The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 5 years ago

Digging Deep in Discovery

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Senior Delivery Partner Brian Walsh runs through best practices for effective discovery. This podcast is a great listen for reps who are looking for a question flow that helps uncover business pain.

Hello, I'm Rachel Club Miller. Thank you for joining us for this podcast on discovery and uncovering negative consequences, earning the right to ask those tough questions. I'm joined today by our delivery partner, Brian Walsh. Hi, Rachel, Hope you're well. Hey. I think this conversation is important for a couple of reasons. I the first is from a qualification standpoint. Great discovery and earning the right to ask these tough questions really qualifies two things. It qualifies the opportunity. It gives me a sense of how big is it and where can I potentially take it and do I belong here? But it also qualifies the people that I'm talking with. It gives me perspective on where they sit in the decision process and what type of influence or power they might have. And I think the other big thing that it does for us is it's that first chance to really create credibility moments that help the clientcy that we have a point of view that helps them potentially see the problem from an angle that they haven't thought of yet. I know this is a topic, Brian,...

...that you're really passionate about and we've talked about it at a lot that when you're trying to drill down on a business issue, you need a great sales discovery process that demonstrates your perspective, helps you uncover meaningful information and demonstrates that positive business intent, that credibility that you're talking about, and sometimes that can make things a bit uncomfortable. Yes, so we want to use this time in the podcast to arm those of you listening with some great ways to get comfortable, all with asking the tough questions. Yeah, I think you have to ask the questions in such a way that it helps the prospect, the person I'm sitting across the desk from, realize the impact that the decisions are about to make, or lack thereof, are going to have on the business from multiple perspectives. And I'll probably hit this a couple times, but the idea that when I'm asking questions, I'm constantly thinking about the impact of the individual to their team, to the department, to the lines of business.

You know, there are multiple threads that these questions can speak to and then it helps them also start to see the connection points at that issue has to other people in the decision process, because every decision that impacts us as a selling organization is typically made by multiple people inside of the account. So the questions help also, I think, show the client or give the client of respective of not only where they are but how we have a point of view that might help them think about where they're trying to go in the future that they made out of thought of yet. But you do have to earn the right to ask these. Yeah, you just don't start off, start off with those, those big questions, right. You start with the general questions and then you want to move towards a tough our topics. Easier said than done. Yeah, but I but I think if you can remember this, it's the idea that the intent has to be the business first, the client business first, focused on pain a second as an outcome. If you do...

...it that way, it makes those questions around the cost of doing nothing or the impact on the business a lot more fluid and and and as you prep, you're what you're really doing is you're prepping so that you can prep the buyer and start to signal what's coming and make it a little bit more natural for them. That's it. That's a great Montra to remember. Business First, payin second. So walk us through some examples. Okay, so if you think about this, you know, like everything else, it's relative, and what I mean by that is how I'm going to have this conversation is relative to where I'm entering. Where am I entering the organization by title, by roll or or the role someone place in the decision process, and where is the client, in the decision process, already making? So let me try to take it from a couple perspectives. The first is if I walk in early and the client may be thinking about an issue but they haven't fully thought through it yet, I'm in a really good place to just kind of...

...start at the top and just say whatever business they're in, or whatever part of the business you're speaking to. I was like questions like walk me through your process. That got them talking about how they do whatever it is I'm relevant to. I may get a tour of manufacturing plan, I may get I may get an introduction to a few other people inside of software development, whatever part of the business I'm inside of. That idea, just walking me through the process does a couple things. That warms things up. It has to me a chance to view some things and I can start to look for what's going well and what's not. But then I can just say, okay, when this process works well, what does that look like? What are the outcomes that you're typically getting? And then I'm now wearing the right to shift pivot and just say okay, good, when it's not working well, what does that look like? where? And then I can start to dig d where the Chipple Bop? Where the typical bottlenecks? What are the impacts on? And this is where all go back to that idea laid out earlier, on the team, on you, on the department, on the business, on the LOB's that you're supporting, etcetera. So I can start to...

...pull out multiple threads inside of that. And then what I always like to do when I get there is I like to start looking for who are the other people that have a thought process or some impact on the decision, by asking a question like who else has a stake in this? How would we get their perspective on the problem so that we can make sure that anything we talk about thinks about what they care about? At the same time, on the flip, a lot of times we're getting pulled in by clients who have already started to think through the problem and think they know what they need. And the advent of social media, the Internet, etcetera, etc. Has Created an environment where a lot of times we're getting pulled in by clients who think that they need something already in mind that's got, you know, very six, very specific points in their requirements. So they'll bring us in and say, I need something that looks like these six things. Tell us how you do that. So the reps got some choices. They can start talking about themselves or they can pull the client back trying to pull back to this thing and expand the vision of the the problem or at least fully understand it.

And so what I would do there is just I'd start asking a few questions like why? Why are you asking for those six things? How do you know what great looks like against those six things and, more importantly, what is it that you're trying to solve for and what is great look like on the back end? If I do that just as a setup, is pretty benign if you really think about it. I've now earned the right to say, well, tell me why this is such a problem, that it's it deserves this type of attention inside of the organization. What what is it that you and others are really trying to solve? For what happens if you don't? Now I've earned the right to start digging deep again before I just and now what I can potentially do there is take that list of six requirements, maybe at two or three more, some of which maybe we do really, really well. And now I've earned the rights to start talking about myself very differently, but I've at least elevated the conversation back up before I've tried to pull it down to talk very specifically about us. Yeah, those are great, great examples and to really easy things to remember for our reps out...

...there. To start with, broader before you dig deep. One is walk me through the business or why do you need those things up? They're already further down in the process. Yeah, and then after that go positive. What's working well? What's the great outcome look like? And then, once you get that information, start to dig deep. Yeah, on the problem, right, and don't let them off the hook. Yeah, because a problem that has not been well defined will not get executive sponsorship. It just won't. Ask any CFO and they'll tell you that a problem that is not well defined as it relates to the business and some sort of outcome that relates to the business will not typically get stakeholder sponsorship from people who can write checks. HMM, that's what happens right. Another key step, you say, it's a great a discovery, is preparation. We talked about preparation a lot and I know some of our listeners may think we're being a dead horse there, but it really is critical and when you don't do what you wish you had. Yeah, when I knew we were going to talk about this, I thought about my career and we've all had those moments where we thought we...

...really didn't need to prep. Well, we know somebody well, or somebody's taking us up to meet somebody else and you can wing it and it doesn't. It never goes well. It just doesn't go well. And so what I thought about was this idea that you know, prep obviously give you confidence because you feel like you're ready right, and it protects you because you're ready, but I think the real outcome that matters is that it protects the people inside of the account that are looking out for you, that are supporting you. A lot of times we're thinking about you know, I have this long standing relationship with Rachel. She's going to get me to her boss or somebody else that she works with. A big part of this is making Rachel look good as much as making myself look good. Always, always, yeah, and I think, I think that's a huge, huge thing. I mean, if you think about when you get a meeting with somebody, they know why you're there. They know what we do for a living. So it's you don't have to apologize for while you're there. If the customer isn't it interested in solving business issues, they're not going to spend a lot of time with us and I'm going to quickly figure out that they're the wrong person anyhow.

But when I get the chance to meet somebody, if I haven't prepped for it, I'm going to get the outcome that I deserve. Yeah, that's that's kind of my take on it. That's that's a great point. And you preparation also helps in the point you made earlier about not letting them off the hook too early. Yeah, when you're in that conversation, that's really an urge that you have to you have to fight. You have to fight that urge to move to your solution too quickly. Yeah, because we've been taught that the moment I hear a problem, I should jump in and fix it, like we've been taught that by our parents, right where we're and a lot of sales people naturally are people who want to fix we want to fix the problem and be able to move on. But I think your willingness to stand in that moment, as we like to say, and force the client to really stand in that moment of pain as well helps them realize that whether whether they buy from us or not up front is not the question to be answered. That's the secondary question. The question be answered up front...

...is do we have a problem we're solving for and have we thought through the current state and the future state well enough to know that when we finally try to start thinking about solutions, we know exactly what great looks like and the Arego we have a much better chance of getting to a great outcome because we know what's required to get there. Now, when we do that well, we've highly influenced that dialog and Arego we get a lot more credibility, which I think this is all out. I think credibility is the currency that matters most. And when we do that well and offer some perspectives and get the client thinking about things they haven't thought of yet or forcing them to think about the problem from multiple perspectives, we now get a lot more as well behind us to help what support whatever conversations we want to have about ourselves and how we can attach back to what we're trying to solve. For I think a big part of that credibility is that you're defining the right next steps. So when you're digging deepy negative consequences and you ask the tough questions and had some...

...tough conversations, you want to make sure that you finish that conversation Straw. Yeah, and I think that starts with thinking ahead about what is what is a great next step look like, assuming this call goes the way I wanted to go and it's a good quality conversation and an opportunity that we want to pursue, what's going to be the appropriate next step coming out thinking ahead of those ahead of time, with for those one or two action potential options or actions will keep you away from questions like hey, Rachel, thanks for the time. Today was a great meeting. What would you like to do next. I think at that point, putting it all in the client's hands can be a mistake. If you've had a great conversation and there's a lot out on the table, you now have, I think, the right to offer up the next step, which is, I think, the next step after a great conversation with you today that was all about you. It's for us to come back and share with you how we connect to that conversation that we just had very specifically with our solutions. Or another potential next step would be. I've heard some things from you today that tell me that there are two or three other people whose perspectives are going to matter in this decision. Let's...

...get together next Tuesday and talk to those two people as well, and then I'm going to be prepared to talk very specifically about how we connect to what would just discussed, making sure we've thought about their perspective as well. So I think it's really about preparing for for the appropriate next step and being ready to offer that as the suggested next step instead of asking them right on that part of the conversation. Yeah, that's exactly right. Own It. Great Tips here, Brian. Let's wrap it up. What is the bottom line. We're talking about this topic. So I think there are three big things. The willingness to prepare for and actually do this. Well, we'll get you three outcomes. The first is all, it'll better qualify the people you're talking with and the opportunity itself. Do I belong to this opportunity? Don't I? Do I belong with this person? Don't I are there are other people that I need to get perspective from. Second, as an outcome, it gets you access to other people, either directly or through the people you're talking with, and therefore get you, though, the the multiple perspectives that...

I've mentioned a few times that really do drive these decisions. It's rarely just one person's perspective. And then, lastly, it gets you that credibility and the type of information that you need to drive a client business conversation and business case versus just a product or solution conversation. Right, and that's that's the point, right, business case over products and features. Amen. Thank you for joining us today, Brian. Thank to all of you for listening.

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