Whether you call it an introductory or discovery call, it’s essential to structure your first call strategically.
It’s a given that your product or service has to be in alignment with the prospect’s pains and priorities. But ultimately your influence as a sales professional comes down to relationship building: It’s how you increase the perception of credibility while keeping the buyer’s guard down to pave the way for an honest conversation.
Before modern selling, the typical discovery call was like an interrogation—question after question as a lead-in to a pitch. But in a world where buyers are short on time and patience, you need to move faster. The good news is that you can help time-starved prospects make sense of all the information at their disposal by zeroing in on the essential insights.
With this in mind, structure your first call as a combination of teaching and learning: Share a bit of your value proposition while learning about the buyer’s pains and priorities. Before going into the call, conduct research on the buyer, their company, their industry and the market conditions using Sales Navigator. From this, create a hypothesis about the potential pain.
Follow an effective call framework
Now you’re going to structure the call so you can qualify and quantify these needs, with a goal of making the buyer want to take action. Here’s a call framework that we find works:
Set a clear timeframe and set the stage for a two-way dialogue. For example, “Thank you for making the time for this call. Are we still good for 45 minutes? I want to make sure that you understand my objectives with this call are X, Y and Z. I also want to make sure I have a true understanding of why you took this call, what you need out of this.”
Once the buyer explains their reason for taking the call, get agreement that it makes sense to move forward with the call.
Listen to unearth the true need
During the call, confirm that your hypothesis is correct or incorrect. If it’s the latter, focus on uncovering the true pain. Your planning is still worthwhile because it demonstrates you did your research, affirming your credibility and allowing you to have a more honest conversation to understand the buyer’s true need.
Remember to focus on listening. You likely won’t get through all your questions so start with your priority questions and get deep answers to those. It’s better to prioritize a few areas and go deep than ask many high-level questions.
Qualify the opportunity
Your goal is to understand the problem at a high level and to figure out why the buyer is experiencing the problem. In other words, figure out the causes. You next need to estimate the risk if the buyer doesn’t take action.