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

Episode · 6 years ago

Insights On Effective Discovery

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Delivery Partner Patrick McLoughlin reviews his best tips for executing effective discovery.

Hello, I'm Rachel Clap Miller and I'm joined today by one of our delivery partners, Patrick mclauchlin. Patrick has been in the trenches, traveling the country delivering our command of the message offering. Patrick, it's good to actually see you and have you in the office. Hi, Rachel, it's great to be back here in Charlotte. So today we've cornered Patrick and we're going to talk about one of our most popular topics, executing effective discovery. We all talk about doing it and a lot of times it's really easier said than done. I know a lot of you know that out there. So today we're going to run through some reminders to help you execute an effective discovery process. Patrick, I knew you have a very experience sales career and we've talked a lot about this before. Discovery is one of your favorite things to do as a salesperson. That's correct, Rachel. A discoveries probably the best thing a salesperson can do. Discovery sets the stage basically for a successful sales cycle. When I look back on my career at Zerox, I was I was trained by Zerox Corporation and my first sales job after my training was. I was...

...out in the field and I was talking about customers required capabilities, and Zerox taught me that customers focused on ease of use, productivity and reliability, and so I became an expert in talking about how Zerox did productivity, reliability and he's of use. And I was pretty successful my first six to nine months. I close deals my first thirty days in the field and and it was great. I felt like, all right, I can do this, I can be a great salesperson. And then I started moving up into more complex sales and bigger opportunities and I was losing, and I was losing at a higher rate than I should have been compared to my peers or compared to the success that I was having in oneoff deals where maybe the decision criteria was in as complex. And so one afternoon there was a lady Susan. I'll remember her the rest of my life. She was probably the most, one of the most successful salespeople I've ever met. She was a twenty five year veteran,...

...twenty three presidents clubs, I mean really a talk performer. And she asked me how how is how I was, how was I doing? How was my career and was I enjoying myself and talking about my successes and things, and nic said, Susan, you know, I'm closing the one off deals and I'm having some success there, but as I've gotten into larger, more complex multi unit deals, I'm not winning. I'm actually losing before I'm even being discarded, before the final decision is made, I'm not even making it to the end. And I said, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I said I'm talking about everything that Zaros has told me to talk about, and she says, well, that's the thing. You're talking about zero's. And I said, well, what do you mean by that? She's like, we got to talk about the customer and you got to understand what the customers trying to achieve and and I said, well, how do you do it? And she says, well, I look for blood. I look for blood in the account. When I find the blood, I look for the trail of blood. When I find the trail of blood, follow it to the wound and when I get to the wound I open it...

...up. So I create as much a problem for the customers I can. And so as I open the wounds and I open the wound and I open the wounds and I open the wound to the point where I can't open it anymore and the customers looking at me and they're looking for me to give them solutions and I don't give them to him. Yet I pour swapp on the Mond. I said, I've started laughing. And so what do you mean by that? And she says, well, many people can live with bleeding but they can't live with pain, and so you need to create a sense of urgence to your client. You you can understand what they're real pains and in issues are and we try to solve them. So that's what you should do. Focus on the client, focus on their pains, find the blood, find the wound and open the wound, and then you'll understand where you can position zerocs to meet your customers requirements. So I've used that methodology over my twenty five year career in every every sale cycle that I've ever been involved in. Right. So, find the blood and don't forget the salt. Probably is a good mantra to have as we talk about this. So let's...

...just get into it. We often talk a lot about the things that you just you just mentioned making the customer, feel the pain, stand in the moment of pain, put on the code of pain, and you do that by asking great questions. But in addition to that, if you want to execute effective discovery, one of your really great tips, I thought as we were talking before this podcast, was that you really encourage reps to create the visual for the customer. Talk a little bit about what you mean by that. Sure. So we talked about having a great discovery, open ended questions to side, where both the customer and we as the salesperson are learning something. But I think you need to take it a step further. I think you need to enable the customer to teach you about who they are and what their business has. A lot of people, most people, love to talk about what they do for their career and it energizes them and excites them. So if you enable the customer to talk about who the they are and what...

...they do, it shows, one, that you're interested in their business and to that you're listening and there and, three, you're looking to create value for that. So when we talk about in our deliveries using ted, tell me about, explain to me, described for me, help me understand, these are things that enable the customer to teach me. In addition, when I'm sitting in a customers office, I'm looking for a white board, I'm looking for a flip chart, because I'll stand up in the middle of the teach that the customers given me and I'll start whiteboarding or I'll start writing out their processes or their business subject to us, and I'll intentionally leave some things out. So I'll get the customer to stand up and then the customer will start teaching, just like I was in grammar school. The teacher would get up on the Black Board. I'll get the customer up in front of a whiteboard starting to detail for me, educating me. Okay, so it creates a visual for them and a visual for me, which really increases the opening of the wound and the pouring of the salt. And then the benefit I...

...get is after I leave, now the customers looking at something that I've helped them create and it's constantly in their eyesight while they're sitting in their office. Right, you provide a tool for the prospect to have additional conversations internally. Could be come in here and and look at what Patrick wrote. Right. M We also talk about using discovery to trap the competition. But you take it one step forward and say you can use discovery to trap the competitor's trap. And that phrase sounds a little bit confusing, but what I think you mean by that is that in discovery you have to anticipate what your competition is using against you with your prospect yeah, that's correct. You know, I'm a firm believer that good sales people understand their products features and functions and ask good discovered questions. But to become a great salesperson you need to know all of your products functions and features, but you need to know your competition as...

...well and you need to be able to ask great trap setting questions. To give you an example, well, when I was working at Xerox, one of the benefits that we had in the high production and duplication market was our ability to produce eleven by seventeen. It was thirty to forty percent faster than our competitors. So it was applications we would look for and try to make a top priority in the customers decisionmaking process. So I remember one day I'm working with nonprofit organization and they produced a newsletter and as I was walking through the customers environment, getting an understanding of how they do things, asking them to teach me about their business, to show me their processes. I noticed there were eleven by seventeen applications. Now I never mentioned my products, nor did I mentioned the eleven by seventeen, and the customers started naming the products that I was going to propost them. So I thought, wow, this is a benefit to me. The customers got experienced with our flagship device. This is going to be a win and I asked, well, if you...

...have experience with the zerox fifty, one hundred, and the customer says no, the Cannon Rep brought it up and I said wow, really, why would the cannon rep bring up the device that I knew was Kay to the state of the art? I mean I had a competitive advantage. And what the Cannon Salesperson had done was they had taken the eleven by seventeen application off the decision making process. The customer said, I know, we called you. We wanted to talk about one device, but after meeting with the can and Rep, I think we really need to have two machines. So I started to ask questions why, and the Canon Rep basically had taking the eleven by seventeen application off the main device and said to the customer, you probably could use redundancy and you probably need a separate device for the eleven by seventeen. Essentially, what she had done to me was taken a hundred thousand dollars sale, brought it down into the market where she played at Fiftyzero dollars and taken my and took my competitive advantage off the table. So it actually upset...

...me. It annoyed me. I was like that's not fair. This is something that I compete really well. And so then I started to ask further questions and I said, well, you know who puts together the newsletters, who puts together the documents, and can we can we go upstairs and meet with them? And so the gentleman said sure, he takes me upstairs to the marketing department. We meet with the editorial team and as I'm asking them about how they produced the letters and what applications they use, I noticed samples around the desks and and the credenzas and one of them was a eleven by seventeen perfect bind and I said, Oh, you guys want to produce stuff at eleven by seventeen in a perfect bind. And the gentleman says, well, we were looking at outsourcing this work versus bringing it in house, and this is what some of the commercial printers had brought to us. And so, yeah, we'd love to have that, but you know it's probably too expensive for us to do downstairs. Well, little did that customer know that I could do that inline finishing. Okay, so I essentially said, well,...

...this is one of your required capabilities. I can meet that requirement with some advanced finishing on the fifty one hundred, fifty one hundred, the hundred thousand dollar device. So a device that size in the territory that I had that would make my plan for three months. So all of a sudden I was able to trap my competitors, trap and put a my device back and and the and the requirements of the customer had back on the table and I actually increase the size of the sale. So the sale went from a hundred thousand to a hundred and twenty five thousand because I was really solving the underlying problem with the customers trying to achieve. That's a great story and I think what I also heard in there is that you're not only digging deep on negative consequences, you're also broadening the conversation to multiple stakeholders. Right. Yeah, that's correct. So when I talk about discovery and finding the wound and opening...

...the wound, you can open the wound to dig deeper to this severity of the problem or the financial ramifications of the problem, but also by opening the wound you can spread to how many other people are affected inside the organization. So we need to we need to understand not just who we're talking to, but also that customers, Co workers and the environment that that they're working in. So how do you know when you're broad enough for a when you're when you've done enough of broadening and digging d well, you know, that's a great question. So when you know when you're doing a lot of discovery, you're always tying back to the negative consequences. You're always tying back to some quantifiable number. So in my mind I'm always trying to understand what the cost the customer has, either in real dollars or in a productivity sense, and then I sort of know where where my solution would fit in. So I might test that throughout the conversation with the customer and, to be honest,...

...is also there's also a point where the customer is going to look to me, either ask me directly or through facial expressions. They're going to say, well, how can you help me? So the somewhat of a pivot when you do a lot of great discovery, eventually the customers going to say, yeah, this wound hurts, the salt is irritating me. You know, they're going to say, well, where would you start to fix this? So I would say that in the flow of things it's probably a natural progression where the customers going to say, you know, how can how can you help me? Well, great conversation, Patrick. Thank you. Thank you for joining us. A great tips here of find the blood, find the salt. Eleven by seventeen paper can save your career. But thank you for joining us. Thank you to all of you for listening and don't forget, if your enjoy these podcasts, and we hope you do, subscribe to them on Itunes.

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