Mastering the Discovery Call - Part 2

In Mastering the Discovery Call - Part 1 we looked at 2 key parts of the sales process that most sales reps tend to miss, but can make a big impact when executing a successful Discovery Call.

This post is going to focus on how to ask good Discovery Questions that will help uncover the Dominant Buying Motive of the Buyer.

If we review the goals of the Discovery Call outlined in Part 1 - asking the right questions will help a sales rep with goals 3-6 listed below:

  1. Prove they’re trustworthy, reliable, and competent to the buyer.

  2. Demonstrate integrity and credibility to the buyer.

  3. Prove they’re empathetic to the buyer’s situation, pain, needs, desires and goals.

  4. Uncover the dominant buying motive that they can connect to their product.

  5. Determine who is part of the buying group making the decision.

  6. Determine timelines, budget and level of urgency.

  7. Uncover early objections or roadblocks.

  8. Set expectations and agree to next steps.

Remember, if your sales process has combined the Discovery Call and Product Demo into one step, make sure the sales rep asks Discovery Questions and uncovers the dominant buying motive first. This will ensure the sales rep can tailor their pitch and demo to the buyer’s situation and highlight how specific product features will address the buyers most pressing goals, pains and needs to create an emotional buying decision - more on why this is important later.

Discovery Call Process (2).png

The Dominant Buying Motive

There are three areas of interest good Discovery Questions will help a sales rep uncover about the buyer with the the Dominant Buying Motive being the most important. The three areas are as follows:

Primary Interest - What the buyer wants from using your product. Think benefits to their business like increased ROI, reduced costs, increased market share, etc.

Buying Criteria - This is the predetermined “must haves” the buyer has decided are required to purchase your product. In this case think budget, payment terms, specific product features, etc.

From my experience these are not absolutes and simply what the buyer “thinks” they need. If your product ticks all the criteria boxes - amazing - but this will rarely happen.

In cases where the buying criteria and product features do not match - understanding their buying criteria will help the sales rep understand where he/she needs to teach and challenge the buyer to think differently about their preconceived notions of what a potential solution looks like so your product can align.

Buyer objections often arise around buying criteria, which means providing the sales rep with objection handles will help them successfully navigate objections and determine what are the real “must have” criteria. Buyer comments like the ones below should be challenged by the sales rep to find out, how important they actually are to the buyer.

“My boss told me whatever product we go with must have XYZ....” or “We’re using X competitor already and they have X feature...:”

Dominant Buying Motive: The compelling emotional reason the buyer wants your product and usually relates to the individual buyer or buying group. Think admiration or recognition from colleagues, less personal stress, more time with their kids, etc.

As Shari Levitin outlines in here book Heart & Sell - emotions cause people to act. A sales presentation that generates deep, memorable, emotional experience - coupled with a product that fulfills your customers wants and needs creates emotional urgency.

As price of a product increases, the more emotional experience needs to be created during the sales pitch so the buyer understands the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change - Challenger Customer.

This is why uncovering the Dominant Buying Motive during the Discovery Call through powerful Discovery Questions is the most important step in any sales process that a sales rep must achieve.

So how do you do it?


Uncovering the Dominant Buying Motive

Utilizing a proven qualifying matrix is one of the easiest ways to start building strong Discovery Questions for a sales rep and sales team.

Below you’ll read about a qualifying matrix that Hubspot uses, which has been extremely helpful when creating Discovery Questions for Sales Knowledge Institute clients and a structure to help reveal the buyer’s  Primary Interest.

Once the sales rep has uncovered the primary goals and challenges, asking the buyer what they think/believe is the best way to reach their goals or resolve their challenges, is usually an easy way for them to learn more about the buyer Buying Criteria.

To dig deeper and find that emotional, Dominant Buying Motive, sales rep questions must then shift to focus on - YOU, the buyer - to find out what is most compelling to them personally.

Qualifying Matrix: GPCT (Goal, Plan, Challenges, Timeline) - Mark Roberg SVP of Sales Hubspot, Sales Acceleration Formula

Goal: Create Discovery Questions that reveal the business goals around, which the buyer’s company is rallying around. Once the sales rep has uncovered the company goals, they can ask questions like the ones below to find the buyer’s Dominant Buying Motive:

  • Why are those company goals important to you specifically?

  • Why do you personally need to accomplish those goals?

  • How does achieving those goals impact you and your role?

  • What does it mean for you if you miss/achieve those goals?

Plan: Create Discovery Questions that help the sales rep understand the buyer’s business plan to achieve the goals they’ve just outlined. Once the sales rep has details of the plan (Who, What, Where, When, Why) - they can ask questions like the ones below to dig deeper emotionally:

  • Why do you feel like this plan is the best course of action for you to take?

  • How will executing on this plan change your day to day?

  • What impact does executing a plan like this have on you personally?

Challenges: Create Discovery Questions that reveal the challenges the buyer is facing with implementing their business plan. Sales reps can then use questions like the ones below to reveal real, pressing, emotional pain the buyer might be feeling.

Remember change is hard and most buyers prefer keeping the status quo, so the sales rep needs to find out what’s keeping the buyer up at night and then use that information to help the buyer understand the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain to change during the product demo.

  • How do these challenges affect you specifically in your role?

  • What are you doing to relieve some of the stress and pressure associated with these challenges?

  • What would you like us to be able to do, that would  help you the most?

  • Why do these challenges impact you the most in the company?

  • What happens if you can’t resolve these challenges?

Timeline: Finally, use Discovery Questions to uncover the date by which the buyer needs to achieve their goal to help the sales rep create emotional urgency throughout their product demo. Asking the following questions can help the sales rep accelerate the buyer through the sales process in the future, by leaning on this information if momentum declines or purchase decisions become stalled.

  • On a scale of 1-10, how important is it for you to have a solution in place by X date? Why did you choose X?

  • What type of stress does this deadline put on your day to day?

  • How much support do you already have internally for a timeline like that?

Providing a matrix like GPCT and structured questions to your sales reps will help ensure they successfully qualify every buyer they speak with and capture enough information to deliver a compelling, targeted and emotional experience during the product demo.

As a side note - one other matrix worth checking out is Trish Bertuzzi’s PACT, which stands for Problem, Authority, Consequence and Target Profile. Both matrices are effective and I simply prefer GPCT.

Next Steps

Discovery Calls are a crucial part of any sales process, because the information that is gathered builds the foundation for a compelling sales pitch going forward. Implementing some of the strategies outlined in this two part series should level-up your sales team’s ability to execute them successfully on a consistent basis.

As always - if you need help with your Discovery Calls or any part of the sales process you can schedule a 1 hour free consultation with Sales Knowledge Institute here and we can create something to help your team effectively close more business.

Check out Mastering the Discovery Call Part 1 here (in case you missed it) and you can always send me an email at if there is specific sales challenge you need help with.

Achieve Your Sales Target Through Optimal Mental Health

Achieve Your Sales Target Through Optimal Mental Health

Mastering the Discovery Call - Part 1

Mastering the Discovery Call - Part 1