The Grow Show: Business Growth Stories from the Frontlines

The Grow Show Sales Tip: The Art of Discovery

September 23, 2022 Scott Scully, Jeff Winters, Eric Watkins Season 1
The Grow Show: Business Growth Stories from the Frontlines
The Grow Show Sales Tip: The Art of Discovery
Show Notes Transcript

Only 3% of B2B sales occur during the first meeting, so it's critical that your discovery call helps you move to the next phase of the customer journey. Learn more about how to hold the perfect call: what you should discuss, what topics you should avoid, and how to schedule a follow up. 

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Welcome to the grove show. My name is Steve Dozier, and I'm one of the senior sales directors here at abstract Marketing Group. Today's episode is about the art of discovery, not the specifics, but more of the flow of your discovery. I do want to encourage you to listen to previous episodes, about the difference between how you approach an inbound and an outbound opportunity. Before I get started, let me share with you a story about a new sales associate I was training. And what I observed during one of his meetings, this salesperson was very personable, he could hold a conversation with everyone from a CEO to an intern with ease. During one presentation. After about 10 minutes of small talk and building rapport. He got his notepad out and informed the prospect that he wanted to learn more about his company. At this point, I'm thinking this guy's got great potential and he's going to be really good for our company. Have you ever started to think something positive and then realize that you thought about it too soon, and you totally jinxed yourself? Well, welcome to the rest of this meeting. I looked at the notepad, which was blank. I saw the prospect look at it too. And I witnessed one of the most awkward conversations I've ever seen. The client's conversational tone had definitely changed. My associates discovery included some good questions and some bad ones. But they weren't delivered in any logical order that I or the prospect could see. Imagine that classic image of a smoke filled interrogation room. And again, welcome to this meeting. It felt like he was interrogating an international spy or something. His questions were very direct, non conversational, and extremely focused on identifying a problem that he could solve. I could tell the prospect saw right through it and realized he wasn't interested in his company. As he said he was he was more interested in making a sale. My associate did a great job at personally connecting the prospect he did his homework identified contact that he was going to use to create that connection. I can tell the practice that before our meeting. Because it's absolutely critical that you create that connection before you start your discovery. And if you haven't created it, don't start until you do. When you do start, the discovery is not an interrogation. If the conversations one sided, you will lose. Just as you practice your introduction, and talking about the content you're going to use to connect to your prospect. Practice your discovery to until you're confident that you can deliver it in a very casual conversational tone. As you're preparing for this meeting. Remember the differences, again between inbound and outbound opportunities. If it's an inbound lead, they reached out to you because they have a problem. And they're looking for a solution. If it's an outbound opportunity, you knocked on their door. So you need to talk about enhancing their service not fixing it, playing your questions, as if you're filling a funnel. Start with the big picture and allow the conversation to work its way down to the details. I'm going to assume that you already know the top 10 problems that companies have with the services you provide, regardless of who they're getting them from. Start your conversation with their current state. Find out how they manage the services or products that you provide. Ask them who they're currently using and why they chose that vendor. Most people just don't feel comfortable if they feel they're throwing someone or a company under the bus. And that question is 100% salesy as to how long they've been providing the service when they reevaluate that service or product, and how the relationship started. Because that'll tell you if there's a brother in law in the picture. It's important to get to what they don't like about the service. But a simple way to get to that information is a more friendly approach by asking if there was one thing they would enhance about it what would be, do not. And this is hard, but do not talk about how your service and products are better than the company they're currently using. Your discovery again needs to be very conversational. It's not time to sell yet. So after this question, take a break and use some of the personal content to continue to develop that relationship. After a healthy pause, move to the desired state get a clearer understanding of what their desired state is, and any threats, objections or obstacles that could get in the way of achieving it. When you hear the differences in their current state and desired state, again, it's hard but it's not time to sell yet, don't try to fix it. Instead, ask questions that will bring out the pain associated with not achieving their desired state. One way to do that is to ask about Plan B, open discussion about what happens if they don't initiate changes that will result in their desired state. After that, ask questions about their decision process, and who the final decision maker is. Understanding who's driving the change can give you great insight into what motivates them. Change is driven by a CFO are typically related to expenses while changes driven by a ce o are usually related to efficiencies, if the CRO is driving change, that's typically again related to either a loss of sales, or lack of growth. So asking these questions will give you insight into potential roadblocks and opportunities on what to focus on as you present your fix. Even after that discussion, believe it or not, it's still not time to sell. However, it is time to decide if you're going to try and close them now or close them later. If the person you're talking to can't say yes, your goal is to move the meeting the next step. So if they're the decision maker, it's up to you how you want to proceed. But remember, only 3% of business to business sales occur in the first meeting. So if you're expecting to close a deal, in the first conversation 90% of the time, you're going to lose. I'm a big believer in not laying all my cards out on the table during my first meeting, for a couple of reasons. First, it doesn't give me a reason to visit again, you'll hear just call me or worst case, I'll call you. Secondly, if the prospect isn't the decision maker, they're not going to present your service as well as you would to their boss, regardless and your discovery meeting with a discussion about the next steps. This is one area that most people do not spend enough time in. But you need to get a clear and detailed understanding about those next steps. If there is a next step 100% of the time, you should schedule that next discussion, but be prepared to hear. I don't know what my boss's schedule is. And the best answer I've ever heard to that is I totally understand but at least we have to have the three people that are needed for our next meeting. Let's coordinate our schedules. And if the boss can't make it, then We'll reschedule. If you can't schedule the meeting right there on the spot, then at least agreed to a follow up date similar to if I don't hear from you on Wednesday. I'll give you a call Thursday. Well, that's it for today. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Grow show. And stay tuned for more sales tips to follow. Have a great day.