Globalization, disintermediation, commoditization, among other forces of The Disruptive Age, have all combined to change how we sell. One of the things that has changed is our approach to discovery.
Traditional: What’s Keeping You Up at Night?
I know that this approach is supposed to have fallen out of favor. In sales, however, there are no rules and you have to know them all. There are only possibilities and choices, and there isn’t a single way to obtain any outcome.
You still have prospects that want to share their concerns with you, their problems, and their challenges. Asking them to share these things with you isn’t a bad place to start a conversation, it just assumes they already have a compelling reason to change, and that they are aware of it. That’s often enough to create an opportunity.
If what you know enough about your prospective client to know they are already motivated to change, there is nothing wrong with starting by asking about what your dream client wants or needs to change.
Now: This Is Keeping You Up at Night
Another way to start a conversation is to begin by sharing your view of what your dream client should be concerned about, or the problems they may not be aware they have—or soon will have.
This approach works well right now for a couple of reasons. First, sharing ideas around the biggest and most important trends impacting your dream client’s business is a heck of a good value proposition for a first meeting. You get to explain the dissonance that they’re experiencing. Your prospect gets value from the meeting without having to buy anything from you. Second, and equally as important, it says you have a strong opinion, the business acumen, and the situational knowledge to potentially provide good counsel.
This approach is especially effective now, because it helps you to help your client discover things about their company, their challenges, and their problems, and potentially, their opportunities.
Choose the right approach for your discovery meeting, and remember that you and your prospective client are both doing discovery work together.