Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150The most critical part of any sales process is Discovery – seeking to uncover a prospect’s needs and goals.  Prospects become customers once they confirm that you have heard their story, can meet their goals as well as their needs, and could actually exceed their expectations.

Productive sales Discovery does much more than uncovering a prospect’s needs and goals.  It:

  • Encourages prospects to do the talking;
  • Provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate empathy;
  • Enables the discovery of strategies expected to achieve stated goals;
  • Reveals the prospect’s decision making process; and
  • Facilitates the prospect’s awareness of needs; and
  • Motivates the prospect to recognize the need for action.
  1. Begin your Discovery by asking 2-4 “Reality” questions to clarify the prospect’s current circumstances and to identify stated needs (where they are now). Probe their distinctiveness and why they are considering a new solution.
  1. Next, learn where they want to be – this is the actual prime objective of Discovery. Ask 3-4 “Goal” questions to determine their direction and identify their goals – why is resolving their stated need important to them?  How does solving this problem help them?  How does this project help achieve their goals?
  1. Then, probe what’s stopping them from achieving their goals using “Constraint” questions. This portion of the process is the most vital and merits the most questions – it identifies why they are dissatisfied with the current situation and what barriers they are encountering.  The discomfort caused by discussing their constraints creates demand for your solutions. Are they satisfied with their progress towards their goals?  What is preventing them from improving their current process (their current process is your real competition)?  What criteria will they use to make a decision about a new solution?
  1. Finally, ask 2-3 potential “Solution” questions to guide your development of 2-3 optional recommendations that you will propose later – always offer options. These questions are intended to uncover which potential recommendation generates the most interest with the prospect – it is not a trial closing technique.  Which potential solution is most likely to produce needed results?  Use a “what if…” format.  What if you could increase shipments by x% per week by …?  What if we maximized uptime by bundling services with …?  What if we could reduce waste and save time by …?

How can your Discovery process be more productive?

Can your Discovery process position you as partner rather than peddler?

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