If you miss everything else you read in this book, do not miss this chapter. The exploratory call is the most important part of running an effective inside, and arguably outside, sales process. It is where all the rapport is truly built. It is where trust codifies. It is where your prospect will begin feeling slightly uncomfortable, which will resolve as you work with them to build the solution to their goals or challenges.
The simplest way I can explain this step in the inbound sales process is that you are continuing to learn exactly what “current state” your prospect has found herself or himself in. It is your job to understand that current state as thoroughly as possible. Once you do, it is also your job to help them understand how to get to their future, desired state. This is another core component of being an effective inbound seller—staying in control, but consulting your prospect to the point where they feel empowered to make the right decisions.
Observing and running sales processes for the better part of the past decade, I have noticed this step tends to be one rarely missed, but poorly executed by most salespeople. Average sales reps will start this call or meeting off by recapping what they learned on the first call or interaction, if they even had one, and will go into information gathering mode.
They will go about asking questions around data points like budget, authority, need, and timeline ...