63 Effective Discovery – Part 3 – Preparation is Key

Effective Discovery – Part 3 – Preparation is Key


Preparation is key to conduct a successful Discovery. 


Here are seven tips to prepare for success. 


1) Understand what you already know and what you don’t. Later confirm that you are on track. 


2) Understand the type of Discovery you need to execute; not all are the same. It depends on who you are working with, how many functions are represented, and the authority of the people within the customer organization. 


3) Structure your questions based on the person and level you are speaking with. 

– For technical people, or subject-matter experts: focus on technical and operational items. 

– For mid-level management: focus on business issues and potential areas of improvement. 

– For executive management: focus on the big picture, and more transformational items.  


4) Hidden needs

Don’t just parrot back what the customer told you and assume that is the complete set of requirements. To be the proactive advisor, you need to uncover additional hidden needs. During your preparation, come up with three ideas and test these in customer discussions to find out if your solution can solve any of these hidden problems. 


5) Prepare a list of topics and questions… have in-depth questions ready for when you dive more deeply into an issue. 


6) Prepare an agenda, with session topics, participants, time allotted, and expected discussion items. 


7) Don’t just assume that your prospective customer understands exactly what they want or need; it is next to impossible for customers to understand every capability that is available in the marketplace. After all, they have businesses to run and don’t have much time to stay abreast of new market capabilities. That’s where you can add value and expertise. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


62 Effective Discovery – Part 2 – Relationship First

Effective Discovery – Part 2 – Relationship First


A requirement for asking a prospective customer to hold a Discovery session is that first, you have some level of relationship with them. 


On an initial call with a mid-level manager at a prospective customer, Jason, an inexperienced salesperson, starts firing off  discovery-type questions right up front, such as: 


“What major pains do you currently have?”


The customer replies: “Actually, we are operating at a high level right now”.


Then the Jason follows up with: “What do you see as the biggest threat to your business?”


The customer replies: “Nothing major. We are in very good shape right now”.


Then Jason asks this doozy: “What keeps you awake at night?”


The customer replies: “Actually, I sleep pretty well.”


Conversation over. What happened here?


Well, if you don’t have at least a basic level of a business relationship, the prospective customer will not open up… I mean, why should they air their grievances to a relative stranger?


You can’t just start asking “painful” questions. You have to earn the right to ask questions that delve into your customer’s business… They need to know that you care about helping them, that you are capable of helping, and that they can trust you, before they air their deep, dark secrets.


Also, there are specific questions to ask based on the level of the person you are meeting with, depending whether they are staff level (such as technical staff), mid-level management, or executive level management. 


To gain access for a Discovery meeting, do some research to learn three key areas where you could help them improve their results. Then state that your objective for the Discovery is to learn how you can deliver value, and explore three key areas, not just showcase your solution. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


61 Effective Discovery – Part 1

Effective Discovery – Part 1


Discovery is usually an important step in the sales process. Discovery is all about understanding your customer needs, business issues, and requirements. Conducting effective Discovery early sets up your sales opportunity for success. The knowledge you gain during this effort will help you plan your pursuit strategy, assess how well your solution can solve the customer’s business issues, and position your solution and your company for the win. 


If you are engaging with a prospective customer for the first time, it is likely that you don’t know what you don’t know. If it is a customer you’ve worked with before, you will likely be confirming what you already know, gaining additional knowledge,  as well as offering new ideas for consideration. 


Depending on the complexity of the customer’s problem, Discovery could be accomplished in a single session, or could become a process that spans multiple sessions. 


As you plan your sales cycle, it is important to manage the scope of the customer business issues you are trying to solve… This begins in the Discovery session. “Don’t boil the ocean” is a typical refrain of caution here. Keep the scope manageable. Otherwise, the customer could perceive that what you propose is too complicated and too risky. 


Why Discovery is Important 


Without an effective Discovery, you will be blindly proceeding through the wilderness, not knowing which way to turn, or when you arrive at the desired destination. 


Instead, an effective Discovery gives you a roadmap for heading down the right path, the one that will help you guide your sales cycle in the right direction.  


Stay tuned. We will discuss the Discovery process further in the next four briefings. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


60 Is Work-Life Balance Even Possible?

Is Work-Life Balance Even Possible?


Michael is an Elite Seller, one of the best you will ever find. The demands of his job were high, to the point where he often spent over 60 hours a week immersed in work-related activities. He rationalized that this was the price he had to pay to achieve the highest level of success in his field. 


Then life threw him a curve ball. Significant health issues emerged that made it difficult for Michael to continue performing at the highest level. 


The wake-up call with his health made him fear that if he continued trying to work such a demanding schedule, he would end up sacrificing years off his life. 


With the long hours he worked, he hadn’t always had the time to be active in his children’s lives. And what if his health problems continued and he wasn’t even around at all to guide his kids as they grew up? 


So, he made a dramatic shift. He completely blocked out his schedule on the weekends so he could take care of his own health and be there for his children. He still worked long hours during the work week, but completely dedicated Saturdays and Sundays to his family. 


Michael was astonished that even with his two “scheduled family days” he wasn’t sacrificing results in his business life. He actually became more productive by working fewer hours. His mind was more focused, he could think more clearly and make better decisions. 


Michael did make one concession to his “weekends off” policy. On Sunday night, after his kids were asleep, he spent thirty minutes to plan his priorities for the upcoming week. Afterward, he enjoyed a restful night of sleep so he was fully energized and ready to hit the ground running on Monday morning.


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


59 Say what you mean – to be honest

Say what you mean – to be honest


A prior briefing discussed “Junk Words and Phrases” and how you should focus on eliminating them from your vocabulary and from all customer communications. Remember that Junk Words and Phrases are just extra words that creep in to our language, but they provide no context or meaning. Without them, your verbal communication will just sound clearer and more professional.


Sometimes salespeople will begin a statement, or answer a question that starts with 


“Honestly,” or “to be honest,” or “to tell the truth . . .”


These are junk words and you should work in eliminating them completely. 


Let’s say a customer asks a question: “How do you recommend we proceed?” 


You reply: ““Honestly, the best approach is to start your program tomorrow.” 


Or the customer asks: “Are you sure that is how this works?” 


You reply: “To be honest, that is how it works”


Or the customer asks: “How long before you can ship?”


You reply: “To tell the truth, we usually ship within 48 hours”


I know, you are trying to assure your customer that you are genuine and truthful, but whenever you preface your statement with  Honestly,” “to be honest,” or to tell the truth”,


your customer could be thinking: “Whenever you don’t use the preface of “honestly”, “to be honest”, or “to tell the truth” are you really lying? Are you not being honest or truthful?”


You are actually raising doubts about whether you are trustworthy. 


Leave out those meaningless prefaces and just get to your point. Your credibility and believability will be much higher. 


I’m DJ Sebastian. To learn more about what it takes to Become a Great Communicator, visit my website at thetechseller.com.