The 21 Best Sales Discovery Questions You Should Be Asking

The 21 Best Sales Discovery Questions You Should Be Asking

written by Houston Golden
Founder & CEO, BAMF Media
September 29th, 2021
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Do you want to understand your customers better and get better conversions?

Work on your sales discovery questions.

Here’s the thing.

Sales discovery is such a critical step in lead generation.

It’s not only a chance for you to understand your customer, but it’s also an opportunity for them to understand you.

In this guide, we take a look at Sales discovery questions you should consider including as part of your lead qualification whether in the appointment setting or sales discovery phase.

Are you ready to change the way you do sales triage?

Important Reminders on Sales Discovery Questions

Do not use all of these questions in a sales discovery or triage call.

You’d probably be on a call forever.

These are just a guide on what questions you can ask or add to your current qualification process.

How did you hear about us?

This is one of the most standard questions that you can include in your sales discovery questions and it accomplishes a lot of things.

  • It’s a good question to start a conversation and gets the prospect talking.
  • You can start finding out about the prospects habits.
  • It helps the marketing team determine if their efforts are yielding good results on the right channels.

It’s basically a hardworking icebreaker question that you can pretty much use in any conversation with a potential client.

They’re also so used to the question that it’s not intimidating in any way.

1. How does this tie in with your growth plan?

When you start a relationship with a client, you want to make it last.

The aim is to gain a client with a high LTV and for them to gain a solution that helps make their lives easier.

It’s a win-win.

That’s why this question is so powerful.

Not only do you get to find out what their plans are for the future, but you also get to figure out how your solution fits in the overall pictures.

And, it doesn’t just stop there.

The overall premise of this question relates to growth so you’re also subtly telling your prospect that you’re a company that thinks long term.

It’s more than just a question, it’s also a statement.

2. How are you different from your competition?

This is one of the best questions you can ask your prospect because it doesn’t just show you how they present their organization to other people, but how they perceive their organization.

The answer to this question will tell you a lot about how the organization functions and you need every bit of information that you can get.

Since it requires some thought, you can also get into the psyche of the person that you’re qualifying, and that’s critical to understanding them.

sales discovery questions, The 21 Best Sales Discovery Questions You Should Be Asking

3. What problem are you trying to solve?

This is a standard sales discovery question.

It helps determine if the prospect and your organization are a good fit for each other.

Apart from that, this is the first time that you’re going to be exposed to their overall expectation of what your solution does.

4. What else are you hoping it will solve?

There will always be a ripple effect when you fix one problem, your solution could help another area of the business, reduce costs, or fix an issue with efficiency.

This question is another way to subtly ask them what their other expectations are of the solution that you bring to the table.

But, that’s not all this does.

It also acts as a springboard to tell your prospects about what else your solution does.

It opens the conversation to tackle the other features of your solution that they’re not aware of.

And, this helps build rapport and gives them a chance to explore what you have to offer.

5. Why fix it now?

This question helps you determine the prospect’s priorities, history, and at times, their budgets.

Every company has problems, but some of these get solved faster than others depending on the priorities that they have.

By knowing how much of a priority your solution is, you can determine how likely it is for them to buy from you.

Sometimes it’s just finances that are blocking the purchase of a solution, and that’s perfectly fine. You want to know how their cash flow looks like before you sell them something to determine if they’re a long-term customer or not.

How to create sales scripts that don’t suck? We got you covered.

6. What did you try doing before?

Actions in the past shed light on how an organization operates and this is important in figuring out your solution’s place in a prospect’s organization.

They might also talk about other providers that they’ve worked with in the past and you can also use this as an opportunity to ask follow-ups such as “why don’t you think it worked out?”

7. What happens if you do nothing?

This is more of a sales qualification that helps determine if your prospect is willing to move or regard the solution to be a priority.

But, it also works to shock the prospect.

Most sales discovery and triage calls deal with trying to get people to subtly buy their product and will have tamer questions, this is one that gets them thinking.

8. What opportunities will you unlock with this solution?

There are times where the best way to sell to a prospect is to make them sell the solution to themselves.

And, this is what this question aims to do.

By asking them this question, you get them thinking about the possibilities that are going to open to them once they buy into what you have to offer.

The more that they do this, the more that they are subtly convincing themselves of the urgency of purchase.

And, this makes your job so much easier.

On the plus side, you get to discover what their vision is for the company and what their idea is of efficient operations.

9. How will your team’s lives be better with this solution?

Oh, we love this question.

And, you’ll find that this is especially effective for companies that prioritize corporate culture and their teams.

By asking this question, you appeal to the noble side of the prospect and that transcends the transaction.

Appealing to that humanity makes it more than just a simple purchase, it now becomes an issue of how they can make their team’s lives better.

This is also considered a buyer-centric approach to lead qualification and it’s one of the factors that the NOTE framework focuses on.

We really advise that you check out our article regarding that.


10. What are you currently doing to fix it?

This is another question that helps you assess if they’re prioritizing the problem and if they’ll be purchasing your solution anytime soon.

However, this question can also come in effectively if you’re looking to complement their current fix with what you have to offer.

Say, they’re implementing an in-house solution that’s underpowered, you can easily bring in your solution and see how both will synergize and create a better system for them to use.

11. What’s the most important thing that you do need to solve?

Try to get to the root of the problem.

One major problem opens the door to a lot of smaller ones.

Be warned.

Some organizations might prioritize fixing the smaller problems first.

If your solution gets to solve and prevent the smaller problems, then you’re good to go.

12. What extra features are you looking at?

A lot of solutions have extra features embedded into them. Take a look at CRMs for instance and all the little add-ons they’ve included to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Asking about extra features helps if you’re looking to upsell in the future, find out which features they’re really interested in, and take notes.

This will help make for a more effective conversion.

13. Have you tried another provider?

You want to understand what went wrong with their old provider, is it the solution, customer service, or the experience?

This allows you to look at the old provider’s product and see how it stacks up compared to what you have to offer.

If you see that they’ve tried a more superior solution but have had no success this could be a red flag and suggestive of problems within their organization.

Continue to probe a little further until you find out what exactly went wrong.

Whatever you do, you don’t want to speak ill of them, even in jest.

Keep things as professional as you at this point of sales discovery, no matter how much your competitor sucks.

14. What are your other options?

Towards the later stages of the sales discovery questions and triage, you’ll find that you’ve probably developed enough rapport to start asking more probing questions.

Asking for the options that they have reveals their overall strategy for solving the problem that they have in hand.

And, it might also reveal if you have any competitors for the solution.

Now if they tell you that there’s a competing offer or solution, take that gracefully because:

a. they’re being honest with you.

b. they’re considering your solution since they’re still talking to you.

Also, this gives you a little insight into the competition, substitutes, and complements that your solution has in the market.

Take this to the marketing department and differentiate! 

15. Is there a budget?

Notice, it wasn’t phrased as “what is your budget?”

Here’s why.

A lot of companies – especially newer startups – might not have a specific budget set aside for solutions such as yours.

There will also be a few leads that will have the funds available but might not know that they need your solution.

By asking this question, you find out which category they belong in and have a chance to even help them set aside a budget for you.

You can ask follow-up questions such as:

  • How does the decision-making process work if we were to go forward with this?
  • Who makes the majority of the decisions?
  • Are you part of that team?
  • What’s the buying process?
  • Can you walk me through it?

Check out the ultimate appointment setting script here!

16. How will you be implementing the solution from your end?

You always want to make sure that the solution that you’re selling will be deployed properly.

A lot of companies have bought in great solutions in the past but have experienced failure because of problems with deployment.

The last thing that you want is to fall short of their expectation when it could be result of their shortcomings.

If you find that their deployment is problematic, this is an opportunity to help and tell them how it should be deployed.

You can also talk about the other benefits of the solution at this point.

17. What are your expectations?

Managed expectations are an important part of any negotiation.

They lead to better agreements and longer relationships with your clients.

At the very beginning, you should strive to make sure that you know what their expectations are and that they know up to what extent you can fulfill those expectations.

We all know the rule.

“Under-promise and over-deliver”

And, quite frankly, there’s a lot of wisdom in that phrase.

Most deals that go sour are because of expectations that weren’t properly managed in the beginning.

Bonus 17.5. When do you want to see results?

Not everyone can get results overnight.

And, no solution is magic.

Think of this as the continuation of managing their expectations, you also want to know how long they are expecting to get results so that you can prepare them beforehand.

This leads to a better relationship with your prospect.

18. What’s your bottom line?

This is a question that you can use to find out exactly what the organization plans on achieving and what is important to them.

You want to know how they perceive the big picture.

It’s also good information to have because it allows you to figure out how your values align with each other.

19. What could derail the deal?

There are a lot of factors that could throw off a deal, whether it be restructuring inside the company, priorities, or certain forces that could be against what you have to offer.

It’s important to know what you’re up against.

This allows you to prepare or – in extreme cases – disqualify the prospect.

You’ll also find that you can get a grasp of the rapport between you and your prospect depending on how they answer.

Another benefit is that you come off as an honest and standup person that cares about the relationship.

20. What would sweeten the deal?

This is a great question towards the end because it can make any sales discovery or triage call light.

If you ask this question with an upbeat inflection in your voice, you may even generate some humor and friendly banter between you and the prospect, and you need that.

Now, what happens if they ask for something a little extra that you can actually provide with no significant cost?

Don’t make promises and quietly sneak in their request during the negotiation or closing stage.

When they get it they’ll backtrack to the time that you ask them for additional requests, and find that your company is someone that prioritizes customer service.

21. Do you have any questions for me?

This is something we advise everyone to ask, whether in a job interview, a personal meeting, or a negotiation because it helps complete the conversation.

You get to answer any remaining questions that your prospect might have, and it shows that you care about their thoughts.


Sales discovery questions aren’t just for lead qualification.

They also help build rapport with the prospect and give you a chance to market to them. This is why we’ve prioritized more thought-provoking questions that get them thinking.

Here’s the thing.

Don’t just stick to these questions.

If you find that they’ve highlighted a particular issue that they are facing, probe a little more and go off-script.

That’s where the real issues are.

Your job is not to be an SDR but rather a consultant.

You want to guide them first and leave them to convert themselves.

About the Author

The name's Houston Golden. I'm the Founder & CEO of BAMF — a company I've grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $5M+ in revenue over a span of 5 years.

How did I do it? Well, it's quite simple, really. I've helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win), I tell all on this blog.

Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.
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