Discovery is the most essential piece of the selling process. 

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

In a market that cultivates commoditization, where needed information is readily available and simplistic assessments are used to hastily define you, price is the priority over value creation. Prospective customers are predisposed to perceive your offering as just another commodity, so to hurry the transaction, they prefer to keep dialogue with you to a minimum. 

An effective discovery process challenges this paradigm. Asking the right questions, in the right order, clarifies the customer’s current circumstances, the aspirations that underlie their needs, and the barriers that are inhibiting their progress. Discovery uncovers why resolving a customer’s short term pain contributes to the achievement of their longer term goals. 

An effective discovery process motivates the customer to engage with you in a collaborative dialogue, providing an opportunity for you to demonstrate empathy, competency and a commitment to their success. Your knowledge and expertise are revealed when you describe optional solutions that guide the customer to consider what they truly value, and to grasp how each alternative you mention will generate quantifiable benefits that create strategic value for them, in addition to solving a problem. The resulting dialogue alters the customer’s prior perception of you, and heightens their awareness that prompt action benefits them, while you gain insight into their decision-making process. 

Responding to a prospective customer’s inquiry, without first discovering why resolving their problem is important to them, wastes an opportunity to be distinctive from others under consideration, confirming their perception of you as a commodity supplier.

How well does your discovery process uncover what a customer  values and why?