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Discovery Questions: This 1 Question Is Killing Your Credibility

October 29, 2022

Bad discovery questions can be the difference between gaining your client’s trust or destroying your credibility.


This 1 question is destroying your credibility and in turn destroying your discovery. If you’re asking this question you’re projecting to the client that you have no idea what is going on. You’re undermining your ability to positively influence the sale.


Every time you ask some form of “how is that impacting you?”, “how is that impacting the organization?”, “how is that impacting the team?”, you’re telling the buyer you don’t know and you’re asking them to explain the problem to you.


If you ask good discovery questions that get answers like “we’re losing millions of dollars because of inventory sitting around” or “we have disparate systems and we’re unable to get the team to collaborate” or “we can’t entice new clients” or “our revenue is down” then you better understand the impacts of those issues. You should already know what the impacts will be and be able to ask pointed discovery questions.


For example, let’s use the inventory question and answer – if a client says:


“we’re losing millions because we can’t move inventory and it’s sitting around” don’t say “well, what’s the impact of that?”


Instead, ask a good discovery question like:


“can you tell me a little more about that? Is the inventory going to waste? Is it sitting on the shelves because you can’t sell it or because of this or that?”


After you get this information, follow up with the potential impacts:


“Are you losing customers because you can’t get inventory to them on time?”


If your client can’t move inventory you already know they’re losing money. You need to dig deeper. Ask discovery questions like:


“Is that inventory going to waste? Do you need to throw out inventory if you don’t move it fast enough? Are you losing customers because you can’t deliver your inventory fast enough so the customer goes with a competitor instead?”


If you know your buyers, if you understand the environments you’re working in, if you know the problems you solve you should already know what the impacts could be. You may not know specific numbers, widgets, times, etc. but that’s okay. But, you should be able to ask very targeted, pointed discovery questions to highlight or understand what the impact is. When a customer recognizes an impact that they’re not thinking of, you win.


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Back to the inventory example, a discovery question like:


“is that unsold inventory affecting your warehouse space and therefore your ability to add new products? Is the extra inventory slowing the manufacturing line because you’re continuously having to reproduce inventory that you’ve thrown out?”


Highlighting an issue the client may not be aware of is how you become a badass Gap Seller. That’s how you become a trusted advisor, that’s how you earn credibility, and how you build a relationship. When you become a trusted advisor clients will listen to you when you make recommendations, which not only solves their problems but can boost your ability to sell them the correct product. 


So, stop asking broad discovery questions especially – “how is that impacting you?” Do your research. Understand the space you sell in, understand the problems your buyers are having, and have an understanding of how that is impacting is impacting them. You should know, you should be able to ask very pointed discovery questions and guide them –  that’s how you build credibility.


If you or your organization need help improving your ability to ask good discovery questions, click here to schedule a call with our sales team to learn if we can help you implement a new sales strategy.

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