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Creating a better sales discovery process in 6 steps

Aktualisiert: 13. Okt. 2022

In the sales process, there are a few steps that should not be overlooked. One of them – if not the most important one – is elaborated on in this article. Here you will learn what to pay attention to and how to implement new skills.

Why you should make an effort right in the beginning

The discovery phase is where you get acquainted with your client, collect the necessary data for you to close the sale and therefore build the setting stone for your future connection.

Often, this process is disregarded by sales representatives as they leave it at just asking simple questions and immediately skip over to the sales launch. With that, they automatically fail to build a unique relationship with their prospect, who, in turn, can feel treated like a number. This procedure is frequently perceived as unnecessary – that´s why representatives tend to not take it seriously. It is, however, a factor that will enhance your sales process, as you will learn to understand each other better and therefore avoid conflict situations.

You maybe ask yourself; how do I approach this discovery process?

In general, you can divide it into two main skill sets: asking the appropriate questions and actively keeping attention to the answers. This article´s focus is on establishing your questioning skills. The best sales representatives ask questions revolving around the following six areas during the questioning process:

1. What is the customer´s current situation and how well is it working for them?

First, talk to them about their previous experience and how it has affected their way of working now. What did they like about it, what was a disruptive factor? By doing that, you get valuable details on how to create a custom solution just for them. This is how your questions could look like:

  • Tell me more about your current product/service.

  • What is something that doesn’t work for you at all and you would like to change?

2. What do your customers need? What is difficult for them?

Everyone has problem areas – areas in which they would like to do better. Where do your client´s problem zones lie and why are these particular topics challenging for them? This will provide you with new information too and help you build a customized solution.

This is how your questions could look like:

  • What are your goals?

  • What led you to expand your options?

  • Why is this important for you?

3. Who will play a part in the decision-making-process?

Gather as much information as you can about the important figures and relationships in the buying decision. A lot of organizations decide purchase-related topics upon consensus – therefore you should incorporate decision-makers and influencers in your research. This is how your questions could look like:

  • Who is the biggest voice for a new and better solution?

  • Who has the most say in the buying decision?

  • Who do you expect to need more data and time to come to a conclusion?

4. How does the customer favor their buying process?

Fourth, get to know your client´s ways of buying and making decisions. You could speak with them about their budget, timeline and schedule. Let them tell you their entire procedure. This is how your questions could look like:

  • What is your estimated budget for this purchase?

  • In what time do you anticipate implementing the new solution?

  • When do you think the procurement department will take a part in this?

5. What would be your opponent´s alternatives?

You need to know who you are up against. Every client looks at several options; being aware of that could help you.

This is how your questions could look like:

  • What alternatives are you thinking of?

  • What are currently your best/worst options?

  • Let´s go over your other solutions together.

6. How does the solution affect the sales environment?

What does your customer want? The best sales professionals focus their questions on the effect of change and the results of inactivity. Efficiency, savings and the ROI are mostly evaluated within this context.

This is how your questions could look like:

  • How would it affect your aims if you had to give up your position as market leader?

  • How would the reduction of the product´s fail rate affect gross margins?

  • If you cannot solve this problem, what will challenge you in the future?

Whenever you ask strategic questions during the discovery process, you can get closer to your opponent and get to know their necessities. Therefore, you can customize solutions that will automatically help you closing deals. In our next post, we are going to give you an insight about another relevant part of this process: active listening.

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