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Sales Discovery: The 1 Mistake You’re All Making

A Sales Growth Company
February 10, 2024

A sales discovery call is a pivotal, make or break moment in a sales journey. Sellers have a storied history of making one giant mistake – failing to define every piece of information given, comprehensively. Instead, they collect superficial information that does not give them any leverage in a sales cycle. To succeed on a discovery call you must avoid superficial discoveries and embrace a strategy that drives meaningful conversations and outcomes.


The Depth of Sales Discovery

Sales discovery must be deeper than surface level discussions. If you came here hoping for a secret sauce or a list of the best discovery questions, I hate to break it to you, but neither exists. Instead, a genuine curiosity and commitment to defining everything is required. What do I mean by define everything? Well, first, stop accepting vague statements like “we’re not growing fast enough” or “it takes too long to close a deal.” Both of those statements, without digging deeper, leaves way too much to be desired in understanding the challenges being faced.


Importance of Defining Everything

Defining everything means not settling for the high-level, ambiguous responses. It means probing deeper into statements like “not making enough revenue” to understand what “enough” actually is? Is enough $10? $100? $1,000? Or is it a million? Questions like “how many patients are falling through the cracks?” or “what is the cost of each patient?” reveal the specifics necessary to find an impact and ideally craft a tailored solution that addresses the impact and problem.


Leveraging Sales Discovery

Consider this case from a client who was providing online experience enhancements for universities. An Ivy League school expressed concerns about falling behind in interactive elements on their website, fearing potential impacts on their brand recognition and reputation in the future. Now, our client help universities impacted by low application, enrollment, and yield rates.

Covid drastically reduced the number of onsite visits during 2020 and now more people are opting for virtual tours. Our client creates these interactive experiences that give prospective students a feel for campus life. This university is not having a issue with their application rates, their enrollment rates, etc. So why would they buy?

Why are we even talking about this? The university told my client that their concerned that their website is falling behind, their interactive element is not as good as the other Ivys, and their concerned about their future brand recognition and reputation. He accepted that. My first thought, define reputation and define future. Are they concerned about reputation issues in 6 months? 12 months? 5 years? My client couldn’t answer.

This shit matters. If the university believes their reputation will begin to fall in the next 6 months because of their low performing interactive site visit, they can’t wait. There is a sense of urgency to fix this problem now. How are they defining reputation and how will they know it’s being negatively impacted? Will applications fall, will they slip in the U.S. World News rankings? Will less people accept their enrollment offers?


Driving Sales Discovery Calls Forward

Asking the right sales discovery questions is what makes all the difference. As a seller, you must understand that the way you frame the question impacts the level of detail and the actionability of the responses. You must move beyond accepting a vague answer to allow yourself the ability to quantify the impacts of the current problems.


Creating value

The hallmark of a well-executed sales discovery lies in your ability to leverage the information you gathered to influence the sales cycle. For instance, if you sell shipping solution, it’s significantly more impactful to be able to say we can save you $100,000 in yearly shipping costs rather than we can save you money. To do this, you need to define everything.


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    How can sellers ensure sales discovery drives meaningful conversations by avoiding superficial information and defining every detail comprehensively?


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