Effective Discovery Enables Trust

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When customers need to resolve a problem, they often limit the information they share with possible solution providers, keeping it focused on their short term need of fixing or replacing something. This enables them to control the dialogue, treat all suppliers as commodity vendors and quickly compare alternatives to facilitate a prompt decision on the basis of price and delivery.

If your solutions are more complex, with a related higher purchase investment, and there’s the potential for future opportunities with the customer, then responding like a commodity supplier as the customer expects, without discovering why resolving their need is important, wastes an opportunity to demonstrate how your experience and competency boosts the value created by your solutions.

Transforming the selling experience from what the customer originally intended into a value-creating dialogue that helps you discover their aspirations and what they value, changes how the customer perceives you, reduces their risk, and begins to generate the trust needed to build an enduring relationship as a partner in your customer’s success. When your solutions deliver as expected, that trust is validated and strengthened.

An effective discovery process helps the customer learn that you are more interested in helping them make money than you are in taking their money. Asking the right questions, in the right order, clarifies the customer’s current circumstances and needs, reveals the aspirations that underlie their needs, and identifies the barriers that are inhibiting their progress. Effective discovery enables you to propose solutions that resolve a customer’s short-term pain in a manner that contributes to the achievement of their longer-term goals. This is what a partner does.

How can your discovery process better reveal what a customer values and why?

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