Sales Discovery Meeting Blueprint: 7 Steps to Enhance Client Relationships

A sales discovery meeting can be the gateway to a long and happy relationship with a new customer.

But only if you do it right.

You might be tempted to stick to your script and ask questions like a robot, but guess what? That's going to backfire and send your prospect running.

The solution? In a word, balance.

Sure, you need a script to keep you on track during your meeting, just like you would on a sales call. And, of course, you need to ask questions to determine whether your prospect is a perfect match for your product.

But how do you turn discovery meetings into relationship-building opportunities? How do you prepare for a discovery meeting? And what’s the best discovery meeting agenda?

Stay with me, and I’ll share our best tips for a truly productive discovery meeting.

What is a Sales Discovery Meeting + Why is it Important?

A sales discovery meeting is the first meeting you have with a prospect. It provides you the opportunity to understand their needs, challenges, and goals. Discovery meetings may be integrated into your product demo, sales pitch, in a physical meeting, or over the phone.

That's the beauty of modern sales. Discovery meetings don’t have to be a separate event. Instead, you can seamlessly incorporate them into your existing sales process.

Now, why should you care about sales discovery meetings? Simple: They're the backbone of a successful sales process.

Here's why they matter:

  • Build rapport: Discovery meetings are your chance to connect with the prospect, create trust, and show them you're the real deal. This connection makes it easier for them to open up about their pain points.
  • Understand customer needs: Ask the right questions, and you'll uncover what's keeping your prospect up at night. This information is gold when it comes to explaining why your solution is the answer to their problems.
  • Customize your sales approach: Once you learn more about your prospect, you can choose a sales methodology suited best to their needs. Value-based selling and consultative selling are two popular approaches.
  • Qualify prospects: Let's face it—not everyone is a perfect fit for your product or service. The sales discovery process helps you figure out if a prospect's needs match your offerings.
  • Increase close rates: When you understand your prospect's needs inside and out, you can position your product or service as their dream solution. The result? Higher close rates.

How to Prepare for a Sales Discovery Meeting

When it comes to heading a successful sales discovery call or meeting, preparation is key.

If you aren’t prepared, you likely won’t ask the right questions or achieve your desired outcome. It’s pretty easy to tell when a sales rep is flying off the cuff. And that's a surefire way to lose credibility with your prospect.

So, here’s what you can do to ensure you're prepared:

  • Research your prospect: Do your homework! Dive into your prospect's company, industry, and competitors—LinkedIn is great for this.
  • Set meeting goals: Define your objectives for the discovery meeting. Are you looking to qualify the prospect? Identify their key decision-makers? Or uncover their biggest challenge? Maybe it’s a combination of all three. Regardless, identify your goals, order them by priority, and aim to accomplish them throughout the meeting.
  • Communicate expectations: Make sure your prospect knows what to expect from the meeting. Share the purpose, how long it will last, and any information they should prepare in advance.
  • Craft an agenda: Develop a clear and concise agenda outlining the sales meeting flow (we’ll show you how in the next section). Include a list of open-ended discovery call questions to ask throughout the meeting.
  • Know your value proposition: Be ready to speak to your product or service's unique value proposition. Understand how it solves your prospect's problems and how it stands out from the competition.

Planning ahead will help you appear professional while also showing the prospect that you are genuine about meeting their needs.

How to Run a Sales Discovery Meeting: 7-Step Discovery Meeting Agenda Template

All meetings should have structure, but a clear discovery meeting agenda is even more important.


Because this prospect agreed to give you 15 or 30 minutes of their valuable time. They need to see what you’re offering and whether or not it’s the right fit for them.

Productive discovery meetings do not happen by chance. They are the product of good preparation and a clear agenda that can be followed.

So, what should a discovery meeting agenda look like?

Here’s an example of an agenda that works:

Sales Discovery Meeting Agenda Template

Why does this setup work? Let’s take it step-by-step:

1. Build Common Ground

But wait, didn’t we just say that we don’t want to waste the prospect’s time? After all, discovery meetings are short, and there’s a lot of ground to cover here.

True, but hear me out on this.

Think of your discovery meeting as the first date with your potential customer. It’s the beginning of a relationship; it’s probably a little awkward, and someone has to break the ice.

Taking just two or three minutes at the beginning of your meeting to get to know the person you’re selling to tells them that you’re not just there for the bottom line: You’re there to develop a relationship that’s built to last.

Not only that but when you have a clearer understanding of this person and their life, you’ll be in a better position to build your sales pitch around what really matters to them individually. Then, whether they’re a decision maker, a stakeholder, or an internal champion of your product, they’ll be more likely to be on your side at the end of the sales cycle.

2. Discuss Common Industry Pain Points

Instead of diving directly into your questions, start with a discussion about the pain points you’ve seen with other prospects and customers in this industry. Opening the conversation like this accomplishes at least four things:

  • Allows you to transition smoothly into the business side of the conversation without bursting in with questions
  • Shows the prospect you get their situation and their industry
  • Gives you insight into their needs and wants
  • Teases some use cases of your product

Use insights gathered from conversations with other prospects and your own research on this prospect to discuss the state of their industry and the problems they’re currently facing. Guide this conversation with the right questions that lead them to your solution.

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions to Discover Their Pain Points

Open-ended questions offer two main benefits:

  • They give your prospect space to talk
  • They help you build trust and establish authority

But not all sales questions are created equal. True sales professionals know the importance of naturally asking relevant questions that relate to what a prospect just said.

To uncover your prospect's pain points, focus on asking open-ended sales questions in these three key areas:

  • Discover the "why:" Most likely, your product has multiple use cases. When you know from the get-go which use case applies to this prospect’s needs, you can create a sales pitch that fits their business. Example questions include:
  • What compelled you to take my call today?
  • What about my message made you want to book this discovery meeting?
  • What convinced you to fill out that form on our website?
  • Customer profile match questions: Determine if the prospect fits your ideal customer profile, and gather information about their company, goals, and challenges. If your sales team uses multiple customer profiles, these questions can help you fit the prospect into the profile that best describes their situation and needs. Example questions include:
  • How many people are there in your company (or on a specific team)?
  • Who is your main customer base?
  • What are your company’s goals for this quarter/year?
  • What objectives do you hope our product will help you achieve?
  • How have recent industry trends and world events affected your business/team?
  • Questions to dig deeper: While asking surface questions like the ones above is important, you’ll also want to sprinkle a few questions into the conversation to help you see what’s happening beneath the surface. Most of the time, these questions start like this:
  • Walk me through how your team handles [specific task or process]...
  • What’s your typical workflow for [accomplishing a specific task]?
  • Tell me more about…

Remember that the purpose of these questions is not simply to make it through "the list."

Seriously, people hate that.

Sales Discovery Meeting Blueprint - Ask Open-ended Questions

Instead, think of these questions as a vital step for sales development to get to know the person and their individual needs, as well as the company’s needs.

4. Actively Listen and Respond

If you're not actively listening, you're just talking at your prospect instead of with them. And if one thing is for sure: sales is a two-way street.

So, what do you need to do? Simple: Treat your discovery call like a well-guided conversation. Respond with more than just an “Uhuh” as you ask questions.

Engage with them. Follow up with a meaningful response or a thoughtful question when they answer. Show them that you're not just there to sell, you're there to solve their problems.

Here are a few active listening techniques you can try:

  • Repeat-Paraphrase: Show your understanding by repeating the prospect's points in your own words
  • Feel, Felt, Found: Address concerns by acknowledging how the prospect feels, explain that others have felt the same way, and share how they found your solution beneficial
  • Summarize: Periodically summarize the conversation to confirm understanding and clear up any miscommunication

5. Share a Compelling Discovery Deck

B2B sales decks can be either highly valuable or very boring. There really is no in-between.


To make sure your discovery meeting sales deck keeps the prospect engaged, follow these best practices:

  • Keep it laser-focused on what truly matters: Forget about listing every feature—instead, zone in on your product's clear, tangible benefits.
  • Tell a relatable story: Your prospects may be the main characters of their story, but your product should be the hero. Using a narrative is a proven tactic to engage your audience and keep them interested in what you’re saying.
  • Take your prospects on a journey of self-discovery: Discovery isn't just about you figuring out if the prospect is the right fit. It's also about them discovering if your product is what they’re looking for. To make this happen, spread discovery questions throughout the call rather than dumping them all at the beginning. Research from Gong shows this distribution separates top performers from average salespeople.
  • Tease your product: During the discovery meeting, your prospects just need to know enough about your product to keep them intrigued and moving forward. So, focus on teasing them with a sneak peek of the benefits they can expect once they start using your solution.

6. Discuss Potential Objections

Sales objections aren't roadblocks; they're opportunities.

So, invite any questions or concerns your prospect may have about your solution. Embrace them. And address them head-on. Whether it’s related to pricing, implementation, competitors, etc.

Consider putting together talk tracks for questions that come up time and time again. This will allow you to immediately provide a clear and compelling response.

7. Set Clear Next Steps Before the End of the Meeting

The last step in your discovery meeting agenda should be setting up the next steps. Never leave a meeting without being 100 percent certain when you’ll talk to this prospect again.

As you talk about next steps, make sure to sell the value of the next meeting or demo, rather than just schedule it. Help them understand how this next step will benefit them, and they’ll be more likely to show up.

Also, before you close, make sure to ask who else should be in the next meeting or demo. Then, either get them to check the schedule on the call or send your Calendly link so that the meeting fits both this prospect's and the other stakeholders’ schedules.

After the Discovery Meeting: Tips to Follow-up

Congratulations, you’ve completed your discovery meeting! But your work isn’t over yet. It's time to keep the momentum going.

Here's the game plan for what to do next:

Review Meeting Outcomes and Next Steps

First things first, let's get a clear picture of what happened during the call. You want to review the call recording, analyze the conversation, and identify key insights. Use your CRM to listen back to the call and make sure you truly understand your potential customers.

If you want to go deeper, use a conversation intelligence tool, like Chorus or Convin, to gauge sentiment and learn more about your prospect's mindset. This is your chance to really dig deep and understand their needs so you can come up with a plan.

Send a Thank-you Note

Who doesn't appreciate a heartfelt "thank you?"

Show your prospect some love with a thoughtful thank-you note after the meeting. But don't just type out a generic message like “I really appreciate you taking the time… blah blah blah”—make it meaningful.

Recap the key takeaways from the call, remind them of the benefits your product offers, and reinforce your commitment to helping them succeed.

And, of course, outline the next steps to keep things moving forward. Make it personal, make it genuine, and make it count.

Keep Following up until the Close

A prospect who's willing to sit through a discovery meeting is interested in what you've got to offer.

So, don't just sit back and hope for the best—keep following up!

Persistence is key. Keep the conversation going, nurture the relationship, and be there to address any concerns they might have.

Keep following up until you get a clear "yes" or "no."

Master the Sales Discovery Meeting to Build Trust and Close More Deals

A successful discovery meeting hinges on your ability to balance preparation and spontaneity.

Do your homework and come prepared with a clear agenda and quality open-ended questions. At the same time, be adaptable and ready to pivot the conversation based on your prospect's responses.

Your first call or meeting with a prospect can be daunting. But try to approach it with confidence, empathy, and a commitment to providing unmatched value. If you do this, you'll stand a better chance of impressing your prospects and sealing the deal.

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