12 questions to ask on a discovery sales call

The top questions to ask on a discovery sales call that could lead to your next big breakthrough.

Rory Sadler
August 14, 2023
March 20, 2024
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The top questions to ask on a discovery sales call that could lead to your next big breakthrough.

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A discovery call is a huge opportunity. Sure, they don't attract as much attention as the art of closing a deal, but if you do them right, they will have a big effect on your revenue and conversions.

Discovery calls are about much more than qualifying leads. They are also a chance to:

  • Establish rapport with your prospect
  • Understand their pain points
  • Learn about their existing process
  • Figure out areas where your solution can make an impact
  • Unearth any issues they've had with similar solutions

As any good sales manager will tell you, every moment you have with a prospect is precious. If you want to hit your sales goals, you need to make every question count.

Here is a list of 12 questions each SDR should ask on a discovery call to maximise the chance of a future conversion.

"Talk to me about your business."

The best sales discovery questions areopen-ended. They offer your prospect the chance to talk about what matters mostto them — on their terms.

While this is a critical question, you mustcarefully consider how and when to place it. Leading with this inquiry couldsuggest that you haven't done your research on their company, which might comeacross as disrespectful or careless.

So talk a little about what you know aboutthe company, their work, industry, etc., before you ask the prospect to tellyou about their business. 

Another advantage of placing this question after you outline your research is that the answers should be deeper and more focused on more pressing issues and not just basic details.

What issues does your company need to solve?

You might think this question is overly general. However, like the previous sales discovery question, it uses an open-ended format to encourage prospects to talk freely.

While having a rough structure for your sales discovery call is a good idea, leaving enough space is important. Listening is an essential skill for an SDR. 

You can collect some crucial information by getting your prospect to think and talk about the problems they need to solve. This info can help qualify your lead and give you a deeper understanding of what they need from a solution.

Have you tried a similar solution in the past?

Again, this is an excellent question to ask when you need to get your prospect to talk. They can share a lot of informationabout past solutions, such as:

  • What worked
  • What didn't 
  • Frustration with their current providers
  • Pricing information

You should notice a pattern here:open-ended questions with lots of listening on your part. You can have the bestproduct or service, but if you can’t make connections you’ll struggle to hityour sales goals.

What are your goals?

Here is another question that every SDR should ask. It's a great way to see what each prospect needs from a product and how it will affect their business. Knowing their aims and how you can index your product to solve these issues, will help you close way more deals because you’ll be closing with targeted pitches.

Additionally, if you understand your prospects objectives, you can also cite case studies or examples of similar clients you’ve helped.

What metrics or KPIs do you own?

Getting to the heart of the matter on a discovery call can be challenging. Not all prospects are forthcoming, especially when you haven't taken the time to build rapport or demonstrated your product's value. This question is designed to cut through the noise.

Finding out what KPIs or metrics yourprospect is responsible for can tell you a lot about their role and theirbusiness. Additionally, if you can get a reply with some concrete figures, youcan show exactly how your solution can help them improve.

How will you solve your issue if you don't buy this solution?

Here’s another interesting question that can help you gauge just how interested your prospect is. If they tell you that they'll carry on as normal without your solution, it's hard to make the case that they really need it. That's not to say that a deal is impossible, just that the chances are a little more remote.

On the other hand, if they answer the question by indicating that they'd need to investigate other similar solutions, you can tell that your prospect is definitely in the market, and your job is to convince them that your product or service is what they need.

Another advantage of this question is that it can give you an insight into the timeline your prospect is working off.

Speaking of that...

How soon do you plan on implementing a solution?

Getting some idea of a timeline for implementation is an integral part of the discovery process. A good SDR needs to know how they should prioritise leads; if a prospect is ready to find a solution soon, you need to give them your full attention.

Likewise, if your prospect is tied into an existing agreement or their timeline is way off in the distance, you can pop them in your sales pipeline and start ramping up contact nearer the time.

Which department's budget will be used for this solution

This question needs to be delivered delicately. If you haven't built up a bit of rapport or your prospect isn't forthcoming with information, don't dive in with this one. 

Finding out which department is responsible for paying for a solution can help you flesh out your knowledge of the organisation's structure. It can also lead you to find out about some of the other decision-makers or stakeholders who have the final say.

What will change at your company if you choose our solution?

There are so many rich answers that can come from these questions. It can help you understand their pain points and frustrations more quickly, as well as gain better insights into their goals.

By listening to their answer, you can understand how your product or service will impact their business. As well as helping qualify the lead, it gives you some powerful ammunition for a sales call.

Additionally, questions like this can help your prospect visualise positive outcomes and can drive positive associations with your solution.

What's the procedure for closing a deal once you've picked a solution?

Another question that requires a little subtlety and tact. You can't ask this sort of question out of the gate. Instead, save it for a time when you've built up some goodwill. Not all sales discovery calls will present that opportunity, so use your best judgement.

Answering this question can give you a roadmap for closing the deal, including learning about some other parties involved.

Are there any roadblocks you can foresee?

Finding out about potential roadblocks is a great way to learn about and deal with any objections. Additionally, if there are too many procurement, legal, or regulatory issues that you need to overcome, they might not be the right fit.

Is there anything I can do to help this process along?

Sometimes prospects need a little something to move a deal along. It could be something like a white paper, a case study or a pricing guide. Alternatively, it might be getting in touch with a decisionmaker and helping them decide on the product. 

Whatever it is, ensure you use your discovery call to position yourself as a helpful ally. 


At trumpet we have a killer integration with Typeform, meaning you can embed any pre/post demo questions directly into your trumpet Pod and get your prospect to answer them. The information you gather can be vital for closing the deal, and quickly.

Wrap up

Sales discovery is an underrated part of the sales process. The information that you gather is essential for several different reasons.

Discovery calls primarily aim to identify which prospects will be excellent sales-qualified leads (SQLs). However, they also help in other ways.

All information you gather on discovery calls is helpful. Disqualifying leads can help you concentrate your time and efforts on the warmest that are most likely to convert. Additionally, you can plug any feedback into your sales tracking system to optimise your process.

A discovery call should be short and punchy. Experts suggest that about 11 - 14 questions are enough. As you can see from our examples, open-ended questions are the best option. Get your prospects talking as much as possible because you never know what key information they'll share.

As always, listening is critical. Probe with the right questions and keep an open ear, and you can gather the information you need to build killer pitches that convert.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make your discovery calls so you can populate the trumpet with your SQLs.

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