Solving problems involves two steps…a diagnostic assessment, followed by the application of a remedy.
Earning a customer’s trust relies on the same formula. If the growth of your business depends on building and sustaining relationships, versus increasing the number of transactions, then conducting a
rigorous diagnostic, or discovery, process is essential when a new opportunity arises.
In a market that cultivates commoditization, where needed information is readily available and
simplistic assessments are used to hastily define you, price is often the priority over value creation. Because there is urgency to address the need that generated the opportunity, customers are in a hurry to find the most cost-effective resolution. As a result, they are predisposed to perceive your offering as just another commodity, a choice of readily available alternatives from columns one, two or three. And they don’t need to invest much time helping you understand their challenge.
A thorough discovery process challenges this paradigm. Efficiently asking the right questions, in the right order, clarifies the customer’s current circumstances, the aspirations that underlie their need, and the barriers that are inhibiting their progress. Discovery uncovers why resolving a customer’s short-term pain is important, and how it contributes to the achievement of their longer-term goals.
Engaging the customer in this respectful, collaborative dialogue enables you to reveal your company’s expertise and commitment, as well as your empathy and accountability, while you discover what they truly value. With this insight in hand, you can describe two or three possible remedies for their consideration, specifying the typical quantifiable benefits of each, aligned with what’s been learned about their priorities and goals.
This protocol will clarify which solution best resolves their urgent need in a manner that also creates strategic value for them. And in the process, it will alter their prior commodity perception of your business, heighten their awareness that a prompt decision benefits them, and provide you with greater clarity about their decision-making process.
Responding to an inquiry, without first discovering why resolving a customer’s problem is important to them, wastes an opportunity to build trust and be distinctive from competitors, confirming their likely first opinion that you are a commodity supplier with a sale as your highest priority.
How much effort does your sales team invest to discover what a customer values?