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Conversation vs. Interrogation: Data on Managing Your Question Flow

3 min read
June 19, 2017

Interrogation scenes are the cornerstone to any crime drama. The good cop/bad cop duo sling a series of rapid fire questions at a suspect to force a confession — “What were you doing the night of 5th?” “Where was it?” “Who else was there?”

These tactics may seem like they serve an important function to get fast answers in high pressure situations. While it may make for entertaining TV, your discovery calls should not be a customer interrogation.

In fact, how frequently you ask questions throughout the call — the question flow — can be just as important as the questions you ask themselves. A high question flow or asking a lot of questions upfront in a discovery call, like an interrogation, is actually correlated with lower rates of success. You need to take a more measured, intentional approach.

The Average Rep’s High Question Flow

In our latest research report published last week, discovery call data reveals that the average sales rep tends to have a high frequency of questions on the front end. In fact, a majority of a sales rep’s questions come in the first quarter of the call.

This chart also shows that the average sales rep leaves less time for a prospect to respond, as the tell-ups and downs that take place later in the call are absent. And this makes sense: how many of your sales calls do you jumpstart with a series of questions?

This go-getter attitude with your call may seem great, but it’s more than likely overwhelming to your prospect. You don’t want the person on the other side of the phone to feel like they are in the hot seat. They should feel at ease with you as the seller and your product. Evenly spacing your questions throughout the call will relieve that (unnecessary) pressure.

Even Question Flow

Top performers take the time to have a more even, measured conversation, which is exactly what your discovery call should be. The chart below shows an even question flow with the time taken in between to listen to the response. Top performers actually have a higher volume of questions throughout the calls, but they are more evenly distributed:

Steady question flow allows for conversations to develop. Top performers listen to their prospect’s answers and follow up with relevant questions.

Your discovery calls should be a conversation, meaning it’s more about your prospect’s answers than your questions. So rather than blasting out rapid fire questions with a potential client, space your questions out and let the conversation take a natural flow.


Download your copy of the free report today and start turning every discovery call into a highly qualified opportunity.