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Are you ready to revolutionize your approach? Step into the future of B2B sales discovery and redefine how you connect with clients in a dynamic market.

Introduction: Revolutionizing B2B Sales Discovery

For as long as one might remember, discovery meant asking your prospective clients questions. These questions allowed you to address your contact’s situation and give them information that proved your company was credible. The important questions were those about their problems, pain points, and poor results. In this legacy approach, the salesperson asks the client a set of questions designed to lead the client to the sales organization’s solution.

The Shift from Traditional to Modern Discovery Methods

If your discovery looks a lot like the paragraph above, it may cause you to lose deals you might have won, had you practiced a modern sales approach. A more contemporary methodology would have the client asking many more questions, creating a conversation that provides them with the answers they need in the early part of the sales conversation.

Elevating Your Sales Discovery: Interviewing Prospective Clients Effectively

You need to ask questions to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. If you are a professional salesperson, you would already have done the reading and research to know more than your average competitor. The more you dominate the conversation, the less room you leave for your contact and their stakeholders to do their discovery.

Establishing Credibility and Expertise in B2B Sales

When a contact is responsible for making a critical decision, one that they must get right the first time, depriving them of the opportunity to ask the questions they need answers to can cause them to disengage and move on to another salesperson who will help them get the answers they need.

Navigating the Complexities of Stakeholder Involvement

Your prospective clients need to ask questions to determine a number of things:

  • Are you credible in B2B sales? Your contacts need help from someone who can help them be certain they will succeed without making a mistake that will harm their business and their status inside their company. If you are not credible, your contact will refuse to introduce you to the rest of the task force that will make the decision.
  • Do you know the problem better than your contact? It's okay to ask questions about the client's problem, but if you can't prove you understand their problem better than they do, you are in trouble. If you send the message that you don't solve many problems, you will leave your contacts wondering how you can help them with theirs. You are responsible for being an expert in solving your clients’ problems, including the changes they may need to make outside of your solution.

Delivering Accurate and Persuasive Answers

Can you get past the stakeholders in B2B sales? You may have noticed that there are a lot more people showing up for the discovery call, proof positive that decision-makers want their teams to vet you, testing you to see if others approve of you. In my last two discovery meetings, there were no fewer than 45 people on a video meeting. This should help you understand that your contacts worry about getting the decision right.

Understanding the Client's Perspective in B2B Buying Decisions

Can you give them the right answers in B2B sales? Your contacts want you to answer their questions. In part, they are asking you to provide them with the information they need. But some difficult questions are a test to see if you have the right answer. If you do, you make it easy for your client to move forward, but getting an answer “wrong” may require you to work to help them understand how your answer produces better results.

Adapting to the Changing Landscape of B2B Discovery in Sales

Imagine you are responsible for a critical decision that has serious consequences if you get it wrong. This is one of the reasons that B2B buying is more difficult than B2B sales, especially at the enterprise level. Your client's discovery can feel like an interview, as that is exactly what your contacts need to check the boxes above, and then some. When you use the time to ask your questions, you may run out of time for your client's discovery interview.

Embracing the Role of a Trusted Advisor

Your contact needs you to perform well in your interview, helping them gain the insights they need. Your client also needs to have more trust in you than they have in themselves and their team. Without that trust, your contacts won’t believe you are able to ensure their success.

Navigating a Turbulent Business Environment

If you are not an expert and an authority, your interview may be cut short, as the client isn't learning what they need, or they don't believe they can trust you to make the decision without the risk of failure. We call this position being One-Up, as it finds you with the knowledge, insights, and experience that cause your contacts to trust you to lead them through their buyer's journey.

Balancing Information Acquisition and Client Assistance

The rate of change in our environment has made it difficult for buyers to have the confidence and the certainty they need to be able to make a significant change in their business. The volatility and uncertainty combine to cause decision-makers to be more cautious about making change. We are right at the beginning of what will be a turbulent time for at least the next couple of decades. The greater the turbulence, the more your clients will be tentative, taking longer to make decisions and needing more help, something you can provide by recognizing your contacts need discovery as much or more than you do.

As you conclude this article, assess how much of your discovery is about you getting the information and answers you need, and compare it to how much of your discovery is about helping your prospective client with what they need to pursue their change initiative. If you are out of balance, with most of the questions coming from you, start practicing a new opening so your client can acquire what they need in discovery.


Sales 2024 One-Up
Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 3, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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