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Discovery Call for Sales Professionals: Best Practices

At The heart of any deal is always the customer. I know this, you know this but somehow in any sales conversation, it's so easy to always move away from the customer and focus so heavily on the product or service. This is where many salespeople go wrong, they focus so much on the product that they lose sight of the most important element of any deal, and that is the customer. And the discovery call is no different, yes you are there to ultimately determine if what you are offering is the right fit but the questioning and conversation should always focus on the person and business. Remember, sales are all about being human…so don’t lose sight of that human element!

In this lesson, I want to walk you through 3 key best practices that should always guide any stage of the sales process, especially the discovery phase.

Listen to Understand. Someone once told me God has given us a pair of ears and 1 mouth so we can be better listeners, but let's face it Listening is by far the most difficult art to master and what I mean is active listening, being present in the moment, not thinking about your next question but really truly listening. So how can you do this better? The trick is to listen, acknowledge and recap where necessary. Be present at the moment, don’t think about anything else but truly listen. Chriss Voss often talks about mirroring and I am a true believer in the power of mirroring. Mirroring is the repetition of keywords used by your prospect. Mirroring lets the other side know you’re paying attention to what they’re saying and treating their views with the close consideration they believe they deserve. To give you an example, if your prospect says something like “ we are struggling with our bottom line” you might want to say something like “what exactly is happening with your bottom line” Finally, “Remember, the Pareto principle. Try speaking only 20 percent of the time in each conversation and letting the other party do 80 percent of the talking.

Uncover Pain. Ok, the pain I know sounds very dramatic but in reality, you want to understand what are the implications of not taking action or implications of what’s not going right now. Based on what your prospect shares about his or her business, you can surface areas of opportunity and determine how you can paint a picture of what could be “going better.” Even if your prospect is unaware that they have a problem, you should still ask questions that bring to the surface their key priorities. You can try questions like: What happens if you fail to achieve XYZ? What prevents you from achieving your top priorities? What’s your biggest challenge as it relates to XYZ? Now if you notice that your buyer is getting emotional, it's perfectly fine to label that emotion. This really highlights the gravity of the problem. You can use phrases like, It seems like you, it sounds like you, it looks like you. If you do this right, you will win your buyer over by making them feel deeply understood.

Softening and Clarifying Statements. The transition from the client’s statement or question to your response. Rather than jump directly to a response, find out why that’s important to them? To give you an example, if a client asks you if you customize, you want to say, sure, would love to provide you more clarity on that but let me understand first what you mean by customizing and why that’s important to you. If a client asks you what is the price? Sure, of course, happy to share the commercials with you after all but let’s first talk about the value and what challenges our solution would help you address. Ultimately, what is the true value of the product or solution you are offering?

Focus on Business Problems or Business Results. Ultimately any business conversation has to focus on the business problems or results. So before you get drawn into the weeds, make sure you are repositioning the conversation to focus on these two elements. Ask questions that encourage a long response.

Move up from the standard who, what, when, where, why, and how.

  • Can you help me understand…?
  • Can you walk me through it…?
  • Can you talk to me about…?
  • Can you tell me about it…?

These types of questions encourage the conversation to focus on these two important elements!

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Written by

Malvina EL-Sayegh