3. Discovery | The Sales Bridge
Discovery Questions for Sales. Identifying Customer Wants and Needs.
Sales discovery is the heart of customized sales training. In “Discovery,” crucial information is gathered to construct a well thought-out, insightful sales solution. It establishes the tone to ultimately gain customer commitment and close the deal. By pinpointing what prospects truly value, a rep can make the transformation from ordinary vendor to trusted strategic sales partner.
Performance Based Results sales discovery workshops are based on our core B2B selling methodology of asking engaging, open-ended questions that explore the prospect’s current situation and how well it is working. We then instill the active listening skills required to identify (and reveal) a client’s emerging needs — while nurturing the evolving customer relationship.
Step 3: Sales Discovery Workshops B2B Discovery for Sales Reps & Sales Teams
Sales Discovery Questions That Help Expand the Comfort Zone
- Past Questions — We demonstrate to sales reps how asking questions about the past helps gain understanding to why prospects are looking for a new solution in the first place. Past questions allow reps to gain access to a prospect’s previous buying experiences, past decisions, and possible biases.
- Situational Questions — As the sales conversation continues, these questions help illustrate the customer’s current or present situation.
- Power-Probing Questions — Our dynamic discovery workshops use role-playing exercises to help expand comfort zones. We encourage sales teams to practice probing questions that dig deeper and get prospects to reveal hidden needs and uncover in-depth issues, and pain-points.
Discovering the Big Picture – Revealing Customer’s Hidden Wants & Desires
- Expansion Questions — These discovery questions downplay the W’s (who, what, where, when and why). They encourage customers to share their experiences (and personal stories) in a more comfortable and naturalistic manner.
- Help me understand…
- Expand upon…
- Clarify for me…
- Explain to me…
- Share with me…
- Walk me through…
- Expansion Comparison Questions — We show reps how to build on Expansion Questions by adding comparative phrases (that utilize words like compare, contrast, differ, versus, or align) to help persuade customers to think beyond their current circumstances — and to think of the “big picture.”
- Before: Do you have any issues?
- After: Explain to me some of the issues you have dealt with in the past. How does that compare with what you’re looking to do as you move forward?
Discovery Questions That Establish Industry Expertise and Value
- Educational Questions — We provide training to manage research information obtained in our Sales Bridge Planning step and use this info to formulate eye-opening discovery questions. Sales reps demonstrate their expertise by citing articles, market studies, social media posts, or videos — establishing their value as a knowledgable industry advisor. Here’s one example:
- Last week I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that claimed drug testing is an ineffective tool to weed out poor-quality job applicants. Yet five times as many companies test for drugs today compared to ten years ago. What has been your experience on this issue?
Powerful Techniques to Actively Listen to Customers
- Explicit Needs — We help sales teams think beyond these introductory, on-the-surface needs. Explicit needs tend to be based on common measurable factors such as price or percentage. Examples include improving service or quality, growing the market share, and reducing overhead.
- Implicit Needs — Every great salesperson knows that listening is the most important of all sales skills. Unexpressed, hidden (implicit) needs are the driving force of what challenges customers on a daily basis. Our programs train reps to become good listeners and break bad listening habits. We employ seven ways to help reps discover implicit needs in prospects:
- Success — Customers want to feel a sense of accomplishment and finality.
- Independence — Prospects need to feel some degree of control and freedom to be creative.
- Recognition — Customers want to be valued as a contributor and to feel that their opinions matter.
- Security — All individuals desire to not be fired, plus avoid embarrassment and criticism by their peers and bosses.
- Stimulation — Customers want to feel involved, inspired, and exhilarated in their team environments, not bored.
- Peace of mind — Customers need to feel that areas of heavy burden and responsibility are taken care of.
- Simplicity — Clients desire that their complexities are made easier and that challenges are lessened.
Asking Discovery Questions to Further Qualify Customers
- Customer Goals — We teach sales teams which questions to ask that’ll determine if the prospect’s goals are aligned with their solution.
- Validate Research — We show reps how to validate pre-call research during a discovery sales conversation to get a deeper understanding of the prospect’s organization.
- Price vs. Value — We train sales reps how to address situations where customers are concerned primarily with price and how to shift the sales conversation to value.
Discovering the Customer’s Decision-Making Process
- I Need to Talk to My Boss — We help sales teams navigate the process of determining which individuals are involved in the decision-making process when creating a sales solution.
- C-suite Executives — Our training programs include exercises, examples, and role-play workshops that help reps talk to and negotiate with C-Level executives.
- Identify Decision-Makers — Salespeople who are skilled in identifying, assessing, and aligning all of the relevant decision-makers and influencers will always outperform those who don’t have those skills. We demonstrate how to ask questions that target different individuals within the “decision pipeline” so sales reps can bypass potential objections and stalls.
Related Blog Posts
- Discover If Your Prospect is Worth Pursuing
- The Customer is Not Always Right – Here’s Why
- Dig Deeper to Discover Your Customer’s Goals
- #1 Questions Sales Pros Must Ask Their Customers
- Using Comparison Questions to Gain Customer Insight
- Sales Questions to Ask Prospects That Get Through to Their Bosses