Discovery Call

25 Best Sales Discovery Questions to Ask in Discovery Calls

Anirban Banerjee

Anirban Banerjee
Lead Content Specialist, Clari



Ready to take your revenue to new heights?

25 best sales discovery questions to ask in discover calls
25 best sales discovery questions to ask in discover calls

Have you ever been on a date where they kept talking about themselves, showing no interest in knowing you?

Jumping directly into your sales pitch without taking the time to understand your prospect and their needs is just like a date gone wrong. Odds are pretty good that there won’t be a second date.

For any relationship to develop, you need to take the time and put in the effort to understand the other person by asking the right questions.

This isn’t just true in personal relationships. It’s also true in sales.

It’s common for sales reps and sales leaders to spend hours fine-tuning the sales pitch, practicing the delivery, hoping to impress and win a client. They spend more time talking about their product or services without understanding the prospect’s needs and pain points.

In their eagerness to close, most sales reps fail to focus on a crucial part of the sales process — the unassuming discovery call. They assume that they can wing it. After all, how hard can it be to ask a couple of questions to the client, right? 

But this strategy rarely leads to many sales.

Expert salespeople know that closing calls do not happen without asking the right discovery questions early on in the sales process.

You need to ask the best questions to uncover sales obstacles, reveal pain points and true motivations of clients, determine product fit, and build anticipation and excitement for your product. 

Without the right questions, you are likely to be stuck guessing important information. You’ll probably waste plenty of time suggesting the wrong products to a prospect or following an unsuitable sales strategy. 

This is why it’s important to ask the right discovery questions to your prospects before you begin pitching. 

In this guide, you’ll learn 25 critical questions that you must ask on a sales discovery call to uncover the client's pain points and guide them on the right buying journey so you can close more deals.

Table of content:

What is a sales discovery question?

Sales discovery questions are ones you ask a sales prospect to gauge whether they’re the right fit for your product or service. 

What is a sales discovery question?

Your sales discovery questions should be open-ended. You should focus entirely on the potential client’s challenges, obstacles, goals, processes, and more as they relate to your products and services.

Remember that you should use a set list of questions as a template. You may not need to ask each one. You should use them as a guideline and a starting point to return to if needed.

Why are good sales discovery questions important?

Sales discovery questions are crucial to closing sales prospects quickly. 

But that’s not the only reason.

Why are good sales discovery questions important?

Asking your prospect discovery questions isn’t just about pushing for a sale. It’s about building that initial relationship with a prospect. You want to show them you care by asking questions. Don’t just ram your product or service down their throat. Ask them the right questions to find out what kind of help they need. You may not be the right fit for them.

Discovery questions will help you quickly determine whether a prospect is the right fit for your company. You’ll find out their problems, which will help you see what solution they need.

One of the main advantages of asking specific sales discovery questions is that they help you present your product correctly to close more sales. By asking the right questions, you can set the stage to frame your product or service as the best solution possible. 

What makes a great sales discovery question?

The questions you ask (and how you ask them) determine the quality of information you extract from a prospect. The right questions help you dive deep into the prospect’s needs, objectives, and challenges. 

The wrong ones? You might annoy the buyer, losing their trust and sinking the deal entirely. 

Here are the rules or templates to help you frame the best sales discovery calls. 

We call them “The 4 Golden Principles of Sales Discovery Questions”:

  • It is open-ended: Avoiding “Yes” or “No” questions gets your prospects talking and willing to share more information. Open-ended questions keep the conversation flowing, helping you gather the right insights.
  • It is researched and informed: Asking informed and well-researched questions demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and showcase your professionalism, building trust. 
  • It helps move the prospect up the sales funnel: Each question that you ask should take the buyer one step closer to the deal. Avoid wasting your time (and the prospect’s time) on small-talk. Try to ask the right questions that drive the sales process forward. 
  • It drives the conversation and builds rapport: Discovery calls are not about interrogating your prospect with one question after another. Instead, it should provide value to your potential buyer. Bonus if they learn something new in the process. Follow a question with the right follow-up question to naturally uncover the prospect’s pain points, thereby creating a perfectly tailored sales pitch that addresses the prospect's needs.

25 best sales discovery questions and why you should use them

Ready to level up your sales calls?

Here are the top critical sales discovery call questions you need to ask a sales lead to uncover the required information and create an irresistible sales pitch. 

Setting the stage

1. “Can you tell me about your company?”

This is a great warmup question for sales discovery. Starting with this question makes it easy for the prospect to take the lead and ease into the conversation. Most people love to share about their company, and it is a great way to build rapport. Additionally, it helps you uncover critical information about the potential customer. 

Look for the following clues in their conversation:

  • Do they have the decision-making power to close the deal? 
  • What areas of the business do they oversee? 
  • Are they facing any difficulties recently?

Getting to know the prospect

2. “Can you tell me about your role and what you do day to day?”

This great follow-up question goes beyond the company to help prospects open up about themselves. Most people love talking about themselves, so it’s a way to help open them to sharing more of their story and role.

This is also a great way to qualify if you’re speaking with the right decision-maker.

3. “What metrics are you responsible for?”

Once you’ve determined how much of a decision-maker the prospect is, you want to find out what part of the company they’re responsible for managing.

The company may have large, overarching objectives, but this particular prospect may have different smaller objectives and metrics they oversee.

If you understand what helps them improve their performance, you can better understand how to serve them.

4. “What are your primary duties and tasks?” 

This helps you align your sales pitch to match the requirements of the prospect’s role. After question 3, you’ll understand what metrics they want to improve. 

But now, you’ll understand their duties to help them optimize their day-to-day activities to get their job done better.

5. “Can you tell me about your business goals and objectives?” 

This is a fundamental sales discovery question that helps you pinpoint the prospect's business needs. For example, you can identify if they’re looking to streamline their operations or if they are looking for a way to cut down costs. 

The open-endedness of this question keeps the conversation moving forward while not appearing too pushy. 

6. “What is your timeline to achieve these objectives?” 

This helps you determine if your product implementation matches their timeline needs. 

7. “What is the biggest challenge you are trying to solve?” 

This question encourages the prospect to describe the troubles they are facing with their current solution. Try to get as specific as possible and drill down to identify the core of the problem. 

For example, if a prospect says they’re suffering from stagnant revenues, keep the conversation flowing by asking them if they’re struggling to manage the sales pipeline efficiently. The information they provide helps you position your solution to help them solve their problems. 

8 .“How is this problem preventing your company from achieving your goals?”

This is where you’ll dive right into the heart of their problems. It’s one thing to ask what challenges they’re facing. It’s another to dive deeper into how it’s preventing them from getting where they need to be.

This question allows the prospect to go deeper.

9. “What is your top priority?”

This is another way to address their problems and what they really want. They may have 2-3 challenges they’re trying to overcome. But there’s likely one that stands above the rest in importance. You’re using this question to ask what the number one issue is.

10. “Why is it a priority right now?”

Here, you’re simply diving deeper into their pain points in urgency to solve this problem. This is where you’ll see how urgent this problem is and how much of a need they have for your products or services.

11. “Why hasn’t this problem been addressed before?”

Here, you’ll address any roadblocks to solving this problem. You’ll also find issues in how they potentially weren’t using the right solution to solve their problem (making way for your solution).

12. “What happens if these problems go unresolved?”

This qualifying question is the climax of the discovery call, and it sets up a “what-if” scenario that urges the prospect to make the right decision. By discussing what happens if the problem is unresolved, you highlight the risks involved and underscore the roadblocks they face. This is a great way to make the prospect take the right action by considering your product or service. 

The answer provided by the prospect for this question helps you nail their pain points, which you can highlight in your final sales pitch. 

Addressing doubts

13. “What have you lost/stand to lose if you didn’t do anything and kept the process the same?” 

Here, you’re going to start diving into deep emotional problems. You’re going to tug on the pain of the problem not being solved, and you’re going to get the prospect to start to picture what life will be like if they don’t make a change.

14. “What do you think could be a potential solution?”

Here’s where your prospect will start telling you whether your product or service will be their solution. After this question, you could close them depending on how they answer. If they aren’t directly stating your product or service is the answer, you still need to overcome some doubts.

15. “If we can suggest the right solution for your problem, what will it take for you to adopt it?” 

This is an excellent discovery question that gives you three crucial pieces of information. 

First, it helps you identify the steps you have to go through before closing the deal. Who needs to approve the deal? Who are the decision-makers? Which departments are involved in the decision-making process? Is it a team decision, or is the approval determined by one person? 

You can use this info to alter your sales pitch and determine the timeline for deal closure. 

Second, it reinforces that your product can solve their problem, making it easier for them to say “yes” to the deal. 

Finally, notice the usage of words like “we” and “you.” This builds a good rapport with the prospect and convinces them that you and the buyer are on the same team. It shifts your role from a seller to a consultant, helping you win the trust and loyalty of the prospect. 

16. “What would a successful outcome look like?”

Here’s where you’re entering the prospect’s dream state. This is a great way to turn the tables on questions 12 and 13, where you get them to talk about what happens if nothing changes. Now, you’re talking about the positive outcome of the problem being solved.

17. “If you don’t find a solution, do you have a plan to address this problem?”

This is another way to bring up the importance of the problem being solved. This will show how much doubt or faith they have in your solution as the answer to their problem.

18. “What are your primary roadblocks to implementing this plan?”


19. “What’s your timeline to implement a solution?”

Here, you’ll also see how urgently they need this problem solved. If they say something like 3-6 months, you’re unlikely to close them in the near future. If they suggest they need it solved immediately or in the coming days/weeks, then it’s a positive in the qualification process.

20.“What is your budget?”

This is where you get down to the nitty-gritty. Discussing monetary terms on a sales call requires finesse. During this stage, don’t try to get exact figures. Instead, look for ballpark figures to decide whether the project is a go or a non-starter. 

21. “How can I make this easier for you?” 

This is a great final question that makes it easy for the prospective buyer to ask any further questions or clarifications. Plus, it’s a great way to finish the call on a friendly note while continuing to build rapport.”

Establishing next steps

22. “Who else will be involved in choosing a vendor?”

Here’s where you’ll find out what other decision-makers to contact. If they say there are others, you need to get their contact information and follow up with them. 

23. “How will this solution make your life better?”

Here, you’re going to push to close them once again by asking the prospect how your solution will make their company and their own life better. You could potentially close them right after this.

24. “Can I follow up with you on a date/time?”

If you sense the prospect is still a maybe or isn’t ready to buy immediately, you need to push for another call or in-person meeting.

Just because someone isn’t ready to buy today doesn’t mean they won’t ever buy. Take the reins and set a date to meet again. Don’t set this meeting for weeks later. Do it a few days later.

25. “When do you want to start?”

If you sense that a prospect is ready to buy immediately, you need to push for the sale. Sometimes, you won’t be 100% sure if they’re ready. This question will help clear that up quickly.

If you get anything but a positive response, it doesn’t mean it’s game over. Just address any other objections and qualify more by circling back to the questions above.

Mistakes to avoid on a sales discovery call

If you want your sales call to end well, you must ensure you follow best practices. Here are a few mistakes you should avoid to close more deals:

  • Approaching a prospect without doing your homework: Never do this. Review the company website, read up about the board members, check their LinkedIn pages, and follow company news so that you’re not caught on the wrong foot on the first call. Go through your CRM data and previous customer call recordings to review any information they have already shared with your team. This helps you prepare ahead for the call and highlights your professionalism to the prospect. 
  • Not setting the meeting’s tone and purpose upfront: Let the customer know that you’re looking to schedule a discovery call at their convenience. Explain that you’ll be asking a few questions and the reason for those questions. 
  • Staying inflexible: Most sales reps try to steer the conversation according to a plan they have in mind. But, sometimes, prospects might want to discuss something out of the blue. So, you’ve got to be nimble and follow the conversation where it leads instead of making it feel forced. 
  • Trying hard to sell: The idea behind a sales discovery call is to know more about the prospect and NOT to sell. So, engage genuinely with the buyer to discover their pain points, their objectives, and finally, to help them find the right solution. 
  • Not listening to the prospect: It’s natural to want to impress the prospect with the best features of your product or service. In a discovery call, you need to balance the listening with the talking to establish a rapport with the prospect. Instead of talking over the client, listen for crucial insights and information that you can use later in the sales cycle. 
  • Switching to a product demo in the middle of the sales discovery call: Remember, this call is about gathering the right information and not pitching your product or service. During the discovery call, you need to take a consultative approach and not a sales approach.

Close more deals with Clari Copilot

Want to close more sales calls?

Then, you’ve got to train your sales team to ask the right discovery questions.

This is where Clari Copilot comes into the picture. 

We make it easy to record customer calls and help sales leaders and marketing managers train and coach their teams on the right questions to ask. We provide you with a crystal clear picture of what’s happening on your sales calls, helping you take proactive action, thereby helping you win clients’ trust and close deals.

Clari Copilot helps your sales team take the right actions at every step of the sales process that leads to winning outcomes.

Get started today.