Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

The market is tilted in favor of commoditization:
  • information about available suppliers and options is easy to acquire online;
  • assessment of these alternatives is designed to enable prompt, simple allocation into pre-determined boxes; and
  • minimal energy and time is invested to gain additional insight about offerings beyond what is evident through readily available information.
In this market, your process for responding to inquiries must be distinctive, separating you from competitors. To avoid confirming that yours is a commodity business, your response must get beyond answering posed questions and quoting prices, to soliciting a discovery conversation.
Establishing dialogue with a prospect humanizes your business, changing it from a data point in a table of alternatives to an actual, tangible team of serious business people who seek to propose the most productive solutions to help the prospect succeed. Conducting this discovery discussion provides your opportunity to be distinctive.
Engaging the prospect in a discovery process:
  • Identifies the prospect’s stated need and problem, and how they define value or success for them;
  • Exposes the importance of resolving the need or problem (unmet goals? unfulfilled strategies?);
  • Uncovers barriers that are inhibiting progress;
  • Heightens the prospect’s awareness that prompt action is needed;
  • Expedites your understanding about the prospect’s decision-making process; and
  • Communicates your respect for the prospect’s time and your commitment to their success.
Responding to inquiries without discovering the prospect’s need or problem, and learning why resolving it is important to them, wastes the opportunity to be distinctive – the chance to reveal how your company’s knowledge and expertise can make a difference for them is lost.
Without a discovery discussion, your prospect’s only choice is to see you as the commodity supplier they think you are.
How well does your discovery process uncover a prospect’s need or problem?
How well does it expose why resolving the need or problem helps them succeed?