If you are a salesperson, you’ve probably come to know and crave that warm feeling that overwhelms you as soon as you wrap up a closing call.  

You know all too well that getting to that “ka-ching” moment is a struggle that requires a lot of hard work, persistence, and focus.

You know that – depending on what you sell – it could take days or even weeks to nurture a prospect and close the sale! 

And yet, you sometimes commit time, effort, and energy to a prospect that didn’t want to be “nurtured” in the first place.

So, how do you avoid this particular pitfall of wasting everyone’s time?

It all starts with the so-called discovery call, the call that is meant to ensure you won’t be wasting time and effort on useless leads.

Let’s take a closer look at the discovery call and see what you need to do to get the most out of it.

Corded phones ringing

What Is a Discovery Call?

A discovery call is the first call you make after connecting with a prospect who has shown an initial interest in your products/services via email.

In essence, it’s the call that qualifies (or disqualifies) your target prospect as a valid lead.

A discovery call involves asking the prospect questions about their business, needs, and problems, to see if they’re a good fit for your product or service. 

This is not to say you should bombard them with an endless barrage of questions, especially questions you can easily find answers to yourself.

In other words, you should never approach them before you’ve done your homework.

This means doing proper due diligence on your prospects, including researching them online (Google, LinkedIn), learning about their industry and the problems they’re facing, and determining how your product or service would benefit them.

Doing so will allow you to build trust and rapport with your prospects, setting you up for a successful sales conversation down the line.

Discovery Call Basics

Having done your pre-call research, you are now equipped to make a good impression on your prospect. 

But before we get to the discovery call questions, let’s outline some basic principles you should follow when conducting the call. 

1. Show Your Enthusiasm 

Being enthusiastic from the get-go is the first “rule” to follow when making a discovery call. 

Make sure that your attitude reflects your excitement and don’t let your fears, insecurities, or doubts show. 

Be confident and try to articulate your value proposition clearly and effectively. 

Your confidence will shine through and it will help to build your credibility.

Telemarketer making a discovery call

2. Make Yourself Personable 

Showing your human side as opposed to your business persona can be a big asset when you make a discovery call. 

It can help you come across as friendly and approachable, allowing you to establish trust with your prospects. 

Think about any commonalities you discovered during the research and use them as a “hook” to connect with them on a personal level.

Charming salesman closing in on a sale

3. Don’t Ask “Yes” or “No” Questions

Make sure to ask your prospects open-ended questions.

You are there to learn something about the person and how your product or service will benefit them.

Give them room to talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. Get to know their roles and responsibilities, and learn as much as you can about their decision-making processes. 

Let them do the talking and listen to what they have to say without making him feel pressured.

Avoid using Yes or no questions during a discovery call

4. Don’t Be Pushy 

Don’t treat the discovery call as a pure sales call. 

Instead, think of it as an opportunity to make a personal connection with a prospect. 

Make the call more about the prospect and less about yourself. This basic marketing principle should apply to your cold calling, email copywriting practices, and every lead generation activity you engage in.

Remember, you are not there to sell anything. You are there to make a personal connection with the prospect and to create a business relationship.

Telemarketer pushing for a sale during a discovery call

5. Present a Positive Outlook on Their Pain Points 

Instead of pushing for a sale right out of the gate, you should aim to amplify the pain points your prospect is facing before presenting a solution. 

Once you identify (and highlight) a pain point, you should present a solution that matches your company’s strengths and competencies. 

If you can play to your prospect’s pain points and show that they are shared, you will have a better chance of selling them on your product or service.

Artist's impression of a customer transitioning from sad to happy having addressed his pain points

Discovery Call Questions You Should Definitely Ask

Naturally, you should start the discovery call by introducing yourself and your role within the company.

After briefly touching on your product’s value proposition, it might be a good time to throw in the “hook” to help establish rapport with your prospect.

More often than not, you will find that common interests or even hobbies can be used as a basis for starting a great discovery call. 

As for the “business end” of the discovery call, you want it to be as “scripted” as possible so you can steer the conversation in the direction that you want it to go.

You can use the following discovery call questions to ensure that you cover everything important:

  1. Tell me about your business and your position.
  2. What are your company’s objectives and timetables?
  3. What are the problems you are facing?
  4. How do you plan to tackle this problem?
  5. What are the main barriers to overcoming the problem?
  6. Have you tried a particular product or service to address the problem?
  7. What is your budget allocation for this project?
  8. What would you consider a good outcome in your current situation?

Maximizing the Potential of Discovery Calls with Email Marketing

Discovery calls are a crucial part of the sales process, offering marketers the chance to connect with potential customers and identify their needs and pain points.

However, these calls can be less effective without proper preparation and follow-up, leaving potential customers feeling unengaged and disconnected from the company.

Email marketing can be a powerful tool to enhance the effectiveness of discovery calls. It can help build stronger relationships with potential customers and increase the chances of converting them into paying customers.

Through email, marketers can provide valuable content such as blog posts, eBooks, or whitepapers, establishing themselves as thought leaders in their industry and building trust with potential customers.

This can set the stage for a more engaged and productive discovery call, where the potential customer feels invested in the company and its offerings.

Pre-call preparation is another area where email marketing can be useful. Marketers can send relevant information to potential customers prior to the call, such as an agenda or questions to consider, helping to ensure that the conversation is focused and productive.

This can also help establish the marketer as a credible and knowledgeable resource, building trust and credibility with the potential customer.

In addition to lead nurturing and pre-call preparation, email marketing can also support follow-up and relationship building after the discovery call.

Sending personalized follow-up emails summarizing the call and any relevant information discussed can keep the conversation going and maintain engagement with the potential customer.

With email marketing solutions like Mailvio, marketers can deliver targeted messages and personalized communications, maximizing their impact and improving the chances of converting potential customers into paying customers.


A discovery call is all about pinpointing and targeting an audience with a genuine interest in what you have to offer.

By following the general guidelines outlined above, you’ll be able to filter out unqualified candidates and nurture prospects who are much more likely to buy your product or service.

And that will surely make a big difference in the business!

Neil Napier

Neil Napier is the co-founder of Mailvio. Neil started his entrepreneurial journey in 2012 out of necessity to keep his visa in the UK, when he failed to keep his visa he moved to Finland and started his career as a serial entrepreneur and super affiliate. With over $10 million USD in revenue generated, he is a sought-after expert entrepreneur, copywriter & product creator.

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