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

Episode · 7 years ago

Five Mistakes You're Making With Your Discovery Questions


In this podcast, Force Management's John Kaplan runs through the five most common mistakes he sees with salespeople and the discovery process.

Hello, my name is Rachel Clap Miller and I'm the director of digital engagement at force management. I'm joined today by force management's John Kaplan. Hey, thanks, Rachel. It's great to be here with you today. We appreciate your joining us for this podcast. The five mistakes you're making with your discovery questions. John, this is a topic that we get a lot of questions about. Why do you think sellers struggle with it so much? Well, I think it's it's absolutely a struggle point, but what we find is the more experienced sellers tend to be more unconsciously competent around these skills, and the less experienced sellers it's really more about confidence. Okay, let's dive into our list. The number one mistake we've identified is not doing enough preparation. We know that preparation is important to a sales conversation, but why, specifically, is an important to discovery? I think it's important to discovery because customers expect us to be prepared. You know, they say things to us like, if it's been in print, I expect that you would have read it. And they also say things like don't ask me a question, you could have...

...gotten the answer to from somewhere else or from somewhere else in my organization, and this speaks directly to preparedness. So in the end I think we're really kind of focusing on the end game and positive business outcomes. Required capabilities of metrics are really the endgame. So at a top level, these are really the three critical things that you must discover around and I'm reminded of, you know, great athletes who talk about the game slowing down for them when they really really got it going well for them. So for us it's kind of focusing on these positive business outcomes require capabilities and metrics which will allow us to help slow our games down and will also demonstrate preparedness to the customer. That's great, really helpful. You know, a pivotal part of affective discovery is the ability to ask good questions. We talked about it a lot of force management, but there's really more to it than that, and often sales people will be left to straight because they don't have the confidence that they need.

You just talked about that. Our second mistake that we've identified is sales people not believing that they have the right to ask the questions. Talk a little bit about that. Yeah, that's so critical, Rachel, because this one really is a pet peeve of mind. You know, many times when I'm working with sales teams, I feel like I actually have to convince them that what they do matters. You know, for example, a couple of years ago, as working with a medical device company and and one of the devices that that actually we came across cross in our discovery process was a device that would have actually saved the life of a family member of mine who actually passed away inside of a hospital. And and I remember vividly telling the sales organization, standing in front of their sales organization and telling them that what they do matters and what they sell matters. And, Rachel, you should have seen the looks on their faces, as if they were making the connection for the very first time that what they do actually matters. So for me, it's...

...either you believe it or you don't, and if you don't, you need to go find something else to sell where you really can believe it. That's a great final point on that. Our number three mistake has to do with negative consequences. Sales people really need to spend time uncovering the problem. Rachel. This is a really, really good point and we kind of focus it on negative consequences here, and we find that sellers often avoid negative consequences because it for them. I think they think it's that they are being negative and it really has nothing to do with them. It's all about the customer. So it's not about you, it's about the customer. And what we need to do is we need to help sellers and customers really understand the discus of or how big the problem is. You'll hear us say things like you need to attach yourself to the biggest business issue facing the customer. So, as it turns out, it's more about the how that the the sellers have questions...

...around, and so your discovery questions should help the customer stand in the moment of pain. We do this and we help sellers do this by really focusing on good, open ended questions and specifically when you're thinking about things like negative consequences, to get the customer to open up, think about using questions that we call Ted questions. Tell me about, explain for me, described for me. These are all open ended questions which will allow you to help the customers stand in the moment of the pain and you really want to get those customers to open up in our fourth mistake. That leads into our fourth mistake. It's a biggie talking too much in a conversation. Yes, it's a good one. I get asked all the time. So what's the proper ratio for talking versus telling? Is it twenty? Is a two thousand and eighty? And I really say to people it depends on where you are in the conversation. So the best sales conversations are a combination of extracting information and give... information. So it's one of the reasons why we designed the framework the way that we did. We extract information to build the positive business outcomes require capabilities in the metrics which allows us to pivot and to give information to the customer around how we do it, how we do it better or differently and where we've done it before. So I also get some questions from sellers around. But what if the customer does not us allow us to go through, you know, a discovery process? They say things like, Hey, you know, before I answer your questions, why don't you tell me a little bit about what you do for a living? And this happens to US actually a force management all the time and I want to just give the listeners out there the confidence and conviction to stick to your guns. You know, when I get people that ask me, Hey, Mr Kaplan, can you tell me about force management first before we get started, you know I say things like you know, I could speak about force management for several hours, and...

...those of you who are listening know that I could probably do that very easily. But I want to make sure that when I do speak about force management, I do it in a way that most closely aligns to what is most important for you, Mr Mrs Customer. So do you mind if I ask you just a few discovery questions? That will help me do just that, and that really ties into our fifth mistakes, squeezing too much into one conversation. Talk a little bit about that. Yeah, you know, I think some people look at our framework and they say, you know, they ask the question am I supposed to do that all in one conversation? And I tell them I said, remember, this framework is designed so that you can build the ultimate summation. So until you've built it, you cannot sell anybody anything. So you got to be patient. As long as you're making it all about the customer. Until you've earned the right to make it all about you, your customers will reward you in the process. John. What's the bottom line with discovery? Yeah, I think in summary, for me it's...

...just kind of being prepared, being patient and remember people rarely argue with their own conclusions. The more you tell them they have a problem, the more they're going to resist you, but the more you ask them great discovery questions that make them stand in the moment of their pain, the more they will convince themselves that they actually have a problem. That's a great bottom line. Thank you, John. Thank you to all of you for listening. For more tips and insights from force management, be sure to check out our blog on force MANAGEMENTCOM.

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