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May 4, 2022

#38 - The Best Sales Question

#38 - The Best Sales Question

Sales success is heavily reliant on an effective client discovery process. You need to be able to ask the right questions, listen intently, and get detailed answers in order to qualify the opportunity and the client.

So what’s the best discovery question? What’s the thing you need to know next? Bob and Brendan take a quick 9 minutes to break this down and suggest some options and ideas. Feel free to steal them, and let us know what your best discovery questions are.


Sales success is heavily reliant on an effective client discovery process. You need to be able to ask the right questions, listen intently, and get detailed answers in order to qualify the opportunity and the client.

So what’s the best discovery question? What’s the thing you need to know next? Bob and Brendan take a quick 9 minutes to break this down and suggest some options and ideas. Feel free to steal them, and let us know what your best discovery questions are.

 

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Transcript

It's Brendan here and you've stumbled onto another episode of Let's Chat Sales chat. And in this episode, Bob Graham and I dive into what's the best sales 

question... and we dig into that. We break it down a little bit, and we try to have some fun. So if you find this useful, if you find it helpful... by all means like, and subscribe and share with your friends 

and we're going to dig right in.

So let's 

go.

 So guess what, Bob? It is another episode of Let's Chat Sales. No, these keep coming... like every couple of days. I know. It's just it's it's like, uh it's... yes, it's a resource. It's what I think.

It really changes my whole day.  

So here's what we're going to talk about today. You know, me. The whole discovery process, I think is the linchpin.

It's the cornerstone of a good sales strategy, because if you can do a nice job with discovery and understanding what the customer needs are and the sales process becomes infinitely easier and more straightforward. And so I thought I'd ask, or we could kind of bounce around... what do you think the most important customer discovery question might be?

Uh, I like to ask a question, I'll give you mine. You know, what made you hop on this call with me, knowing what you know about what I do?

Oh, okay. That's yours? I find 

that really opens the door to figuring out what they're looking for. Cause they'll tell you, I really don't know anything about you. I've looked at your website, I've been getting your emails.

I saw your videos. Whatever it is, and that really orients you... and then you can move into. Yeah, be more 

tactical. So, there's this school of thought that you can't go forward. In sales is about going forward and you can't go forward until you've addressed the past or the current situation.

 I sort of buy into that. That you have to understand what's going on today. So, one of the questions would be, what are you dealing with today?  In some fashion or another, trying to understand what's important to them today.

So that's a good question.  I guess this is sort of a trick question about the discovery question, because it really depends on where you are in the conversation.  What needs to change? Would be  another good example.

What's going well? And what's not going well. I hate the phrase, or the question what's keeping you up at night, because  become so trite, and, to some degree, so as the question, what does success look like? But some variation on that.

I like 

that theme. I think really does make someone tell you what they're looking for in a way that they don't want you to say, what are you looking for? 

So, what are you looking to accomplish is general. That's kind of the catalyst for a whole series of questions you got to drill down into, what is it they're really looking to accomplish?

 And what's in the way of that? Like what's keeping you from doing that already? Why do you need to do it at all?... would be another interesting question. Like can you live with it now? How are you doing it today? And, and what's wrong with that? You know, Brendan,  

to, I'm going to deviate a little bit.

And what we're really talking about is to ask these questions... you have to have confidence in what you know, and what you're doing.

I guess I would say, that comes certainly with experience. The more you do this, the more familiarity you're going to have with a potential, very number of different answers you might get.

And then you have an ability to answer those questions, but I guess  the general philosophy I would rely, on if you will, is that  you have this genuine curiosity about what the answer might be. I think if you're anticipating what the answer is so that you can come back with a feature

or a benefit. I think that's, that's missing the whole point. And that's the thing that's going to get you in trouble cause it's going to telegraph that you're back in sales mode. Whereas, if you're just actively curious about... why doesn't this work? Why can't this work?

What are you doing today? Like, oh, that's an interesting problem. I hadn't thought about that. I don't think you have to know all the answers. I think the whole point is of this is to have conversations with your customers that are productive. And ...I think if you go in with the idea that I'm going to ask some important questions because I need to know whether or not there's a fit...

and we've said this before a bunch... I think that's liberating because if you can go in and determine there's no fit, then, then you're going into it with  right approach. Because you know, as we've said many times before, you really don't want ... you want that you want ideal customers. You want the right customers.

And if your product doesn't fit, then you're going to end up with customers that are going to cause you a whole bunch of problems later on.  And the discovery process has meant to  avoid that. 

What you think about the idea of getting to know the person, too, and what makes them tick and what they're trying to achieve.

You know what, those things will come up when they're supposed to come up. I mean, I 

wouldn't ask someone like, Hey, are you expecting to be the CFO in three years?

I'm not saying that, but if they volunteered. 

Well, I mean, that's my point is that if you, if you focus on what their objectives are, their business objectives are, at some point you will have developed enough trust and rapport with them that they will let their guard down.

And they'll explain, this is why this is important because I want to get home to my family, or because I want to move into this department, or I want 

to 

change companies. And this is tied to how much we accomplished and we can't go with the people. So this is a technology solution, whatever.

Yeah. Yeah. 

So those things are all important in the sense that you want to learn those things, but you want them to come out in a natural way. And so that rather than say, Hey, what's in this for you, that's going  to put them in a defensive mode. Where you're better off asking, Hey, listen, I'm trying to figure out whether or not this is a fit for us.

If we can help you, I want to help you. And if it's not, then I want to know that. And then at some point in that conversation, they're going to start to share more personal stuff  perhaps. Or maybe they won't. Maybe they're the kind of person that's really buttoned down and it's all business.

And you're never going to learn that. I've had to deal with that too, but, I don't think you can force that. I think that by forcing that you end up in a situation where you're going to put that other person on, on guard... and that's what you're trying to avoid. So one of the questions you might ask is,  uh, who else needs to weigh in? Right.

Is there anyone else, is there another perspective that we need to get? Like, who are your users?  If you're talking to some engineering guy or gal, at some point, you're gonna say... who's the user on this? Right. 

Who's the person who has to live with this application day in and day out. Because at some point, you want to know who those people are and you want to talk to them because they're going to be your advocates or they're going to be your enemies. If you're the kind of your SaaS app that requires adoption to make money, to grow the revenue and to be successful, you got to talk to those people, you know. So that's going to be, at some point in the sales cycle, that's going to be a really important question... is who else needs to weigh in?

Who else is there? You may be the guy or the gal making the decision, but that doesn't mean that there aren't a whole bunch of other people we need to talk to, to make sure that we're a fit. You want this to happen. You want us to be successful or you want to be successful with this. Then, that means you want adoption.

You want to acceptance. And you want some advocates or, or evangelists among your user base in order to get that. And this is good for all of us... then we need to talk to those people. 

I also like to ask the question... if they say that they've got to take it up the ladder. Hey, how are you going to describe this to your bosses?

Right. And I love to hear that answer because it's a great chance to clarify. They walk you through what they heard and it can really improve your presentation skills when you listen, because whatever they don't understand. Yeah. And often it leads to, you know, what, I would be willing to be on the call with them if you'd like, and they go, oh, that'd be really great because you really understand that so much better than me.

 

 

So you're explaining to them that  we're a team. And so you're not letting them sell the product on their own because that's, that's suboptimal. 

I like it. I think we've,  like we always do... and we beat the crap out of this. All right. Well,  I have a hunch we'll be back with another episode of Let's Chat Sales really soon. Right. 

Very good. And who doesn't want that? Right. 

Good talking to you. I was talking to you.

  

Okay, well, we just finished up another episode of Let's Chat Sales with Bob Graham and myself. 

And, uh, by all means, if you enjoyed it,   

like, and subscribe, 

share with your friends 

and you might want to check out one of these other episodes, wherever they post on here somewhere. 

So until then, happy selling.

Thanks!