One Aspect of Discovery Calls Most Salespeople Overlook

This is a guest post from Charles Muhlbauer, CEO of SalesShare

“I love doing research. It’s like cheating, but with permission.” ­- Greg Rucka

Discovery calls are in part about helping you as the sales person understand your prospect. But
even more than that, their purpose is to help your prospect better understand themselves —
their problems and needs.

You already have the permission to research your prospects based on publicly available
information online (and you should do doing so in 100% of cases). Why not also ask for
permission to understand what’s not publicly available so you can see if you can help?

That’s what discovery is about. If you can help, great. If you can’t, that’s ok too.

Your discovery conversations are there to effectively access information not otherwise provided.
The best way to access that information is through asking for permission to do so.

Asking for permission does not just mean literally asking “Would it be ok if I ask you a few
specific questions?” — though that’s part of it. It also entails asking questions most salespeople
are too afraid to ask, by making sure your prospect understands that your goal isn’t to be nosy
— it’s to see whether there is even a fit to help out.

The best way to run discovery is to consistently ask for permission, both indirectly and directly.
Examples include:

  1.  “We may be a fit to work together, and we may not, but thought it was worth having this
    conversation to make that determination, is that ok with you?”
  2. “I’m really just asking these questions just to ensure that there really could be a fit. I
    hope that’s ok with you.”
  3. “I have a few questions I’m thinking about which may sound a bit too direct. Would it be
    ok if I ask you some potentially direct questions?”
  4. “If we can help you, do you think it would make sense to speak further?”

These forms of questions and statements are inviting.

Invitations allow people to feel more comfortable.

After all, “A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal herself or himself to you, to tell you who
they are or what they want.” ­­ David Whyte (an English poet).

In conclusion, I wrote this article to help you come across as more helpful in your sales conversations. I hope that’s ok.

Julian Lumpkin

Julian has focused his career on B2B sales and sales management, specifically bringing new technologies to market. After years as an elite sales rep, he began leading teams, specifically focused on coaching sales reps on how to be direct, credible, and respected throughout the sales process. Julian conceived of and designed SuccessKit when running an 18 person sales-team at Axial, a b2b startup, as a way to help sales reps have better conversations by utilizing customer success examples and other content more effectively.

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