The Ultimate Guide to Having a Discovery Meeting

Discovery meetings are an important part of the sales process. The ability to run discovery meetings well is one of the most valuable skills a rep can have.

We will discuss how to create an discovery session agenda, the key points you need to make during your discovery meeting and closing out of a meeting. This way, when it comes time for another appointment with this person or company there is no question that they want more.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

Table of Contents

  • What is a Discovery Meeting?
  • When meeting with a client, it is important to go over any notes you have taken on them and their business. You should also confirm what time the meeting will take place so that both parties are prepared.
  • The discovery meeting is the first step in establishing a successful business relationship. You should cover what you do, how it works and why people will want to buy from you.
  • The discovery meeting is the first step in getting to know your client. It helps you establish a relationship with them, which will help ensure they are successful at their new company.
  • When you are opening a discovery meeting, it is important to get the client’s information and start exploring their business goals.
  • What is ILPA?
  • The ILPA has been around for a long time and they have always been dedicated to the ethics of advertising. They focus on how ads affect people, what is being advertised, who sees it, and where does it show up.
  • If you find yourself sitting in a discovery meeting and not knowing what to do next, ask the other person about their goals. This will help both of you determine whether or not there is potential for collaboration.

What does Discovery Meeting means?

A discovery meeting is an initial discussion with a prospect to figure out what they need and how your product can meet their needs. You’ll usually start by asking questions about the person’s business, which will help you understand where your products would be most useful.

What You Should Do Prior To A Discovery Meeting

When you call a prospect, the successful meeting starts before picking up the phone. The three things to do are research your potential client’s business and make an introduction meeting agenda for what is going to be discussed during this first conversation.

When there is no agenda, it indicates that you are unconcerned.

It’s important to have an agenda, because if people are not aware of what the meeting is about they will likely think that there is no plan in place and be less inclined to attend.

When you create a thoughtful agenda for every meeting with prospects, it communicates that you are serious about the appointment and is not going to waste their time.

For salespeople, the practice of creating an prospect meeting agenda for every meeting allows them to clearly think and articulate what they want from a meeting. The idea is that by planning ahead with the prospect, it will help move things along in their process.

Preparation for a meeting is made easier with the help of this strategy, which also serves as an easy reminder to yourself on where you are in the sales process.

I always make sure to add an first sales meeting agenda as soon as I create the meeting invite, so that it doesnt get lost in all of my other tasks.

Heres a sample discovery session agenda for the first meeting:

  • Introductions
  • It is important to know what you want and the goals that your company has before making any decisions.
  • I was wrong to assume that pay, commissions and bonuses would be enough. We have come up with a new approach for managing work called the “good-better-best” system. The good level of performance is given some autonomy but has more stringent expectations on them than those in the best category. The better performers are incentivized by increased flexibility while also being held accountable to higher standards. Finally, employees who meet or exceed our benchmarks receive extra benefits like getting an office outside their home
  • Demo of our product
  • Next steps as applicable

In this article, the author discusses five points that you can use to convince your prospect. These points are:

  • Prepare to answer questions about your company and what it can offer them.
  • One of the most important aspects to focus on when you’re hiring salespeople is their ability to work in a high-pressure environment. You need them to be relaxed and have clarity about your business or product.
  • If the prospect likes what they see, it is best to ask them if there are any other questions or concerns before you proceed.

Agendas are a very effective way to keep people on track and show them how their input is important. Once you make the commitment, it will become easier to implement agendas in meetings with your employees or external customers.

You have your first sales team meeting agenda and you know the client, so now it’s time to go into that meeting.

What Topics Should Be Discussed During A Discovery Meeting?

Discovery meetings have a natural anatomy. If you adhere to this every time, then the odds of closing deals will increase.

The approach I have outlined above is basically the same as this article.

All meetings should have the following five major components:1. A well-defined objective or goal 2. The meetings schedule and agenda for participants to follow along with time limitsspecific action items to be completed by each participant at their respective times during the meeting 3. Key topics that will need discussion, including who is responsible for leading these discussions and what information needs presenting on this topic(s) (usually a PowerPoint presentation where appropriate). These presentations can take place before, after lunch if it lasts more than an hour break in between sessions), or as needed throughout the day depending on how much detail is required. 4. Appropriate breaks so people don’t get tired of sitting all day long without moving around – also good ways of changing up energy levels within group members

1) Rapport building2) Meeting opening3) Questioning (discovery or deeper level questions)4) Demo/presentation/discussion of what you are selling5) Meeting closing

Every detail in the sales process is important, and it all has one goal: control. When your prospect feels like you are in charge of whats happening, they don’t feel as if they need to take over.

Why Should This Discovery Meeting Structure Be Followed?

Setting up a meeting and controlling the high level meeting agenda is not just about getting your prospects to come. It also sends important messages.

1) You know what youre doing.2) They can feel comfortable letting you lead the discussion.3) They can relax and listen to your message.4) They dont have to worry that you will embarrass them in front of their colleagues they might bring into future meetings.5) It gives them an understanding of how all other meetings will be conducted.

When a prospect immediately jumps in and tries to take control, it is usually because they do not want their colleagues or superiors to think that they are incompetent. They may also be insecure about whether you have full knowledge of the product.

Building a relationship with your prospect is the first step to easing their anxiety, which will put you in an advantageous position for leading the meeting and closing on them.

People prefer to have someone else take the lead rather than do it themselves.

How To Begin A Discovery Meeting

When I was at Experian, our sales trainer Ed Wal introduced me to the idea of a meeting opening. He taught us how to quickly and easily structure them with an acronym called “ITPAM.”

Check out Ed Wals book on Solution Selling

I believe that ILPA has replaced ITPAM as the most important body of knowledge for salespeople.

ILPA means…

I use this structure for every meeting. Once youve earned your first, it becomes easier to prepare in advance by writing out the script before hand with a specific purpose and underlying message behind each component of ILPA. We follow these guidelines and discovery meeting template as follows:

1) Introduction

Last time we spoke, I mentioned that our sourcing SDR team was not doing a good job. We’ve made some changes and want to hear from you how it’s going.

3) Purpose

4) Agenda

I want to share an example of discovery session template.

1) Introduction

I have the opportunity to connect with people in different industries and help them grow their business. I work primarily with large companies that are tasked with achieving ambitious goals, but often lack resources or time.

I am here to help you understand what your marketing and business goals are. After that, we can figure out whether our project management software will be the best option for reaching those goals.

2) Last time we spoke

You mentioned to Jake that you are interested in

I have also done additional research on project management and collaboration software.

I’m not sure what to share about Wrike because I don’t know enough. But based on my research, here are some questions that will help me decide how much detail is necessary.

3) Purpose

The purpose of todays meeting is to provide you with a general overview of our company.

4) Agenda

I want to start by asking you a few questions and then Ill give you an overview of the company.

When we meet, I will let you know if this is worth exploring further and provide a recommendation for next steps. We may also decide that it’s not worthwhile or there isn’t a good fit between us so in the end we part ways.

Ive compiled a rough business development meeting agenda for today’s call, if that works for you.

The script sounds different from one AE to the next, but there is always a similar structure. The first meeting might be about what you can do for them and last meetings may ask how they’re going to take care of your needs.

Decoding the ILPA’s Purpose and Message

Now that we know what an ILPA sounds like, the next thing to understand is its intent and message.

ILPA is a great way to guide your prospect in the right direction because it contains components that will make them more likely to take action.

Lets break down the prospect meeting agenda template.

1) Introduction

Introducing yourself with your name and title is not always necessary.

When you introduce yourself to a new prospect, the goal is not just to sell them on your company. The best way for prospects and potential customers alike to relate with you or any business is by introducing themselves as well.

Secondly, it is important to realize that our main goal as salespeople should be about helping companies. This means having a consultative selling approach and by doing so we are able to sell products or services.

Last but not least, the introduction of your email is a mirror for how they should introduce themselves. If you just say “Hi I am Emily and I work in advertising,” then when you ask them about their role it will be hard to understand what exactly they do because all they said was that he or she works at an ad agency.

There are many ways to engage with your prospect, but the most important thing is setting an appropriate tone for how you want them to speak. After that’s established, it becomes easier when asking about details of their role.

2) Last time we spoke

When you do your homework, the first meeting with a prospect is much more successful. One way to make sure that it goes well is by preparing beforehand.

It also tells the other person that you are still learning and want them to be an active participant in your education.

3) Purpose

The agenda helps to set the tone for what will be discussed in this meeting.

Often customersprospects have an unrealistic idea of what can be accomplished in a first meeting. To prevent this, I always try to state the purpose and make it clear that we wont cover everything during our initial meeting.

4) Agenda

Ive already mentioned how important an agenda is for a meeting. You should have sent it before the meeting, but now you need to reinforce what was talked about.

Setting the expectation that prospects will have questions and actively engaging them in conversation makes it more likely they’ll buy.

The prospect is reassured that they will get what they need out of the meeting, and it sets up expectations for how things are going to end. It’s clear from the beginning that there will be next steps if interested, or guidance can also be provided (people love being led).

I learned that if a person is not interested in the work or doesnt fit with your company, it is better to cut ties and find someone who does.

I often found that prospects were uncomfortable with the idea of me not taking no for an answer. This is because they feel like I am trying to take advantage of them and it makes you look desperate.

Concluding a Discovery Meeting in Preparation for Future Conversations

If you want to make the most of your discovery session, there are three things that will help with future conversations and even a good deal!

  • Questioning
  • Demo
  • Closing

Questioning

A good salesperson will ask genuinely probing, open-ended questions in order to get a clear understanding of their prospect. You want them comfortable and happy with the process.

When it comes to sales, asking the right questions is a complex task. There are two things that I would recommend.

If you want to be a good salesperson, then one of the most important things is that you dont just ask questions for your own sake. You need to understand who they are and what their needs are.

Dont ask leading questions. They are narrow-minded and don’t let the prospect speak their mind, so you can understand what they really want from your product or service.

If you want to be successful, don’t forget about goal-setting. Achieving goals is the key to success.

When I first began hiring salespeople, I assumed that a paycheck was enough motivation. It turns out this is not the case.

1) Tell me about your role.

2) Tell me about your team.

What is your team’s goal for this year?

4) How is your team measured?

How are you going to meet your goals?

There are many potential outcomes depending on what you do or dont.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

Then work backwards from the prospect’s main goal to what they need in order to get it done.

Demo

When you are about to show your product,

We want to give our customers a taste of what we offer and leave them wanting more.

Too many sales reps make the mistake of talking too much and not listening to what their clients need. They spend all their time giving a presentation, rather than finding out about the client’s needs.

It is a common misconception that people want to work hard. I find the opposite: People just dont like working.

Its hard to remember what it was like when you first started your job. It took a lot of time and effort just to learn the ropes, never mind all the little details about how things work. So dont make them do thatjust cover their bases with general information so they can focus on doing their jobs.

To sell products, do not focus on technical features. That is important but its boring to talk about the product in that way. Instead tell a story of how your product solved someone’s problem.

Closing The Meeting

There is a saying in sales, “Always Be Closing.”

I was initially confused by the term “regenerative.”

It does not mean closing the order on every call. There are products and times where it is appropriate to ask for an order after one or two calls, but in Enterprise software sales, this would often be a mistake because we need to work with our prospects at length.

Finally, we’ve listed some closing sales statements that you can steal for your next meeting. These are proven to work and I’ll show you how!


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
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