5 common mistakes in a discovery call

Discovery calls can be the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship or not.

We learn more from experience than books, one way to learn about prospecting is by positioning yourself as a client.

The Mistakes listed below are so common, but they keep coming up all the time during trainings I do. So let’s take a look at which ones are easy ways to re-frame what to do.

Prepare to fail, or fail to prepare

Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” and as the old British Army adage goes, “Proper preparation and planning prevents poor performance.

Where we fail for a meeting or discovery call is preparation. I am not talking about your product but the possible outcomes.

Most people do not make role-playing about possible objections/scenarios / no.

Why would you need to do this? It’s not the destination, it is the journey. You know your destination, the sale, and now your journey is how you will get there. 


Bring in as many people as you can to go over options, and as much as possible, choose people that do not agree with your personality-WHY?- you are not always going to have clients that are or think like you.

How much education do your clients need? Do you know if your clients/prospects are educated on what you are selling? 

You will be surprised how many times they are not. Use videos, the media [post about you and the product- Branding yourself article is coming soon]

How many people do you practice with to become better? Your clients will say no, but not give you feedback about your performance, look for a way to practice, no matter how long you have been in the industry.

Getting uncomfortable will make you better at managing situations you can’t control.

Feedback vs. Advice

When you ask for feedback, it will come from a position of criticism, but if you ask for advice, that person or people will become an ally with you and make sure you conquer.

Be careful when you address this, don’t say, “ Can I pick your brain?”, you better ask, “You are an expert on……., and I am sure I can learn a lot from you. Do you have time to give me advice on………?”

You, since the beginning of the conversation, are leaving your ego at the door. Ego kills more options, business, and opportunities than anything else.

The danger of NEW

I was working with a software sales team in charge of getting a new version of an accounting software into the market. 

The program was AWESOME but new. Why is this a problem? 

NEW develops fear of the unknown, it has not been used before; how do you know it works? Why would we take a chance on something that maybe we need to upgrade or change if it doesn’t work?

The innovators and early adopters are the only people not afraid of these ideas. 

Here are the numbers regarding how many of those you will find:

Innovators are the first 2.5 percent of a group to adopt a new idea. The next 13.5 percent to adopt an innovation are labeled early adopters. The next 34 percent of the adopters are called the early majority.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR MARKETS- Talk to marketing before you move forward. 

We have the newest product on the market – This is new, never done before.

How to address this???

Get “real” testimonials

Avoid the word new. Use upgrade version

Identify if they belong to the early adopters

Get tech in the discovery call to answer questions

Do not lie; this is always a bad idea

How much time did you put into researching the person-company

Here is when your detective’s eye needs to go commando. 

Is the person visual or auditory? What kind of pre-material do I need for this? Do I know anyone in the company or a first or second connection on any social media?

Let’s be real, who is not in the media, on their personal or professional side? Check their complaints and feedback on products as well as testimonials they give and receive. You will be amazed at what you can find.

We use Face Reading Profiling to answer most of these questions.

*Small ears listen with their eyes, show them.

*High ears process information faster. Now the problem is that they tend to miss information; send ASAP a bullet point with the points discussed in the meeting and CTA when it is done.

*Pointy eyebrows,  OH MY GOD, this type is going to be all about research and knowledge. Be ready with every study, the weirdest questions, and please, no matter what your instinct tells you, DO NOT LIE OR EXAGGERATE ANYTHING. They ask questions when they know the answer is only a trap.

Stop talking and Start Listening. 

You have heard this concept before, you have  2 ears and 1 mouth, now, do you use them this way?

I was on a discovery call with a possible Marketing agency since we were re-branding Human Behavior Lab.

We had 45 minutes to go over all the topics; I sent the agenda and needs in advance as the sales rep didn’t seem to know how to manage this.

Day of the call, the first interaction with us:

Him: So, how much coaching are you planning to do? Agenda sent the day before- we are not a coaching company-

Me: We are not doing coaching.

Him: Oh no. And 15 minutes justifying this answer.

You can listen in a few ways:

Ask questions, do not defend yourself, it never works.

If you make a mistake, just say it and listen to how they react. Studies show that when you make a mistake, people feel more connected. They even try to help you.

If you don’t know an answer, offer to come back later in an email with the information; now, ask all the questions in one meeting. Having 7 emails to get to the point shows that you didn’t understand the point in the beginning, meaning you didn’t listen.

Ask What and why- What are you trying to accomplish ASAP?  You get this information by asking why – The why is more important than the what. 

Let me put it this way, what you want to do maybe is the wrong reason, BUT when you ask WHY, here is when you have the info you need, here is the pain pill, and here is when you shine.


Do not lie- Your credibility is the only credential you are going to take with you; no matter what product you sell, lying is not going to take you anywhere.

Imagine being in a sales position interview and the recruiter looking at your media or the former companies you worked for and suddenly the comments “ XY lied to me during a sell or about the guarantee, I will never buy again from this company” Would you hire yourself after that?

NO WAY. Your word, your Rolodex, and your integrity are coming with you. Save it. And if a company asks you to lie, it is time to change jobs; bad news runs faster than water

5 steps to make sure the discovery call is a business success

  1. Send the agenda in advance – 24 – 48 hr is enough- based on the number of people involved.
  2. Research-Research- Research – Data is power- Power is in the data. This is not limited to the people you are going to meet. Get your team together and brainstorm options, and do role play.
  3. Zoom out don’t get mad if things are not going your way. The people or person in front of you maybe don’t get it. Ask simple questions; do not defend your position or product.
  4. Ask who will be in the meeting -Ask if anyone else is involved in the decision-making process.
  5. Asap when you get in the call- Set the respect contract for this meeting.

Richard Harris and I launched a Sales Intelligence class where we used our years of experience to help you in each sales process step.

We talk about The Craft of Selling and Face Reading Profiling.

Take a look here

1 Comment

  1. Hilary on 02/01/2023 at 12:47 pm

    stop talking, start listening!! Amen to that sister!!!

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