51 Questions to Ask During a Sales Discovery Call

min read
September 16, 2022

You have spent more than one hour on a sales call with your prospects, only to hear “it’s not the good time right now”

If you have ever handled a sales call, this is not something new! 

A lot of times, it's either no contact (never to be heard from again), or you keep talking to your prospect in the hope for better results.

That’s why, preparing a list of sales discovery call questions is essential to lead the call towards a fruitful destination. No matter what you sell and to whom you sell, if you don’t lead your sales call with the right questions, you will end up with prospects who will not convert! 

So how do you figure out the sales discovery questions that set the stage and show how your product is the best solution? 

To help you out, here are 51 sales discovery calls questions tested to increase your chances of converting potential customers. 

Let’s start with the basics. 

What is a discovery call? 

A discovery call is the first step in your sales process where you jump on a call with your prospect after your introductory email. In a nutshell, it’s a chance to learn more about your prospect and their business, and is an opportunity for you to establish yourself as someone who can help them with their usecase.

It’s important not to think of the entire sales discovery process as a single event. Sales discovery is an ongoing, iterative effort that should take place throughout your sales cycle. That said, you'll get the most out of your discovery efforts if they begin early during the qualifying stage — before moving forward into sales presentations or product demos.

Why is a sales discovery call crucial? 

Without a sales discovery call, you can't pinpoint the exact problem of the prospect to come up with a solution that will work for them. Moreover, you won't know what type of person your prospect is, making it harder to build rapport with them. 

And without knowing their pain points or challenges, how can you devise solutions that will resonate with them?

The goal of a sales discovery call is not only to confirm that you're a good fit for the prospect and vice-versa, but also to ensure that your business needs are met.

Here’s why sales calls play an important role in the sales process:

1. Helps your prospect understand how your product solves their pain points

A discovery call enables you to unpack your prospects' pain points through carefully crafted sales discovery questions. You can then use that information to connect your solution with their problem by explaining how it will help them solve their pains and achieve their goals.

For example, you have a sales automation software and your prospect is a small business owner who tells you they struggle to qualify their leads. Use this information to explain how your sales automation software would help them do just that. 

 2. Gives you a chance to build rapport and trust with your prospect 

By asking sales discovery questions and listening closely, you can get to know your prospect better and demonstrate that you have their best interests in mind. This will help them feel more comfortable working with you and increase the likelihood that they’ll sign up for your product.

3. Gain a better understand of their needs and challenges 

When you closely listen and ask follow-up questions, you can learn more about your prospect's problems. For example, a prospect tells you they’re having trouble keeping track of their leads. In that case, this information could explain how your sales automation software would help them manage their sales pipeline more effectively.

4. Helps you move your prospects through the sales pipeline 

You can understand which stage of the sales process prospects are currently in through tailored sales discovery questions. If a prospect is still early in the buying process, this may mean they’re not ready to buy from you yet. However, if they tell you they want more information about how your product could solve their problems, this indicates that they’re ready for more sales content and move further down the sales pipeline.

5. Leads you to prospects who are more likely to convert

If you don’t conduct a sales call with the right sales discovery questions, you may waste your marketing efforts on prospects who aren’t ready to buy from you. However, through a sales call, you can find out precisely what your prospects want and need so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to buy from you.

At the end of the day, a sales call can help you cut through all the noise and get right to the point. It allows you to identify your best prospects and then move them along in their buying cycle so that they’re ready to buy from you when they’re ready.

What happens during a sales discovery call?

In a sales discovery call, you’re essentially trying to “discover” what is important to your prospect and their workflow. You want to find out what motivates them, their pain points, their goals for the next few years, and if there are any specific concerns that they have about working with your company.

The goal of crafting sales discovery questions is to uncover your prospect’s goals and how you can help them achieve them. By the end of the call, you should clearly understand what your prospect wants from you and how they like to work with vendors.

But, the question is, how can you run a perfect discovery call?

Here are five tips for you to help nail your sales discovery call. 

5 Easy steps to run a perfect discovery call

While there are no one-size-fits-all sales discovery call scripts, there are some basic strategies that can guide you. 

1. Know your prospects 

You can’t dive into a sales discovery call without knowing your prospect. You don’t want to use generic sales discovery questions available on the internet to smoothly take your discovery call. 

The solution?

Do your homework. 

Researching your prospect before you make the cold call gives you enough context to ask in-depth sales discovery questions about their environment.

Get to know your audience by learning what they do in their roles, how their companies and industries operate, and what challenges they face.

Empathize with your prospect by putting yourself in their shoes. What do you think about the issues that are important to them? What would be most helpful for them?

Once you do enough research, you can move to the second step. 

2. Qualify prospects

Of course, you don’t want to spend your efforts with a lead who is irrelevant to your product or services, do you?

You are good enough to kick off your sales discovery call if you did a robust prospect analysis. 

To qualify your prospect, you must learn where they stand in their processes and pain points. In this stage, you can ask sales discovery questions like:

  • What are your current challenges?
  • What are the biggest problems you’re facing?
  • How long have you been looking for a solution to this problem?
  • How has this issue affected your business?
  • How are you currently solving this problem?

Limiting the number of sales discovery questions you ask your prospects is essential. 

If you keep bombarding sales discovery questions to your prospect, they will feel overwhelmed, which may derail the entire process. As per the analysis by Mindtickle, on average, 12-15 sales discovery questions are sufficient to lead a successful discovery call. 

One way to increase the number of sales leads is to have your discovery call questions appear throughout the entire conversation. Let your prospect reveal more, as the top sales rep speaks less than 45% of the duration of a discovery call! 

You can ask highly specific sales discovery questions, but your goal should be to keep your conversation natural and your prospect feeling relaxed. Think of yourself as a friend helping them make the right decision rather than an interrogator trying to extract information from them.

3. Unearth the pain of your prospects 

By listening to your prospect's stories and learning about their experiences, you can gain insight into what might be possible for them.  

Sometimes, your prospect may not know their challenges or goals for their business. 

They may feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start or what steps to take first. You can help them by asking sales discovery questions to help them reflect on the past, present, and future. 

Asking open-ended sales discovery questions like “What are some things you’ve done in the past that have helped you?” or “What are some things that have been most challenging for you as a small business owner?” will get your prospect talking about their experiences and challenges.

Pro tip: During the video call, see how they react to each question and tailor your response accordingly. It makes the conversion interactive rather than listening to a sales pitch. 

Once you connect the dots and paint a picture of the user's pain points, start mapping out the concerns they have. 

Well-thoughtout questions reveal just how deep the pain points of your customers are. By exploring the consequences of their problems, you can tailor your message to instill urgency in them and reinforce the importance of finding a solution quickly.

Some of the sales discovery questions that you can ask include,

  • “What are the consequences of not finding a solution to your problem?”
  • “How long have you been dealing with this issue?”
  • “How much does it cost your company every year to deal with this problem?”
  • “How many hours do you spend each week trying to solve this problem on your own?”
  • "What would happen if you lost a customer because of this problem?"
  • "What does it cost when you don't solve this problem quickly enough?"

Now that you’ve identified your buyer's emotional needs, you must reassure him that he is being heard.

When your buyer seems to be getting emotional about the topic, you can label that emotion. For example:

“I understand where you're coming from, but what would happen if we could get rid of these obstacles?” 

If you nail the question, you can bring the smooth transition to the actual sales part. 

4. Build a vision 

Once you reach this stage, you have let your prospect know about what they get with a proper solution. 

Again, you can ask a few more questions in a way that pushes your prospects to pull the string that explains how they will benefit by using your solution(product). 

Some of these questions that help you in this stage are:

  • How much money will you save if you solve this problem right now?
  • What’s the one benefit you will get from solving this problem?
  • If this problem is solved, how will it boost your and your team’s efficiency?

Remember, in this stage, your prospect will care about how you will understand their pains and how you will help them to achieve their goals. 

So in this stage, you can back up your solution with social proof that resonates with your prospect’s pain point. 

It is important to note that the objective of this stage is to switch the conversation from an emotional decision to rational decision-making. This can increase the probability of closing the deal and establish clear next steps. 

5. Build clear next steps 

It’s the final stage of your discovery call. This stage determines whether you are going to make or break the deal. 

Settle things off by creating clear next steps. You can conclude this by stating a solid point, 

“Thus, based on what you have told me, I recommend that you take the following steps—--”

If your questions resonated well with the prospect, your discovery call will end with a product demo that addresses all the pains and priorities raised throughout the call. 

And if you have no clue about how to build a product demo, try Storylane. Storylane’s no-code editor lets you create an attention-grabbing interactive product demo in no time.

demo gif

To the Storylane team: Include a product demo GIF if needed. 

End your discovery call after establishing the next steps, like a second follow-up call or scheduling your product demo. 

Important questions to ask during a sales discovery call

There are multiple sales discovery questions, and you may feel overwhelmed with the available options. 

That’s why we have divided this section into five stages, where you can pick the best sales discovery call questions that resonate with your objectives. 

Stage 1: Sales discovery questions that reveal more about your prospect 

1. How would you describe your business?

2. What is the overall vision of your company?

3. How long have you used X as a part of your strategy/service?

4. How many people are working in your team?

5. What’s your team process for x?

6. How do you measure your performance?

7. Can you tell me how your process works on Y?

8. What are your top priorities right now?

9. How do you measure success for this position?

10. What does success look like for this position in 3-6 months from now?

These are the fundamental questions often asked and answered during a sales discovery call. Of course, you would have done your research about your prospect, but these questions help you initiate the conversation without sounding salesy!

You can get a clear understanding of what your prospect’s role is and where they are in the buying process. That being said, not all organizations are similar, and the ideal way to start identifying their business is to ask themselves! 

Stage 2: Sales discovery questions that uncover the pains

11. What does your current process look like?

12. What are your goals for this year and next year?

13. What’s the expected timeline for achieving that goal?

14. What are the obstacles that stop you from achieving that goal?

15. What are the challenges that your business is currently facing?

16. How are you handling those challenges?

17. Are you happy with your current solution?

18. What’s the one thing you want to change in your current process?

19. What’s the biggest challenge that you are facing right now with X?

20. What happens if you fail to solve your challenge with X?

21. What other options are available to solve X? Do you have any backup plan?

22. What kind of results are you looking for in a new solution? 

23. What are the other solutions that you are looking for?

24. What are you trying to improve with x?

25. When do you want your current challenge with X to be resolved?

26. How much money can you save if your challenge with X is resolved?

27. How would it mean for you personally to solve your challenge with X?

These sales discovery questions will help you find the elephant in the room. When you go into the details by asking a series of questions about their goals and challenges, they realize their struggles and seek solutions that resolve their problems. 

Furthermore, you can tailor your solution to their pain points by pinpointing their needs.

Stage 3: Sales discovery questions that help to qualify your prospects 

28. Where does solving your problem sit on your priority list?

29. Are you having any problems with (a solution that your product delivers)?

30. Why is solving this problem on your priority list?

31. When do you want this problem to be solved?

32. Is X having a significant impact on your business?

33. Why hasn’t it been addressed before? 

34. What would impact that metric if you found a good solution?

35. What do you think is the perfect solution to this problem?

36. In your opinion, what would constitute a successful outcome?

37. Do you have any other option if you don’t choose this product?

You don’t want to keep a prospect in your sales cycle who has no intention to buy your product. Thus, qualifying for every opportunity is essential and sticking to the options likely to convert. 

On the other hand, you won’t be able to find which prospect is going to convert in your discovery call. But when you ask qualifying sales discovery questions and score them accordingly, you can filter out prospects who later become your customers. 

Stage 4: Sales discovery questions that disqualify your prospect 

38. What’s your timeline for implementation?

39. What are the roadblocks that hold you from implementing this solution?

40. What’s your budget to solve this problem?

41. Is this a pain point for your team as a whole? Are there any stakeholders who might prevent this deal from going forward?

42. When did you last purchase a similar solution? I would like to know how that works.

43. How does picking a perfect solution impact you?

You already have qualifying questions handy. Yet, why do we need disqualifying questions?

Because this is the stage where you can uncover their budget, their timeline (so that the implementation timeline of your product can be met), and their urgency in solving their particular problem. 

If they don’t score enough at this stage, disqualify them from your sales cycle. 

Stage 5: Sales discovery questions that establish the next step 

44. Who else will be involved in the decision-making process?

45. What criteria do you use to select vendors? How were these criteria compiled?

46. Who would be signing off the contract if you decide to buy it?

47. What are your timeline goals for making a purchase decision?

48. Do you have any concerns about our product that I can address?

49. Shall I schedule a second call with one of our representatives?

50. Who else do we need to get on board with this?

51. Based on what you told me, I suggest the next step as X. Does it sound good?

This set of questions reveals your actual leads. If you play your cards well, you can increase the probability of getting them on board. And most importantly, offer them three timeslots to choose from if you are preparing for your second call rather than leaving it open-ended.

Pro tip: Instead of explaining how your product works, show them an interactive product demo (you can use Storylane to build it with a few clicks). This helps them to understand better how your product works and how it will solve their problem. 

Lead the game like a pro 

Now you have the precise steps to prepare for your sales discovery call. Remember that you don’t have to bombard your prospects with multiple questions; you can even ace the game with carefully crafted questions.

Try to lead your conversation with a humanized tone. If you try to ask more sales questions, you will sound like a robotic salesman who pushes the product to the prospect. So invest your time in preparing your sales discovery call script that helps to save both your’s and your prospect’s time. 

Use an interactive product demo that lets your prospect explore your product without signing up. When they see the product in action and how it solves their problem in real-time, they won’t hesitate to invest in your product. But how can you craft a personalized and interactive product demo without complexity?

That’s where Storylane comes in. With its zero code demo editor, you can play with different features of your product and create an interactive demo in minutes! 

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."
Supercharge your funnel with Interactive Demos
Book a demo
Revolutionize your sales game with interactive Product demos
Take a tour

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Stay ahead of the sandbox curve with a superior demo environment
Try Storylane
Capture more leads and close more deals with interactive demos Take a tour
"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."


Stay ahead of the sandbox curve with a superior demo environment
Try Storylane
Stay ahead of the sandbox curve with a superior demo environment
Get the Storylane Advantage
Learn more about how Thrillark Procured over a 60% Increase in
Button Text
Learn more about how Thrillark Procured over a 60% Increase in
Button Text
Capture more leads and close more deals with interactive demos.
Take a tour