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Discovery Fatigue is Real

January 4, 2023

I want to talk about something I’ve seen a lot of and I want to set the record straight. Discovery fatigue.


The other day I was reading a LinkedIn post where someone was talking about you must combine the demo with the discovery because buyers are tired of discovery and discovery fatigue is a real thing. That buyers don’t want to sit through for 30 minutes to an hour of discovery and get nothing out of it. There’s no value in these meetings so that we need to combine discovery and the demo or stop doing discovery.  Discovery fatigue is a real thing we have to address and you know what I agree with them – to a point.


Discovery fatigue is real, no questions about it. I’m excited that since Gap Selling has been written the conversations around discovery and the commitment to good discovery has blown up. There was never this level of discovery conversation. It has never been emphasized nearly as much as it is now and I like to think that I had something had to do with that. But, besides the fact that everybody’s doing it and I love it, here’s the problem – yes, discovery fatigue is real. Yes, buyers are getting frustrated. No, buyers don’t want to sit through a 35, 45, 60 Minute discovery. They’re tired and they’re frustrated but that has nothing to do with discovery.


This is where I deviate. Yes, we have a discovery fatigue problem but it’s not the discovery that’s the problem – it’s the damn people doing them. It’s you. It’s salespeople. You’re doing shitty discoveries. Yes, because you’re doing shitty discoveries that provide no value to the buyers, that provide no insight to the buyers. You’re doing discoveries that at the end of the day don’t help buyers understand anything new. They are thinly veiled attempts to try to get just enough information to sell your product. Your discoveries are not a genuine empathetic approach to actually understand what’s happening in their environment and to uncover their current state. So buyers are fed up.


I sat on a call earlier and watched a recorded discovery and I could see the buyers, about 18 minutes in, get frustrated and irritated and that seller was losing them. He was completely losing them not because of discovery but because of how he was doing the discovery.


Here’s my metaphor people: back in the day, when cars first came out, and people were dying left and right in car accidents we didn’t get rid of the car. It’s not the car that’s causing the issue it’s the people that’s causing them. We didn’t curb cars or stop making cars – we taught teach people how to use the cars, we taught people to be better drivers and by being better drivers car accidents dropped. Same thing with discovery.


This is not an assault on discovery, and I will come to discovery’s defense every single time. We need more discovery, but we need more better discovery and until that happens, we are going to tire out our buyers and they’re going to get frustrated and not want to do the discoveries.


So, we’ve got to get better at discovery. Discovery fatigue is real but it’s not because of discovery. It’s because most of you suck at it. If you learn to do better discoveries your clients, prospects and buyers will not get tired. They will stay with you for quite some time, they will go on the journey because good buyers love good discovery. Everyone, especially good buyers hate shitty Discovery. It puts them to sleep.


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