rapport with the prospect, these questions should reveal exactly what you are looking for. The questions should be formulated around uncovering hidden needs or problems that the prospect is facing.

Here is a good list of go-to discovery questions that are designed to engage the prospect, get them talking, and uncover some vital information that you can use to make a sale. Don’t worry about using ALL of these questions in one sales call – that would not make sense. Rather, know your product/service well enough to pick out the questions you think will benefit your agenda the most. It also helps to do research on your prospect before calling on them.

These questions can be altered to work in either a B2B setting or a B2C setting.

  1. Tell me a little about yourself/your company.
  2. What is your role within this company?
  3. What do you generally look for in a ____ company? (insert your industry, product, or service type)
  4. What has led you to implement this particular solution?
  5. If you could have it your way, what would your ideal solution look like?
  6. What is currently holding you back?
  7. Tell me about a time you have tried a similar product. What happened?
  8. What problems are you trying to solve?
  9. What are your goals?
  10. What are your thoughts on this?
  11. Financially speaking, what are you hoping to accomplish?
  12. How can I help you reach your goals?
  13. What is your current plan of action if ____ takes place? (insert a common problem that your product/service solves)
  14. What is your competition currently doing?
  15. What have you been doing to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace?
  16. Has this issue been addressed before? What happened?
  17. A lot of people I talk to are having problems with ___, how have these affected you?
  18. If you could solve these problems, what would the financial impact be?
  19. How are you hoping that we can be different from the competition?
  20. What does success mean to you?
  21. With whom have you had success in the past?
  22. With whom have you had problems in the past?
  23. Has anything changed with your situation recently?
  24. What concerns do you have?
  25. What can I do to solve this problem for you, right here?

These questions are all designed to uncover a need or a problem that you can then satisfy. Remember, it’s important to ask these questions in a conversational format and not to interrogate the prospect. One of my favorite methods that I use when asking discovery questions is called the Columbo Method, which you can read more about here.

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Author: Jason Karaman

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