Our Most Popular Content on Executing Effective Discovery
Categories: Sales Discovery Process
We write a lot about executing an effective discovery process. It’s one of our most popular blog topics, likely because it’s one of the most important components to a value-based sales conversation. Effective discovery helps separate you from other salespeople, putting you in a better position to influence the decision criteria, instead of simply reacting to it.
Top sellers know that solid discovery helps the customer clarify their thoughts and may encourage them to think about their situation in a way they haven’t before. We rounded up some of our best resources on executive effective discovery. Use them to your advantage.
1. Focus on Making Discovery a Process Not a Singular Event
Deals are won or lost in discovery. If you want to sell larger deals and transition to working on accounts that involve more and more decision makers, you need to be able to map your solution to a problem with real business impact. Without a pointed discovery process, uncovering that problem is nearly impossible. Remember, customers don’t care about your solutions and differentiators beyond how they solve their specific business problems and help them achieve specific business objectives.
Putting extra time to execute great discovery on the front end of your sales process can greatly improve your chances of avoiding last-minute setbacks that could lead to stalls and losses. Tune into this podcast to hear Brian Walsh, Force Management’s Managing Director of Facilitation and Delivery, share how elite salespeople execute a great discovery process. Don’t miss his tips for expanding sales conversations in a way that opens up the opportunity to get in front of other stakeholders in the business and ensure a premium.
Define the end-game for your discovery process. What’s a great outcome for the prospect discussion? How can you use your discovery conversation to uncover key positive business outcomes, metrics, solution requirements and key people in the account? Have you set your objectives for the conversation in a will drive the opportunity forward? Preparation will help you stay relevant, map your conversation to the desired result and avoid backtracking in your relationship with the prospect. This article on “How to Prepare for a Valuable Sales Discovery Session'' shares key ways to prepare for your discovery conversations in a way that will help you make a greater impact on your ability to progress the opportunity forward.
3. Be Quiet and Actively Listen
Effective discovery is as much about listening as it is about great questions. Use silence to your advantage and actively listen to what your prospects are sharing. Improving your ability to listen to your customer can help you validate what you’re hearing, build trust and dig deeper in discovery, all of which will enable you to expand your sales conversations and drive better results. Leverage these resources to sharpen your skills on these key fundamentals of great selling.
- Why Your Active Listening Skills Are Crucial to Hitting Your Number
- Improve Your Active Listening Skills [Podcast]
- Why The Best Sales Discovery Process Requires Silence
4. Build Business Acumen
Best-in-class salespeople know the importance of digging deep in discovery. Earning the right to ask your prospect the tough questions demands you build business acumen. If you want to find the business issue with the largest impact, you need to be able to execute an effective discovery process that enables you to drill down on a business issue and demonstrate your own positive business intent. This article covers, “The Best Way to Ask Tough Questions in the Sales Discovery Process”. Review it for tips you can use to get your prospects to trust that you’re working with them to reach their business goals.
5. Use Trap-Setting Questions
Effective discovery and trap-setting questions can help you lay the groundwork for a value-based sales conversation. However, we often find that many salespeople are confused by trap-setting questions. Trap-setting questions are nothing but discovery questions meant to demonstrate weaknesses in your competition. The power of them lies in the answer. This article on “How to Ask the Right Questions in Your Sales Conversation” can help you understand how to leverage both trap-setting and discovery questions to your advantage as you work to instill value in your deals.
6. Avoid These Common Mistakes
When salespeople go wrong in discovery, they’re often making the same mistakes we see time and time again. Take a closer look at where salespeople go wrong with discovery and the steps you can take to right the course. The first podcast we ever did at Force Management featured the topic of discovery and the “Five Mistakes You're Making With Your Discovery Process". You can listen to it here (it was before we polished up the podcast medium). On the podcast, John Kaplan, Force Management Founder and Managing Partner, shares the mistakes he sees most often and gives you tips on how to steer clear of them and what to do instead.
7. Always Play Back Your Sales Discovery Conversations
A key part to successful discovery is the salesperson’s ability to articulate what they learned in discovery back to the customer. We call it playing back “What We Heard”. In this podcast, “Playing Back Your Sales Discovery Sessions”, John Kaplan runs through best practices for using this information to your advantage, including how to deal with sounding too repetitive or negative.
Refine Your Discovery Skills & Win More
The way your approach discovery conversations can greatly impact your deal. The more you can carry out discovery in a way that builds prospect interest and opens doors to high-level business stakeholders, the more you’ll be able to hit your number repeatedly. Improve your discovery skills by constantly refining them and taking note of what’s working for you, and what isn’t. Stay up to date on our latest sales effectiveness tips by subscribing to The Audible-Ready Podcast. Each weekly episode focuses on insights that could help you make an impact on your pipeline.