This is How You Start a Sales Discovery Call (Perfect Agenda)

The best way to start a sales discovery call is with a “pre-frame”.

A pre-frame is an influence technique used to limit the scope of a conversation to drive it towards a specific outcome.

I start all my pre-framing on calls with:

“The way these calls usually go is…”

And then outline the quickest process to get through qualification, discovery and the close.

The best way to think about pre-framing is to “act like a Doctor”.

The Doctor Mindset

The best metaphor for the mindset behind a successful diagnosis call is to act like a doctor.

When you visit a doctor, they ask what the problem is. You answer.

Then, before they tell you the solution to your painful problem, they ask more questions. They send you for a scan. They sit in their white coat, emotionless, making notes, and then quiz you on a couple of related points that you hadn’t even considered could be tied to your acute pain.

The Doctor makes a formal diagnosis and offers a solution only when they have the full picture of the diagnosis.

Can you see how this is literally the opposite of most sales calls?

On an average sales call, if the buyer mentions any pain whatsoever, even the slightest of niggles, the seller usually shoves a product pitch down their throat and tries to close the deal.

Talk less, ask more, diagnose, and you’ll close more deals.

So, to diagnose your buyer like a doctor, you must think like a doctor.

Let’s tie this into our pre-framing that we covered at the top of the video.

When you go to visit a Doctor, you know that you have a problem. You also trust that the Doctor has seen this problem many times. You’re not there to argue with them, you’re there to get a solution.

So our pre-frame in this context might sound like –

“The way these calls usually go is, I’ll ask you a few questions, we’ll see where your teams sales performance is against the data I have on your industry and if I think I can help, I’ll share a few ways we might be able to work together. Sound good?”

Notice the “sound good?” at the end of the statement.

This is what is called a micro-close. You can learn more about micro-closing in my free book, Selling Made Simple that you can download for free over at

But what we’re doing is getting a small commitment that the prospect agrees to our process of conducting this call. When they verbally agree, they’re more likely to act like a patient rather than pester you about price before you’re ready to share it for example.

That leads us onto the biggest mistake that sellers make during the beginning of their discovery calls and that is that they try and tell the prospect what they want rather than truly discussing their issues.

Telling vs. Discussing

Telling the buyer the pain theyʼre in is not as motivating as allowing them to tell you instead.

Why? People donʼt like to be told how to feel. They will rebel against it, even if youʼre highlighting the truth.

So, how do we get the buyer to tell us what their current and ideal future realities look like? We ask questions.

Think of each of the questions in your Diagnosis call being a three-step process:

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