How To Host A Discovery Call [Qualify Leads With Ease]

Shocking research reveals that 50% of prospects might not be a good fit for your business. So, how do you filter through those that are quality leads, and those that aren’t worth your time?

This is where discovery calls come in. 

A sale discovery call is the first conversation between the prospect and the service provider (you). It aims to identify if the prospect is genuinely going to buy from you.

If you host discovery calls without preparation, you may lose the sale. 

A well-prepared discovery call, on the other hand, can qualify more ideal prospects, to eventually make your company more money.

This extensive guide includes several discovery call tricks to help you optimize your sales process. Also, you’ll learn what not to do in your discovery calls, and we’ll share some successful discovery call scripts that are proven to work.

What Is A Discovery Call?

Discovery call, as the name suggests, is your opportunity to discover more about the prospect and qualify them if they’re going to buy your services. The idea is to get more details from the prospect and understand their perspective.

A discovery call helps you set the right course for how this lead will interact with your business (buy a course, sign up as a client, etc.).

What questions to include in a discovery call:

  • Ask about their struggles and the future they want to move toward
  • Get their perspective on the problem and understand what they have already tried to do to solve their issue
  • Question(s) to figure out if they can afford your services
  • Their near future and long-term goals.

When Should You Do a Discovery Call?

One common example of when discovery calls are made is when a prospect completes a lead form. Discovery calls are often the next step in the process. They will either book a call directly after filling out the form, or the form goes to an advisor to qualify whether the person is right to have a discovery call with, based on their answers.

Only some prospects will buy from you. Many people who complete a lead form will not be suited to your business as a potential customer/client. For this reason, you shouldn’t be mad-calling every prospect.

Knowing when to host discovery calls is about finding the right balance. The decision can differ from company to company. But ideally, before hopping on a sales discovery call, you should have a qualifying form with a questionnaire whose responses will help you make this informed decision.

One of the best discovery call tricks to help you qualify leads: The 0-5 Formula.

0-5 Formula For How To Filter Sales Discovery Call Bookings

This formula can help you be more efficient in the qualification process. You’ll save hours of wasteful time that you’d have otherwise spent on low-value or cold leads.

For example, only some prospects can afford your premium services. So, you shouldn’t do a discovery call with a low-ticket call.

Based on the answers to the lead form, give a number rating. Here’s what we do at Scaling With Systems:

  • 0 to 1 Rating: This prospect is not the ideal customer. You should leave them be and cancel their booked appointment if there’s any.
  • 2 to 3 Rating: This is the middle situation where the prospect can be a good fit, but you’re unsure about it. Discovery calls in these types of cases fit perfectly. 
  • 4 to 5 Rating: This prospect is a warm lead and can easily convert. You should host a discovery call if you need more information. But remember to not put too much friction to these types of prospects. There can be slippage, and they may feel like it’s “too many appointments.” Additionally, you can directly send a proposal after a short sale discovery call.

How Long Should a Discovery Call Be?

A buyer’s journey differs from what it used to be before the information age. Attention and time are two of the most precious assets for you and your clients. To save those assets, ensure you don’t over-stretch or under-stretch your discovery calls.

But how do you decide how long a discovery call should be? The truth is, it depends. Consider the following to determine the length of a discovery call:

  • What’s the rating of the prospect on the 0-5 Formula?
  • Do they seem like a warmed-up lead?
  • Have they come from referrals?
  • Have you done the research on the prospect?
  • What questions need to be answered for a proposal to be created?

There are discovery calls that can go from 15 minutes to about an hour long. Some say, “your discovery call should be at least X minutes long.” 

But don’t listen to them. Instead, sit back and brainstorm what your typical agenda for a discovery call might look like. And when you do the brainstorming, remember your prospects’ time is essential, and you’re there to make the process easier.

Generally, most calls should be at least 15 minutes long. It’s more than enough time to get to know the prospect and set the right course for sales reps to take further.

Discovery Call Scripts 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Will Durant.

The most successful business owners in the world consistently show up for their mission and work. The calmest people still practice mindfulness and meditation.

Even if you have a great discovery call process, you should create and update discovery call scripts. Being well prepared also helps sales people to feel more confident and, therefore, likely to perform their best.

Another point to note is that your services and products will likely evolve (if you’re focused on business expansion) and therefore, the discovery call scripts would also evolve along with them.

A discovery script contains questions or prompts you’ll be asking the prospect. The goal is to understand your prospects’ pain points and goals more clearly.

Discovery call script question examples:

  • Please briefly describe the issues you’re facing in your business.
  • How have you attempted to solve this problem already?
  • What does success look like to you?
  • In what ways do you already know you need support?

Notice how none of the prompts or questions has a Yes/No type of answer. Don’t ask questions that can be answered in one word. Ask open-ended questions during a sale discovery call.

How to Handle Issues During a Discovery Call

Problems are bound to happen. Especially if you’re new to this. There’s nothing to freak out though — it’s a part of the process and gives you information to optimize your process.

Some potential reasons for discovery call issues:

  • You stretched the discovery call too long
  • You’re speaking more than your prospect
  • You’re complicating the process of getting the next appointment or demonstration session
  • You didn’t show empathy
  • You overload them with too much information.

Valuable tips for handling problems that may arise as you host discovery calls:

  1. Prepare before the call. Don’t just jump into it without initial research or a discovery script.
  2. Anticipate the answers and questions that may arise during the call. To be safe, brainstorm the possible answers to those questions as well.
  3. Layout the premise and set the agenda at the start of the call. It helps in setting the right expectations.
  4. Stay mindful and focused on what the prospect is saying.
  5. Acknowledge their problems and show genuine empathy for their situation to suggest a viable solution if it needs to be.
  6. Record the calls or take notes to assess them later. It’ll also help you to handle objections better in your further calls.

How To Conduct A Discovery Call? 6 Key Steps To Make A Successful Discovery Call

Here are some insider tips on how to run a discovery call for a successful experience for both your prospect and your sales team. 

1. Set Intentions

Lay out the intention of the call right after you build rapport so you and the prospect have a roadmap of the discussion.

Setting intentions will also give the prospect an opportunity to decide if this call is meant for them. Here’s an example:

“Hi Bob, this is Ravi Abuvala from Scaling With Systems. I’ve received your application, and it seems we can help you take your business to the next level. Thanks for booking the call. There are a few questions I’d love to ask to understand your situation better. Is now still a good time to go over these details to decide if working together is the right fit?”

2. Rapport Building

The idea is to create a mutual understanding or affinity with the prospect. People buy products and services if they feel connected somehow.

But here’s the kicker: You should keep your rapport-building to less than a minute.

One of the easiest ways to create rapport is to ask about the person’s location.


  • You: “John, where are you calling from?”
  • Prospect: “Oh, I am calling from Atlanta.”
  • You: “Oh nice, I actually went to college there.”
  • Prospect: “Oh, what a coincidence. This is my hometown.”
  • You: “Interesting! Alright, John, I’m looking forward to hearing about what your needs are.”

3. Use Probing or Pain Phrases

The primary goal of this step in a discovery call is to identify the prospect’s pain point and decide if you have the solution for it. Here’s how you do it:

Identify the problem by asking questions

At Scaling With Systems, we use the following questions to identify the problems of our prospects:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What’s your primary lead generation source?
  • How many new leads are you getting a month?
  • How many newly booked appointments you’re getting a month?
  • What’s your show-up rate?
  • What’s your average cash per closed rate?
  • What’s your dollar per salesperson?
  • What’s your dollar per lead?

How big is the pain point?

Based on the answers to the above questions, you can decide whether their pain point is big enough for you to solve and make good enough money. 

This also allows them to be more aware of their pain points and reminds them what they really need practical help with. 

4. Explore the Desired Future of the Prospects

In this step, paint a future picture for your prospect and use it as leverage in your discovery call. Here you can use storytelling or a narrative of past clients to show your business authority.

Ask the prospect where they see their business in the next few months and find ways to relate to this desired outcome and show the potential for it to come true. Only do so, of course, if you really can help them achieve this. Businesses with bad moral compasses will use the desired futures to make bold promises that they don’t deliver on. 

5. Decide on the Financial Qualification

This is one of the most crucial steps of the entire discovery call. You need to financially qualify the prospect to ensure they can afford your services. It’s better to be direct here and ask these two critical questions to prospects:

  1. Assuming that we can guarantee results, do you have $8k – $15k to invest in your business growth?
  2. Are you the sole decision maker in this company, or is there somebody else we need to get on this demonstration call to ensure everybody’s aligned?

In the first question, always insert the amount range based on your company. Give a specific amount. 

The second question will urge them to involve any decision-maker in the process. Consequently, you’ll be able to demonstrate all the decision-makers and are more likely to close the deal.

6. Wrap Up the Call with Clarity

The last step of a discovery call is to set up the next meeting and wrap it up. You can change your wording based on whether the lead is inbound or outbound. Be clear on what they can expect in these next steps (follow-up email, proposal, onboarding form, another call, etc.)

How To Host a Discovery Call: FAQs

How Do You Conduct A Discovery Call?

There are 7 steps to conducting a discovery call: rapport building, setting intentions, probing, decision making, painting the future, financial qualification, and wrapping up the call.

How Do You Structure A Discovery Meeting?

To properly structure a discovery meeting, have a discovery call checklist and know what you want to ask and the answers that will help qualify the lead. Prepare discovery call scripts, ensure the entire team uses them, and then go for it.

How Many Questions Should You Ask In A Discovery Call?

There’s no definite answer to this question. But you should never probe too much into details in a discovery call. A general rule is to avoid asking any question you don’t need to ask during the first conversation.

What Are The Key Parts Of A Good Discovery Session?

A good discovery session is short, acknowledges the pain points, paints the future, and promises the results. Also, it makes the sales process even easier by only sending qualifying leads to sales reps.


Now that you know all the intricacies of discovery calls, you’re one step closer to making your business process smoother. 

Remember, you’re a service solving other business problems. So don’t overcomplicate their situation. Use the steps described in this post to create a discovery script and start closing deals.

And in case you need help, we’re here.

We work with businesses to experience rapid growth and skyrocket their profit through strategic client acquisition. Our team here at Scaling With Systems works with you personally to develop a profitable client acquisition system.If you’re serious about growing your business, book a free consultation call, and our advisors will get back to you.

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